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Things to do in Canterbury

192 contributors

The top 96 attractions in Canterbury

Lakes in Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo
I had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy Lake Tekapo for two weeks and I couldn't recommend it more. In summer, there's nothing better than a refreshing splash in the lake. I was at a lodge in front of the lake, only 50 feet from Good Shepard Church, and it was unforgettable. There were tons of beautiful gardens for a walk, great fishing, and one of the world's best observatories (that on Mt. John). Even if you're not a star-watcher, make sure to visit the peak of Mt. John to enjoy some of the best sunrises and sunsets on Earth. You can't miss it!
Gardens in Christchurch
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens in New Zealand's South Island are a relaxing and interesting option for an afternoon. These gardens were founded in 1863, with a size of 21 hectares, crossed by the river Avon, you can take a gondola. Some trees here are more than 120 years old. There are flowers and shrubs. The lush vegetation that inhabit these gardens makes this a perfect place for the habitat of dozens of species of birds typical of New Zealand. Guided tours can be arranged, although it depends on the time of year.
Cities in Christchurch
Christchurch is a city on New Zealand's South Island, in the province of Canterbury. It is the largest city in the South Island and the second largest in the country with a population of 400,000 inhabitants. Located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch was founded in 1850. It is 300 kilometres from the capital Wellington. When you arrive in Christchurch, you immediately notice British customs and aesthetics. It also has a small trolley, which makes it feel very European. The University of Canterbury also helps to give it that antique feel of the Old Continent. Christchurch is a good place to stop or start your visit to New Zealand because of its geographical location, including its airport, one of the largest in Oceania. I chose to travel from north to south in New Zealand. I started in Auckland on the North Island, travelled southward, and then took a ferry to the South Island, finishing my tour in Christchurch.
Of Cultural Interest in Christchurch
TranzAlpine Train
The Tranzscenic is a train route that runs along the route from the town of Greymouth on the Pacific coast and Christchurch on the Tasman Sea coast and offers some of the most beautiful views of the South Island of New Zealand. Some of the sights include: the fields of the Canterbury region, the valleys and the Waimakariri River, the Southern Alps where you can find the country's most popular glaciers (Fox and Franz Josef). It is a good way to cross the country's South Island, because it gives an overview of the different landscapes that you can find in the country, in addition to its east and west coasts. The entire trip takes 4 hours, and 225 km, passing through 16 tunnels and 5 viaducts, (Staircase is the highest at 73 meters high). The TanzScenic departs every day from Christchurch and Greymouth. It is possible to book your tickets through their website.
Nature Reserves in Mount Cook
Mount Cook
Mount Cook in New Zealand is a great trip taking in the shores of the Pukaki lake. It is a privileged view and beauty takes your breath away. It's wild and untouched and you feel small sitting there, surrounded by such greatness.
Resort Towns in Kaikoura
Kaikoura is a stunning village situated between the sea and the mountains in the South Island of New Zealand, on the east coast. It is a place which is famous for its marine wildlife, whales, dolphins, seals, the views are spectacular in the town with mountains in the background. If you are taking the East Coast route between Christchurch and Picton, this top is not to be missed.
Lakes in Mount Cook
Pukaki Lake
Just like Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki is a beautiful turquoise colour. It is located about 30 km southwest of the town of Tekapo. At its southernmost shore are wonderful views of Mount Cook, where camping facilities are provided. It is worth spending a night without a shower if only for the view of sunset and sunrise over the mountains and the lake.
Museums in Christchurch
Canterbury Museum
In some respects, it is a very old-looking museums, with dioramas and explanatory panels that look like they've been here for many, many years - but some sections are absolutely fascinating, like those dedicated to Antarctic exploration, the birds of New Zealand and Pacific, and the historical part that recreates life in Christchurch 100 years ago.
Beaches in Hampden
Moeraki Boulders
