Canterbury Peninsula to peaks journey
From the calm shoreline of Banks Peninsula to the majestic majesty of the Southern Alps, Canterbury is a place of breathtaking beauty. Discover the trendy city of Christchurch, the historic French colony of Akaroa, and the picturesque mountain village of Arthur's Pass National Park on a journey from the sea to the highlands.
Day 1: Christchurch to Akaroa
Travel to Lyttelton, a port town with eccentric bars, communal projects, and a popular Saturday farmer's market, via the tunnel. The coastal road continues on to Charteris Bay Road after passing through Governors Bay. Take the time to stop in at the shops and communities you pass through. She Universe Cafe, noted for its chocolate delights, is a must-visit for chocolate aficionados. Akaroa village has a distinct French flavor. The town's early French history is reflected in the street names, eateries, and colorful characters. Learn more about this unusual town by visiting the museum and the beautifully restored houses.
ChristchurchChristchurch, New Zealand
Day 2: Akaroa to Christchurch
Akaroa is an excellent spot to see dolphins, penguins, and fur seals in addition to its French culture. Meet some of New Zealand's native marine species on a nature cruise. Some tours include swimming with Hector's dolphins, the world's tiniest dolphins. Head up the hill to The Giant's House for something truly Akaroa, where terraced gardens with sculptures and mosaics are a creative feast. Little River is on the way back to Christchurch on the main route. This quaint town, complete with a small art gallery and cafe, is the ideal spot for a lunch break.
AkaroaAkaroa, New Zealand
Day 3: Day trip to Arthur's Pass
The TranzAlpine is one of the most beautiful short train excursions in the world. Travel west from Christchurch over the Canterbury plains and towards the foothills of the Southern Alps. As you go to Arthur's Pass National Park, take in the scenery as you cross braided rivers and pass by picturesque lakes. The community of Arthur's Pass serves as a trailhead. Before re-joining the train on its way back to Christchurch, stop for lunch and take one of the several short hikes available. Alternatively, go the entire TranzAlpine route to Greymouth through the Otira Gorge. The train will stop here for just over an hour before returning to Christchurch, giving you plenty of time to explore.
Arthur's PassArthur's Pass, West Coast 7875, New Zealand
Day 4: Spend the day in Christchurch
Spend your final day in Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island. There are numerous options to explore the city, including taking a heritage tram, renting a bike and cycling through the city center, or taking a punt down the Avon River. The botanical gardens and Hagley Park, located in the city's centre, are ideal for a leisurely stroll. Head up to the Port Hills and ride the Crater Rim cycle track for extra action. Christchurch is also a fantastic location for scenic flights, whether by helicopter or hot air balloon. Alternatively, spend the day exploring the city's numerous retail and dining districts.