Suggested time: 2.5 days
Journey to South Canterbury, New Zealand's heartland. This is a region of sweeping plains, rolling hills and unspoiled coastline. South Canterbury is where Kiwi hospitality thrives and virtually any interest can be pursued or holiday indulgence satisfied.
Day 1 - Peel Forest
From Christchurch, Peel Forest is a 90 minute drive and truly one of the South Island's best kept secrets.
Peel Forest is a remnant of a magnificent podocarp forest that once covered a large area of Mid Canterbury. Now only 700 hectares remain, but what is left is rich and diverse.
There are a variety of short and long tracks throughout the forest. Your choices range from a gentle stroll around Dennistoun Bush or a more adventurous hike up Little Mount Peel / Hautakerekere.
Stay at Peel Forest Lodge, a modern log home nestled among native bush, an ideal setting for relaxation and enjoying the native bird life.
Day 2 - Peel Forest, Geraldine & Timaru
Enjoy a horse trek through some of the most tranquil countryside in Canterbury.
Choose from a range of bed & breakfast accommodation and dine at Le Monde Restaurant & Bar (64 The Bay Hill). With award-winning chefs, this premier fine dining restaurant is located on the piazza overlooking Timaru's Caroline Bay.
Day 3 - Māori Rock Art
See the most significant collection of ancient Māori rock art in New Zealand at Timaru's Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre.
Through interactive exhibits you can experience a terrifying pouākai attack and shelter in the Cave of the Taniwha, where rock art is created before your eyes.
You can also go on a site tour and see where Māori rock art was drawn. The smooth walls of South Canterbury's limestone outcrops provided an ideal canvas and although over 200 years old, many rock drawings have survived and can be clearly seen.
After exploring Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre head back to Christchurch or further inland to the Canterbury high country and Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie.