Local Information - Christchurch and Canterbury

Christchurch CathedralWith ANZMAC 2010 scheduled for November and December in Christchurch this year, now is the time to think about visiting this beautiful part of the South Island of New Zealand. The city of Christchurch and the lovely surrounding districts offer excellent opportunities for enjoyment and exploration.
Visit www.newzealand.com and start planning that holiday built around your visit to Christchurch for ANZMAC in 2010.

Please visit our local activities page for some suggestions of nearby activities.

Punting on the AvonVibrant Christchurch

Christchurch is a city that never stands still. It is a top destination for international travellers partly because of its extensive infrastructure and partly because of the vibrant range of attractions and activities which abound. Founded just over 150 years ago, the city was planned with foresight. The location was strategic – at the centre of New Zealand’s South Island with very easy access to the mountains, lakes, rivers, harbours and beaches providing a myriad of recreation opportunities, and surrounded with extensive fertile plains supporting rich horticultural, agricultural and forestry industries. For visitors, Christchurch offers very easy access to nearby attractions as diverse as ski-fields, thermal resorts, river gorges, alpine adventures, high country farms and coastal attractions such as whale-watching and swimming with dolphins.

Beautifully Impressive

Impressive architectural styles span Victorian neo-Gothic to modern brilliantly designed buildings. These are complemented by substantial areas of parklands, gardens and the sparkling Avon River meandering through the heart of the city, giving Christchurch an atmosphere that is an exciting blend of classical and romantic, relaxing and leisurely, stimulating and entertaining.

NightlifeGarden City

Accorded an international award ‘Garden City of the World’ Christchurch is well known for its delightful parks and gardens. Hagley Park, a pivotal feature of central Christchurch, is spread over 500 acres and boasts stunning botanical gardens, sports fields and a golf course.

Compact and Versatile

With its compact city centre, genuinely welcoming people, large range of attractions, extensive partner program options, fascinating touring and day trip destinations, Christchurch is the perfect place to meet for international conferences. Christchurch has the jump on other convention cities because its amenities are focused on satisfying the needs of the tourism and convention market. It has a track record of hosting successful conference and conventions of all sizes. With a population approaching 400,000, Christchurch is large enough to offer world-class facilities, yet intimate enough to make delegates feel welcome.

Within an Hours' Drive of Christchurch

Grapes from CanterburyAkaroa - www.bankspeninsula.info

From Christchurch, a leisurely 1 hour drive takes you around the hilly fingers of ancient lava flows to Little River with its intriguing arts and crafts shops. Climb to the rim of the extinct volcano which makes up Banks Peninsula where you are greeted by panoramic views across the harbour to the popular retreat of Akaroa. Akaroa was originally settled by French colonists and their legacy is found in the street names and architecture of this ‘southern riviera’ resort. Harbour cruises introduce you to the history, geology and wildlife of this area, or you can swim with friendly Hector Dolphins, one of the rarest in the world. Numerous cafés, bars and restaurants with seaside vistas offer superb cuisine including local seafood and fine wines. Browse the galleries, gift and craft shops for locally made jewellery, artwork, woodware, clothing and creative souvenirs. An overnight stop is highly recommended.

Waipara Valley Wine Trail - www.alpinepacifictourism.co.nz

The Waipara region, just 40 minutes’ drive north of Christchurch, is one of New Zealand’s premier wine districts. Excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varieties are produced. Enjoy sampling, vineyard tours and fine cuisine. It is the fastest growing wine region in New Zealand with around 79 vineyards in the Waipara valley covering more than 800 hectares of plantings.

Within 1½ Hours' Drive of Christchurch

Hanmer Springs - www.alpinepacifictourism.co.nz

Hanmer Springs, a charming alpine village surrounded by snowcapped mountains and forests, is where relaxation begins. Unwind in natural hot pools, play golf, hike or mountain bike the forest trails or saddle up for a gentle horse trek. The Waiau River provides the rush of a jet boat ride, whitewater rafting or a bungy jump. Dine at delightful cafes and restaurants or fossick in the craft and art shops.

Canterbury High Country - www.ashburtontourism.co.nz, www.selwyndistrict.co.nz

Just a 50 minute drive from Christchurch, located in the heart of Canterbury’s high country, Terrace Downs High Country Resort overlooks the picturesque Rakaia Gorge. Activities include: golf, four-wheel driving, jet boating, clay pigeon shooting and snow skiing over the winter months. Another option is to board the TranzAlpine, one of the six top train journeys of the world, which takes you through the Canterbury Plains, through remote gorges and high into the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass.

Within 2½ Hours’ Drive of Christchurch

Kaikoura - www.alpinepacifictourism.co.nz

Whale watchingJourney from Christchurch through rolling farmland to a spectacular coastline sculptured by the ocean for millions of years. The Kaikoura Peninsula protrudes into these southern waters. Here, the fishing village of Kaikoura, once an early whaling settlement, is nestled between the Southern Alps and Pacific Ocean.

Take a whale watch tour, by boat or scenic flight. See giant sperm whales, dolphins, fur seals, sharks and a variety of seabirds. Enjoy a fresh crayfish (lobster) lunch at a local restaurant. Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs and Waipara can be visited on a round trip day tour, but it is highly recommended that you include one or two nights for a more enjoyable itinerary.

Central South Island and Timaru - www.southisland.org.nz

In the heart of the South Island is a region of sweeping plains, rolling hills and unspoilt coastline. Set against a backdrop of the spectacular Southern Alps, the Central South Island is diverse, authentic and full of unexpected discoveries. Stunning landscapes, adventure & outdoor recreation activities and art & cultural experiences are a feature of the Central South Island region, a place of welcoming people where genuine Kiwi hospitality thrives. Timaru, with its striking piazza with stunning views over Caroline Bay, heritage architecture & treasured galleries & museums is the pivotal heart of the region and Canterbury’s second city. It is well placed for you to explore the outdoors and the surrounding region comprising of the quintessential Kiwi towns of Geraldine, Peel Forest, Pleasant Point & Temuka.

Within 3 - 3½ Hours’ Drive of Christchurch

Mt CookMackenzie Country - www.mtcooknz.com

The Mackenzie is one of New Zealand’s most refreshing and energising areas to visit. The region is an extraordinary scenic highland that extends from Fairlie to the township of Twizel. The natural landscape encompasses Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, a World Heritage Area and New Zealand’s tallest mountain. The area also boasts some of New Zealand’s most beautiful lake and alpine scenery. A great option for pre or post conference touring, the Mackenzie District has an endless array of activities that all visitors can enjoy including scenic flights, walks, personalised 4WD tours, glacier boat cruises, stargazing, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, and heli-skiing. A welcoming atmosphere is customary in the cafes and restaurants throughout the region as well as in the great choices of accommodation including luxury lodge, hotel, motel and farmstays. With a huge range of activities on offer, from the exhilarating to the serene, you’ll have an unforgettable stay.