Day trips through the heart of Cantebury
Christchurch is the starting point for exploring the natural wonders of the South Island. Here are some of the most popular day outings in the Canterbury region.
The Port Hills, just a short drive from Christchurch City, are a mountain biker's paradise. Furthermore, they are littered with walking and cycling paths where, even on a busy day, you will frequently find yourself alone taking in the scenery. Running, walking, or cycling near the summit provides panoramic views of the Canterbury Plains and Lyttelton Harbour. The Canterbury Plains are bordered on the south by Lake Ellesmere and the Pacific Ocean, and on the north by Brighton and Sumner Beaches, as well as a large bay running up to Motunau. On a clear day, the seaward Kaikoura Mountains can be seen well.
Akaroa and Banks Peninsula
Banks Peninsula, formerly an island created by two volcanic cones, is rich in natural beauty. On foot or by bike, you can explore the network of trails in this area, delving into the native bush to the sound of songbirds. Akaroa, a seaside village with a crater-created harbour, exudes appeal. It's New Zealand's most French town, with superb restaurants and fine cheeses — you can watch the action from the gallery window at Barrys Bay Cheese. Akaroa's other great draw is its tradition and history, which can be found simply by walking the streets and passing by colonial buildings and the Akaroa Museum. Take a harbour cruise to see dolphins, penguins, and seals if you have time.
Arthur's Pass is the highest pass in the Southern Alps, located in the middle of the South Island. As you travel deeper into the National Park, you'll come across wide rivers, picturesque beech forests, and mischievous wildlife. The TranzAlpine Railway is one of the greatest ways to see this beautiful region. This is one of the world's finest rail excursions, passing through the Canterbury Plains, beautiful alpine scenery, and the untamed West Coast.
Bealey Valley Track
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