From sweeping plains to soaring mountains, coastline to glacial lakes, the Canterbury region has it all. Check out these top experiences in the region.

Hot Air Ballooning

The imposing Southern Alps provide an impressive snow-capped backdrop for hot air balloon flights that float over the sprawling patchwork of the fertile Canterbury Plains. As you float over a world that is only just waking up, your smile will be as wide as the horizon.

Tekapo Springs and Hot Pools

After a busy day of sightseeing there’s no better place to relax than at Tekapo Springs Hot Pools(opens in new window) in Lake Tekapo. Overlooking the beauty of Lake Tekapo and the mountains beyond, it features New Zealand's largest inflatable waterslide, sauna & steam rooms, fully equipped day spa and an aqua play area for kids.


Don’t miss stargazing in the Mackenzie Basin, home to the world's largest International Dark Sky Reserve with some of teh clearest skies. Earth & Sky(opens in new window) in Lake Tekapo or Big Sky Stargazing at Aoraki Mount Cook Village for the chance to gaze into space through powerful telescopes.

Tasman Glacier and Aoraki Mount Cook Village

New Zealand’s largest glacier -Tasman Glacier - is accessible on foot, by bike and by boat. Glacier Explorers take you onto the terminal lake, where you can touch icebergs or marvel at our tallest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook. The National Park here is a popular for short and multi-day walks, including the Governors Bush Walk and the Hooker Valley Track.

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

Traveling from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean, this 300 km cycle trail(opens in new window) showcases the most dramatic scenery New Zealand has to offer. Bike your way through Aoraki Mt Cook National Park alongside glacial-fed lakes, and on to golden grasslands, limestone cliffs and Maori rock art. This trail suits all abilities, and includes a mixture of off- and on-road trail.

TranzAlpine Rail Journey

Connecting Christchurch to Greymouth on the West Coast, the TranzAlpine(opens in new window) is one of the world's most scenic rail journeys. It cuts across the Southern Alps, through a patchwork of the Canterbury Plains and the Arthur's Park National Park - some of New Zealand's most stunning landscapes.

Waipara Valley Wineries

One hour north of Christchurch you’ll find fields of lavender, olive groves and more than 60 vineyards, with dozens of cellar doors open for wine tasting in the Waipara Valley. We suggest renting a bike or hopping on to one of the many winery tours to explore this region's bounty.


Just 1.5 hours’ drive from Christchurch, Akaroa is rich in French colonial charm. Take in its historic cottages and sample fine French cuisine before heading out with Black Cat Cruises(opens in new window) to get up close to the region's abundant marine life, including the smallest dolphins in the world - the Hectors.

Arthur's Pass

Arthur's Pass is the highest route through the Southern Alps, connecting the vast Canterbury plains in the east with the wild and rugged West Coast. Drive this spectacular journey at your own pace, or relax and take the famous TranzAlpine(opens in new window) train. The National Park is a popular spot with hikers, with day trippers particularly enjoying the walk to the Devil’s Punchbowl Falls.

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