Sprawling between the Conway and Waitaki rivers, Canterbury is a large province on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. It has been inhabited by Māori people since at least the 10th century before the arrival of Europeans in the early 19th century. Canterbury encompasses snow-capped mountain peaks, sparkling lakes and grassy plains, as well as the English-inspired city of Christchurch.
Things to do in Canterbury
Engaging cultural museums, relaxing thermal springs and legendary mountain trails - Canterbury is a region not to miss.
Get cultured in Christchurch. Recently rebuilt following a series of devastating earthquakes, Christchurch is a vibrant cultural hub on Canterbury’s east coast. Learn about the region’s links to Antarctic expeditions at the Canterbury Museum, sightsee on the hop-on-hop-off Christchurch Tram and stroll through the picturesque Christchurch Botanic Gardens. One of the most popular ways to discover the city is while punting along the Avon River.
Explore Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Home to some of New Zealand’s highest mountains, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park was where Sir Edmund Hillary trained before scaling Mount Everest. Stretch your legs on the alpine trails that wind between its tarns and native bushland or embark on a helicopter ride to see the 27-kilometre-long Tasman Glacier. Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is also renowned for its stargazing and forms part of New Zealand’s only International Dark Sky Reserve.
Relax in the thermal pools of Hanmer Springs. Set within stunning alpine scenery, Hanmer Springs is a popular resort village that provides a hub for hiking, mountain biking and jet boating. At the end of the day, you can relax in the mineral waters of the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa or let the kids loose on the family-friendly slides and lazy river.
Getting around Canterbury
Christchurch International Airport is the main aviation gateway to Canterbury and has flights to destinations across Oceania, Asia and the Middle East. Trains connect along the TranzAlpine railway to Christchurch Station while buses travel to major towns throughout the region. Renting a car is the most convenient way of getting around Canterbury.