Explore Christchurch & Canterbury In Autumn
Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons in Christchurch and Canterbury, with its crisp cool air, stunning colours, and a myriad of exciting adventures to be had. Whether you're a nature lover, a thrill-seeker, or simply looking for a peaceful escape, it all starts here in Christchurch, before you hit the road to experience all that the regions have to offer.
Christchurch & Banks Peninsula
Christchurch is a playground that comes alive in autumn, with stunning natural spaces and an array of activities to enjoy. Drive around the bays from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour and soak in the picturesque countryside and sparkling green waters. At Orton Bradley Park, walk up to the Big Rock for breath-taking views, or stay on flat ground as you wander Hagley Park and enjoy family fun playing in crunchy leaves. Bike or walk around the Port Hills for postcard-worthy views, or hop in the car for a day trip to Akaroa, just a 1.5-hour scenic drive away. Stop at Hill Top to take some snaps and enjoy calm seas on a cruise or kayak tour.
Hurunui & Kaikōura
Experience the vibrant shades of autumn in Hanmer Springs, where the mild days and early snow on the mountains make for a peaceful autumn-getaway. Walk or bike through the forest tracks to fully immerse yourself in the calming surroundings and capture the mystical light that shines through the trees. Don't miss a chance to relax in the natural and therapeutic waters of the thermal pools under the stars.
Afterward, head to Waipara Valley for some wine tasting and indulge in the harvest of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
If you're up for more adventure, take a short drive up State Highway 1 to the seaside town of Kaikōura for a chance to see a variety of marine life - you'll find seals, dolphins, albatross and whales on a guided tour!
The Selwyn district is full of charming country towns, spectacular gorges and rugged high country. Discover the area by bike or foot, or for something a bit different, experience it via horseback! For the more adventurous, why not try a hot air balloon? The calm weather of autumn is perfect for this unique experience. Floating effortlessly over the Canterbury Plains with sweeping views of the Alps to the Ocean is something you'll never forget.
Kura Tāwhiti/Castle Hill
Kura Tāwhiti/Castle Hill is a must-visit spot for any outdoor enthusiast. Situated on the way to Arthur's Pass, this area boasts beautiful larch trees and a world-famous rock formation. The spectacular scenery is a delight to explore, and with the stunning mountain range as a backdrop, you'll be snapping some beautiful pictures and capturing special memories.
The Mackenzie Country is always stunning, but autumn in this region will leave you in awe! The chilly air offers crystal-clear views of the mountains, making it an ideal time for a scenic flight around Aoraki/Mount Cook and the glaciers. At night, don't miss the famous star gazing tours in Tekapo or Aoraki/Mount Cook, where you can catch glimpses of the Milky Way and planets with the naked eye. For the ultimate autumn getaway, head to Twizel in the heart of the high country. With jaw-dropping mountain and lake views, spots like Lake Ruataniwha, Lake Ohau, and the Twizel River offer the perfect backdrop.
Mid Canterbury is a natural playground for all outdoor lovers and autumn is the ideal time to enjoy the many mountain bike and walking tracks in the area. And if you're a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, listen up! The film location for Edoras, the capital city of the Riders of Rohan, is nestled in the heart of Mid Canterbury atop Mt Sunday. And let us tell you, in autumn, the scenery around Mt Sunday is simply breath-taking. The white peaks of the Southern Alps stand tall against the clear blue sky while the yellow grass of the paddocks adds a pop of colour. It's no wonder this location was chosen for the movie set.
The ultimate outdoor destination: hunting, fishing, tramping, cycling and rafting - South Canterbury has it all! For the brave ones wanting to try a grade 5 river raft, the Rangitata river is wild with challenging rapids guaranteed. After your day of adventure be sure to wind down with a relaxing walk through native bush or botanical gardens, or browse the local galleries or wonderful cafe scene in the region.