CHRISTCHURCH AND CANTERBURY
is the South Island's largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that's why it's known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that's hard to beat. Christchurch has hundreds of entertainment and activity ideas to suit the family - the gondola ride to the top of the Port Hills is a must, while Black Cat Cruises
from Lyttelton Harbour are ideal for a fun-filled family day out. The children can climb at an excellent indoor wall or at the fabulous Adrenalin Forest, jet boat on the Waimakariri River, learn and discover at a kid-friendly museum, or make a splash in one of the great leisure centres. For a unique feel of Christchurch the family can take a ride by tram, hire a boat on the River Avon or cycle the easy going and very scenic Rail Trail. Meanwhile check out our Walks and Parks
section for some of Christchurch's top family recreation areas.
The Kidz Go Christchurch section includes family friendly information on Akaroa
, Methven and Ashburton. North Canterbury
- home to the Alpine Pacific Triangle
- this route starts just north of Christchurch and takes in the inland resort town of Hanmer Springs
, and the coastal town of Kaikoura
, plus the roads and townships between these locations. Hanmer Springs
is an alpine township famous for its natural, thermal pools, and only 90 minutes drive from Christchurch
. The region is a popular family getaway – you’ll find heaps of fun activities
, with the icing on the cake being a visit to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. Kaikoura
is situated on the South Island’s rugged east coast, half way between Christchurch and Picton. Famous for its sea life, Kaikoura is the place to view the world’s most acrobatic dolphins, the resident sperm whales
(equivalent in size to four elephants!) and giant albatross. The town boasts the stunning, snow-capped backdrop of the Kaikoura Ranges.
South Canterbury and Mount Cook/MacKenzie District
- follow the main road south from Christchurch and the first towns you'll pass through are Ashburton and Timaru. Head west and you'll find the unique inland farming towns of Geraldine and Fairlie as the landscape in front of you becomes more engaging and the peaks of the Southern Alps get closer.
The jewel in the Southern Alps crown is, of course, NZ's tallest peak - the 3754m/12315ft
Mount Cook. Its also known as Aoraki, a Maori word meaning 'cloud piercer'. Look out for for your first glimpse from the shores of the turquoise Lake Pukaki. The towns and countryside, from beach to mountains, make up the region known as Mackenzie Country.