If you only had 72 hours in Canterbury, what would you do? We got 2 Melbournites, Peter and Kerryn, to design their ideal Canterbury long weekend and then they won the opportunity to experience it! Check out what they got up to.
Peter and Kerryn wisely decided to take 1 of the afternoon flights from Melbourne, and arrived into Christchurch late on Friday night so they could get up and at 'em early on Saturday. First up though, they caught the courtesy shuttle straight to Christchurch Commodore Airport Hotel to get a good night's sleep.
Planes, trains and automobiles Christchurch style!
They started their Saturday with a hearty breakfast at the hotel, picked up their Omega Rental Car and headed into town to discover Christchurch on the Hassle-free Double Decker London Bus - a great way to get your bearings around the ever-evolving city from a higher vantage point!
Once they had their introduction to Christchurch they strolled around the town, grabbing a coffee at the quirky C1 Cafe and stopping in at all the popular haunts like the Transitional "Cardboard" Cathedral and New Regent Street.
Segways were on the cards for the afternoon. A great way to zip around Christchurch in style with a personal tour around the gardens, Hagley Park, cultural precinct and out into the gorgeous surrounding suburbs like Fendalton, where some of the few remaining historic homesteads still stand.
The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the idyllic Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and some Punting on the Avon, before heading to their luxurious accommodation for the evening at The George Hotel, where they dined at the delicious 50 Bistro and relaxed after such an active day!
French flair was in the air at the seaside village of Akaroa
After their on the ground tours the day before, Peter and Kerryn decided to take in a bird's eye view of the city at the Christchurch Gondola. On a clear day (which unfortunately eluded our lovely travellers), you can see 360 degree views of the city, surrounding mountains and harbours. Apparently though Peter and Kerryn got a fantastic view of clouds and Kiwi sheep!
Not deterred, they set off over the hill (pretty much a mountain in Aussie eyes though) to Banks Peninsula and the gorgeous French inspired township of Akaroa. They enjoyed some famous Akaroa Fish & Chips before jumping on board the Black Cat catamaran and sitting back for an Akaroa Harbour cruise, taking in the majestic scenery and unique wildlife including the native Hector's Dolphin.
The afternoon was spent enjoying the boutique stores, quirky crafts and character of the village, before checking into their charming accommodation at the beautiful B&B, Banks House. Peter and Kerryn enjoyed a glass of wine with their host, and headed down to Vangionis Trattoria and Bar for a different slice of European culture with their Mediterranean flavours using fresh local produce. Delicious.
Roads, Riesling and relaxation driving through Waipara and onto Hanmer Springs
There's nothing as delightful as a freshly cooked B&B brekkie, and our enthusiastic travellers enjoyed one of these before hitting the road again. Today's destination was the alpine village of Hanmer Springs, but along the way there were a few compulsory stops.
The most delicious of these was the award winning Pegasus Bay Winery and Restaurant in Canterbury's wine region of Waipara. With a personal tasting of their finest vintages and then lunch to compliment the flavours, Peter and Kerryn soaked in the atmosphere of this stunning rustic homestead.
Riesling sampled it was time for the relaxation part of their day, so they checked in to Select Braemar Lodge, about 10 minutes outside Hanmer Springs. Peter received an intensive scrub and tension release massage for the back, while Kerryn was pampered with a facial, neck & shoulder massage and petite manicure. Definitely not a bad way to spend your final afternoon in Canterbury!
Hanmer Springs to home sweet home
Last morning in Canterbury, and there was just enough time for a drive into Hanmer Springs Village to visit the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pool & Spa and then a wander around the quaint alpine settlement.
Then it was back on the road, and a quick 90 minute drive back into Christchurch, checking in for their flight back home to Melbourne.