Canterbury is full of unique story angles and ideas, from unknown hidden gems to world famous events and scenery. Here are just a few ideas to get you started and inspired with what the region has to offer.
Rest a little differently
There's nothing more satisfying than a good night's sleep, so why not up the game by having that sleep somewhere a little unexpected. From luxury tree houses, wagon stays through to resting up in a grain silo, Canterbury offers some incredible unique accommodation options for visitors to experience during a trip to the region. Or perhaps you are a little more inclined to have a traditional 4 walls surrounding you, but like something a little unique about your surroundings?
You can indulge James Bond-style at Seascape, head back in time to Downton Abbey at Otahuna Lodge, or if big scenery is more your style, try opening your curtains to one of the world's best views to overlook New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook, at The Hermitage. Whatever you cup of tea, Canterbury has what you are looking for.
Rich dark soils, fast flowing rivers and an expansive coastline are all essential ingredients that when mixed together create the perfect haven for foodies from all over the world. For seafood connoisseurs the abundance of crayfish and New Zealand's own Abalone, the Paua, in Kaikoura will tickle those taste buds, and the sheltered wine growing region of Waipara will make any wine lover weak at the knees. Plus we can’t forget the Canterbury Plains – ideal for any farmer of fresh produce, lamb or beef and the currents of Akaroa Harbour and alpine rivers produce some of the world best export quality salmon.
Many restaurateurs around the region have embraced "local and seasonal" options for their menus, and with all the new zests and old favourites opening in and around Christchurch, whatever your cup of tea, Canterbury has just the right mix flavours.
For the rugged man at heart
Have you ever fancied yourself as a bit of a wilderness man or cowboy at heart? Becoming one with the land and enhancing those primal instincts. The Canterbury High Country, with its rugged landscape and stunning lodges is the perfect location for anyone who loves the wide open spaces, and all the outdoor experiences that come along with it. From fishing Canterbury's famous braided rivers to back country deer stalking, scenic walking tracks to off road cycle trails, you can get your fair share of fresh air and stunning landscape in a weekend away.
If after a day on the land, you want a bit of luxury for the evening, you can choose from some of the various lodges dotted around the countryside, with a well-deserved glass of local wine and fresh fine cuisine, or alternatively get back to basics in a some old shearers quarters where you can have a yarn with locals, and cook what you catch – of course with a good Kiwi ale to wash it all down.
Pure New Zealand – it is more than just a tourism slogan. It is a way of life for many people who choose to live here and also is a huge impact for many who choose to run businesses in a sustainable manner. Some people choose to dabble their toes like running fleets of vehicles that run off biofuel, or focus their business around education and conservation of endangered species like the Hector’s Dolphin, and then there are entire communities like the people of Kaikoura, who received the EarthCheck Platinum Certificate for Environmental Performance - the first community in the Southern Hemisphere to achieve this prestigious award.
You can stay in eco-lodges, or perhaps a “yurt” is more your style, or stay in an eco-friendly silo, all the while eating locally sourced food, and participating in environmentally friendly activities – your whole stay in Canterbury can be almost carbon neutral…now you just practise your swimming technique to get here!
The sky's the limit
When you look up at the night sky, how many stars can you see with the naked eye? Large cities, like Hong Kong, London and even Sydney, which hold a huge portion of the world's population can only see around 10% or less of the actual starts that shine above them. This isn’t something that you tend to think about that much until you witness first hand just what beauty the dark skies above us can offer.
Canterbury’s Mackenzie region is renowned for its incredibly clear starry nights, and is now home to the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve - the largest such reserve in the world of gold status, which means that the skies are almost totally free from light pollution. Imagine gazing up with the naked eye and seeing the Milky Way and other galaxies, have so many stars that your eyes don’t know where to look and just taking in the magnificence of the universe. It certainly makes you feel like a tiny speck in this this great world and is an experience that you will never forget.
New Zealand and adrenalin pumping adventures seem to go hand in hand and Canterbury is no exception to the rule! If skiing and snowboarding get the blood pumping then choose from 13 different fields, or perhaps you would prefer to hurl yourself off a bridge – with bungy attached! You can get down and dirty on a quad bike adventure, ride some rapids or go canyoning all in the name of fun!
Canterbury is a region of huge diversity, so you choose if you want to float above the patchwork quilt of the Canterbury Plains in a relaxing hot air balloon, or plummet towards it during an adrenalin pumping skydive. You choose if you want a tranquil glide down the Avon River on a traditional English punt, or if you want a fast paced-wind in your hair-raising adventure down the Canterbury’s braided rivers with 360 degree spins. Whether your idea of adventure is eating a bit of spiced food, or if you are likely to star in the extreme sports, there will be something to entertain you here in Canterbury.