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Canterbury is a region that offers much variety to its visitors from skiing, hiking and bungy jumping to surfing, whale watching, river punting and everything that can be imagined in a region that has both Ocean and Alps. The gateway to the South Island – Christchurch, also known as the “Garden City” came in at an impressive No 2 on The New York Time’s 52 Places to go in 2014. No surprise really as it is certainly a popular destination with domestic and international visitors alike, and a great place to start exploring the Canterbury region.
Christchurch is definitely ever-changing after the devastating earthquakes of 2010/11, but four years on there’s plenty to see and do in this resilient, spirited city. One of the brilliant things about Christchurch city is the many ways you can see it – gliding along the Avon River with an Edwardian dressed punter, getting on and off one of the beautifully restored heritage trams, on-board New Zealand’s only 1960’s London Open Top Double Decker bus, or simply meander through the city on foot, not forgetting to do a spot of shopping and grab a bite to eat at the fantastically unique Re:START shipping container shopping mall.
While in Christchurch let Steve and Julie Fraser make you feel at home at Family Park’s North and South Holiday Park. Set in serene park-like grounds just minutes from the main gateway of Christchurch International Airport, this is the ideal location for a Christchurch retreat, an airport stopover or as a base for doing one of many Great Canterbury Road Trips. Park features include: motel units, cabins, cottage, backpacker accommodation, powered and non-powered sites, swimming pool & sauna, tennis court, playground, TV Lounge, trikes, onsite shop, internet, coin-operated laundry and courtesy airport van.
If you’re heading north from Christchurch, the rejuvenating alpine town of Hanmer Springs is only a 90 minute drive away and well worth a stopover. Put your hiking shoes on and take a wander through the Hanmer Forest or if it’s a faster pace you’re after, explore one of the many epic mountain bike trails or take a white knuckle jet boat ride. Finish your day with soaking away your cares in the therapeutic thermal waters at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. There is something quite magical about the steam and heady sulphur emanating from the tranquil water as you totally zone out and re-charge for your next adventure. You won’t be disappointed when dining out at Hanmer Springs with the town village offering great pub-style fare through to fine dining depending on what your appetite desires. When it’s time to retire for the night Family Park’s Alpine Adventure Holiday Park is the ideal spot. Occupying 19 acres in a quiet valley between Mt Isobel and Mt Dunblane and surrounded by native and exotic trees, park features include: 40-bed lodge, chalets, tourist flats, kitchen cabins, non-powered cabins, powered and non-powered cabins, kitchen facilities, separate dining area and two BBQ areas, token operated laundry, outdoor swimming pool, television & games room, Wi-Fi internet, adventure playground and bike hire.
On the other side of Christchurch just 40 minutes south of the city is the riverside town of Rakaia. This is the perfect spot for a fishing retreat offering one of the best Salmon fishing rivers in New Zealand. It is also a great base if you plan on hitting the slopes with Mt Hutt Ski Fields only a 35 minute drive away. For the golfers your trip through Mid Canterbury wouldn’t be complete without a game at the scenic alpine Terrace Downs Golf Resort, ranked top 5 in New Zealand for layout, not to mention the stunning views of the Rakaia Gorge. Stay at Family Park’s Rakaia River Holiday Park where Glenn and Sandy will welcome you to their sheltered riverside location. Park features include: motel units including family units, cabins, cottage, powered and non-powered sites, adventure playground, BBQ’s, coin-operated laundry, kitchen and dining room, recreation lounge and fishing gear hire.
Things to do in and around Christchurch & Canterbury
- Take the family to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and see North Island Brown Kiwi in the nocturnal house. Family Parks Rewards Members receive 10% discount off entry.
- Take an Akaroa Harbour Cruise or swim with the Dolphins with Black Cat Cruises.
- Take a tour of Christchurch city centre visiting the Re-START Container Mall and Cardboard Cathedral.
- Experience the magnificent scenery of the Hanmer Basin on a Hanmer Adventure quad biking adventure trip.
- Hang tight on an exciting jet boat ride with Discovery Jet Rakaia Gorge. Family Parks Rewards Members receive a 15% discount on all trips.