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South Canterbury Magic

South Canterbury Magic

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 Scenic Reserve 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 the luxurious 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.

The Giant Jersey is another must-see, located in Geraldine's Visitor Centre it is recognised by The Guinness Book of Records as the largest jersey in the world!

Head down to Timaru and stroll the shore of Caroline Bay, one of New Zealand's top 10 beaches. Then head over to a local landmark, DB Draught Brewery for a brewery tour learning about the brewing process from raw materials to bottling. Learn about how beer was delivered in the good old days by viewing the historic DB Draught wagon, which was drawn by mighty Clydesdale horses.

Choose from a range of accommodation in Timaru and dine at the historic Oxford Restaurant Bar. A listed Historic Places Trust gem, the beautiful corner building has 15 foot embossed ceilings with elegant atmosphere to enjoy their seasonal European style bistro menu.

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.

Managed by local Iwi/tribe Ngai Tahu, explore interactive exhibits experiencing 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.