Christchurch is the largest city in the Canterbury region and a gateway to the South Island. Spend your first day soaking up all the city has to offer from its compelling mix of elegant heritage buildings to the contemporary art centre and award-winning gardens. Trying punting down the Avon River or explore the city from above in a hot air balloon or scenic helicopter flight.
The following day, take the opportunity to go further afield with a trip aboard the Tranz-Alpine railway, which travels deep into the majestic Southern Alps. In the opposite direction, Akaroa offers a fascinating combination of French heritage and unique wildlife encounters.
Head north towards Kaikoura, a beautiful coastal town known for its abundance of marine life and delicious seafood. On the way, stop and enjoy a long lunch in Canterbury’s Waipara Valley, the country’s fastest growing wine region.
Few places in the world can boast such natural wonders as those offered in Kaikoura. A boat cruise will get you up close to all kinds of marine mammals including several species whales, playful dolphins and untold marine birds. If you prefer dry land, the spectacular Peninsula Walkway is a great way to see seals sunbathing on the rocky coast.
While you're here, don't forget to taste the local crayfish from which Kaikoura takes its name.
On your way back to Christchurch today, stop and check out the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. This is one of the best places to see some of New Zealand's rarest species up close, including tuatara, kiwi, kea and the very rare takahe. The International Antarctic Centre is also well worth a visit, with its exciting rides, fascinating stories and little blue penguin.
Alternatively, you can spend the afternoon exploring the inner city. Refurbished heritage trams will take you from attractions to designer shops and quirky cafes, or travel by foot and enjoy the enchanting street art scattered throughout the city.
Journey on to the grand alpine town of Queenstown, New Zealand's most popular tourist destination.
Explore wineries, epic film locations and adventure activities.Read more
Today you'll have time to explore some of Queenstown's nearby towns and villages.
Discover gold mining history in Arrowtown. Built during the gold rush, this charming town still bears the signs of its fascinating past. A highlight is the old Chinese mining village with its restored shelters offering a glimpse into early development in this area. Further east is the Gibbston Valley. This region is famous for its award-winning Pinot Noir and a great place for a winery tour.
Alternatively, movie lovers might like to check out Glenorchy, where Peter Jackson filmed some of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Described by Rudyard Kipling as the 'eighth wonder of the world'.Read more
Once described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth natural wonder of the world’, Milford Sound is a relaxing contrast to Queenstown. It takes a fair amount of time to get there but it's worth it once you're out on the water of the Sounds. Take a boat cruise or hire a kayak and soak in the magical blue skies, green mountains, crystal-clear water and tumbling waterfalls.
Alternatively, take a flightseeing tour, departing from Queenstown airport. Or if you want to break up the trip, spend a night in Te Anau, where you can explore glowworm caves or hike one of Fiordland's many walking trails.
Spend your final day in Queenstown relaxing with gourmet food and wine and some boutique shopping. Visit Onsen hot pools for a luxurious spa treatment or play a round of golf at one of Queenstown's world-class golf courses.
A gentle stroll around the lake is a nice way to soak up the alpine landscape before saying goodbye.