The Moeraki Boulders are some stones that are almost perfectly spherical shaped, some up to 3 meters in diameter, located at a beach on the coast of Otago. Unfortunately, the smaller ones have disappeared and the bigger ones are suffering from the effects of erosion and are breaking into small pieces.
Of Cultural Interest in Christchurch
Chinese New Year
More than 10% of the population of New Zealand are of Asian origin, so the Chinese New Year celebrations are very important. In the South Island city of Christchurch, the celebrations are held at night around Victoria Square. There are food stalls set up, a parade takes place, and the fireworks make a spectacular noise. Before everyone goes home, there's dancing. The date of the Chinese New Year is the first day of the first lunar month. In general, the festivities last several days.
Villages in Akaroa
The beautiful Akaroa Village can be found by the sea and the mountain about 2 hours away from Christcurch. It has a special charm, this place is very peaceful and relaxed and it's famous for the chance to see dolphins with some of the tours of the site, you can also do some nice walks, Featuring an attractive lighthouse out of use, is a place that is not on the agendas of many people visiting New Zealand, but it is a very nice, charming and highly recommended
Lakes in Kurow
Lake Waitaki
Lake Waitaki is the smallest of the three major lakes of the Waitaki Water Project in the South Island of New Zealand. I loved this place because the water was a beautiful colour, and the natural environment offered amazing views of Mount Cook. You can put your tent anywhere for the night as long as you clean up everything in the morning. New Zealand is a safe country, and of immense natural beauty. It's so safe that you can leave your backpack hidden somewhere and come back for it the next day. The locals will help you as much as they can if you are camping. They'll invite you to their house to take a shower. It's very easy to hitchhike. The lake receives water from the two upper lakes, the Aviemore and Benmore, and from the Waitaki River. It's the boundary between the region of Canterbury, Christchurch department, and the department of Otago. The lake was created by the Waitaki Dam, which is 36 meters high and was built in 1930. It produces electricity for the region.
Of Touristic Interest in Akaroa
Swim with Dolphins
Akaroa is known for having a very friendly dolphin colony which allows swimmers to approach. Every day a catamaran comes from the Akaroa Harbour to meet the dolphins. As the water is pretty cold, I'd recommend a full wetsuit.
Historical Monuments in Christchurch
Bridge of Remembrance
The Bridge of Remembrance is located in the center of Christchurch and was opened on Armistice Day, November 11, 1924. It was made with stone from the Canterbury region and commemorates the involvement of volunteers from the city in the First World War. The idea came from a lady who lived in the city and wanted to make a bridge to represent the steps of the soldiers passing from life to death. The council liked the idea and started a competition for the best design. In the end, the architect Scott was chosen to build it in 1923. The arc has a cross that represents human sacrifice and you can see the names of the battlefields where the Christchurch men died. Later, plates were added in memory of the soldiers killed during World War II.
Nature Reserves in Christchurch
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
This reserve is 15 minutes from Christchurch and is the ideal place to see kiwis in New Zealand. Spotting a glimpse of them otherwise is downright difficult. It's like a zoo where you can see other animals such as kangaroos and opossums, and where you can see other New Zealand wildlife. Kiwis can see in the environment and no glass separating them from you.
Churches in Lake Tekapo
Good Shepherd Church
Without a doubt one of the churches with the best views in the world; behind the altar is a window overlooking Lake Tekapo. The church is tiny but it is one of the most famous New Zealand since it was erected in honor of the pioneers. Within walking distance is a statue of a Collie dog, the favourite of shepherds, and also the loyal friend that helped the pioneers in the hard times of the conquest of the territory.
Museums in Christchurch
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu
Te Puna o Waiwhetu is the most modern museum in Christchurch, housed in a spectacular building with fully glazed frontage and very modern sculptures. This free museum mostly houses temporary exhibitions.
Cathedrals in Christchurch
Christchurch Cathedral
This is an Anglican cathedral in the city center, traditional in its architecture but modern in its promotion, as it has a web page, and a souvenir shop where you can coin your own pennies of the cathedral. If you scale the tower there are wonderful views.
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