Canterbury, New Zealand

The stunning and varied vistas of Canterbury, New Zealand include breathtaking snow-capped mountains, golden beaches, and sweeping pastureland. Canterbury is the large central portion of the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, with the beautiful seaside town of Christchurch as its hub. Known as the Garden City, dynamic Christchurch offers fascinating cultural venues, lively festivals, and delightful beaches. Climb to the spire of the Gothic Revival Christchurch Cathedral for breathtaking views of city, sea, and mountains.

The otherworldly volcanic beauty of the Southern Alps, with their deep glacial lakes and dizzying ravines, sweeps nearly the length of South Island. This exotic landscape is best viewed from the sky, whether in a hot air balloon, small plane, or helicopter. New Zealand’s highest point at 3,754 meters, Aoraki Mount Cook is in the lovely Mackenzie District, amid sparkling glacial lakes and canals. Visit the fascinating Mount Cook Village, tourist centre and mountain base camp. Two miles north of Christchurch, the rugged peaks of Kaikoura’s wildly beautiful coast plunge thousands of metres below a sapphire sea into the subterranean Kaikoura Canyon. The canyon contributes to a rich marine ecosystem teeming with wildlife, including fur seals, rare Hector’s dolphins, and majestic sperm whales, making the area a major eco-tourism destination.

In the lovely spa town of Hamner Springs, relax in soothing thermal mineral water springs, follow the wine trail, or take advantage of the excitement of skiing, river rafting, or bungee jumping. For a truly spectacular journey from one coast to the other, ride the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth on the North Coast, passing through stunning gorges, river valleys, mountains, and rain forest. Akaroa is Canterbury’s oldest village, rich in the history of the Maori, whaling, and the early French settlements.

Whether you travel by foot, by air, or by sea, Canterbury will stun and amaze you with its natural beauty, thrilling recreational activities, and picturesque villages.

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