We’re spoiled for choice in Canterbury with many wonderful spots within a couple of hours’ drive of Christchurch. Here are some of our favourite places to disconnect from the world and unwind. What are some of yours?
With hidden bays, galleries and cafes, Banks Peninsula is riddled with adventure for everyone in the family. Whether it’s a day trip to Pigeon Bay with the picnic basket in tow, camping at Okains Bay, a few nights in a bach in Akaroa or a stay at one of the many luxurious accommodations around the Peninsula, there’s an option to suit any budget.
There are options galore in Mid-Canterbury with beautiful landscapes you can explore by horseback, mountain bike, four-wheel drive or by hot air balloon! With views over the Southern Alps this part of our backyard is well worth exploring. For the adventure lovers you can dart through the scenic Rakaia Gorge by jet boat, or brave some of the country’s best white waters in a raft trip down the Rangitata River.
Go inland 90 minutes and reach Castle Hill, the spiritual centre of the universe, according to the Dalai Lama. A 20 minute walking loop takes your around limestone boulders and offers a great place to sit down and enjoy a sandwich. Don’t forget your camera, the landscape is truly unique.
After your walk at Castle Hill, go two minutes further down the road to reach Cave Stream for a walk through the caves. Bring your head torch and set off for an adventure – just keep an eye on the conditions!
For those who want to walk off the Christmas pudding, there are three options to walk Mt Thomas ranging from two hours to the summit to three and a half hours. The reward is quite magical with panoramic views of the Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps and Banks Peninsula. Even better, your dog is welcome, so long as he’s on a lead.
Just up the road from Amberley lies the coastal settlement of Motunau Beach – an oasis for the keen fisherman (or fisherwoman!). Fishing can be from the river mouth or bring a boat. Either way, if you’re handy with a fishing rod and love seafood, this is spot is worth a visit.