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- Campervan Travel Information


Canterbury: the Heart of the South Island

Christchurch, gateway to the South Island; Garden city of the world. Visitors and residents alike can enjoy the unique playground of Canterbury, which stretches from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean. Although it is the largest city in New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch is incredibly friendly and at the same time elegant and sophisticated. Because the city is so compact, getting about is effortless. Whether you walk, cycle or drive, all the key attractions are within easy distance of the city centre. Sample superb Canterbury wines and fresh produce like Canterbury lamb, salmon, ostrich or Kaikoura crayfish at your pick of award-winning restaurants, or stop for coffee in one of the many vibrant city cafes.

Canterbury is not only rich in beauty; it offers a wealth of unparalleled experiences. You can get close to the whales in Kaikoura, swim with the worlds rarest dolphin near the charming French settlement of Akaroa, soak in a thermal hot pool in the Alpine Village of Hanmer Springs, tour New Zealand’s hottest wine region, Waipara, hike through spectacular scenery near Arthur’s Pass, fish for our prize salmon in Rakaia, mountain bike through beautiful hill country around Timaru and Waimate, make a pilgrimage to Australasia’s highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook or float tranquilly above the plains in a hot air balloon.

To discover the Christchurch and Canterbury area using a campervan, visit maui campervan hire Christchurch branch for more details.

Oysters Couple Salad

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Visitor Information

You'll find highly-trained local staff with vast local knowledge about the best things to see and do in the area. From major attractions to hidden gems off the beaten path, our friendly staff can help plan an itinerary that works for you, whatever your time and budget. For a comprehensive guide to Visitor Information Centres in the Christchurch and Canterbury region, click here.


350,000 est at June 2006


Canterbury has warm summers and cool to cold winters. Maximum temperatures in summer are typically in the 27C-33C range. The highest temperature ever recorded in Christchurch was 42C. In winter the temperatures can range from 2C-12C.

Cultural mix

NZ European, Maori, Pacific, Asian.

Famous for

Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Garden City, Gateway to South Island, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Alps to Ocean


City Buses: Christchurch Free Central City Shuttle Services. The shuttle which is a distinctive yellow colour runs every 10 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes in the evening.

Christchurch Tramway Limited: A historic tram ride around the city centre. Trundle through the tree lined streets, past buzzing streetside cafes. A great way to experience the inner city of Christchurch.

Punting on the Avon River: Sit back, relax in a punt as a boatman guide past the sights of the central city, check them out here.


GoDo is an online booking service for activities. We work with hundreds of activity suppliers across New Zealand so that you can book the perfect activity online instantly – be it tandem sky diving, hot air ballooning or V8 racing – on the particular day that you want to go. We’re trying to make the process of planning your weekends, holidays and days off as painless as possible with thousands of activities to choose from.

GoDo activities in Canterbury

Food & Wine

Experience local seasonal flavours straight from the land, from roadside stalls, produce and farmers' markets to exquisite cafes, restaurants and award winning wineries in the Canterbury region. 

Just outside of Christchurch, the Waipara Valley, New Zealand's fastest-growing wine area, is a "must-see" year-round.. It is nestled in the shelter of the Teviotdale  hills and enjoys long, dry summers, abundant sunshine and relatively cool growing conditions.   The region is noted for its Pinot Noir and Rieslings, with an additional mention for its Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Merlot and small planting of Syrah.  Exciting and award-winning wines are produced from the burgeoning Waipara Valley wineries. The free-draining soils, hot summers and protection from cool winds produce outstanding vintages with unique and individual characteristics. Varieties for which the area is developing an excellent reputation are Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Many wineries and a local boutique brewery are open for tastings and cellar door sales, while some offer lunches and dinners in their boutique restaurants.  Here is a sample of wineries you could visit:

Pegasus Bay Winery 
Wine tasting & sales: 10am - 5pm daily.  Restaurant: 12pm - 4pm daily.

Waipara Hills Winery & Café 
Wine tasting & restaurant: 10am - 5pm daily.

Waipara Springs Winery
Wine tasting & restaurant: 11am - 5pm daily.

Fiddler’s Green
Wine tasting: 11am - 5pm (Sat-Sun). Other times by appointment.

Torlesse Wines
Wine tasting: 11am - 5pm daily.

You could also follow the North Canterbury Food & Wine Trail shared between Hurunui, Kaikoura and Waimakariri Districts and indulge yourself. Waimakariri, in North Canterbury, is also a place to go to experience a tranquil country lifestyle destination, and be warmly welcomed by the people who will share their place with visitors.

Some favourite places to stop for local food & wine experiences are:

Hinton's Vineyard, Restaurant & Café
Is the cellar door of Hinton Estate Vineyard, and is located just on the outskirts of Christchurch. It offers a magical atmosphere in which to enjoy superb wine and food, great coffee and friendly hospitality.

Waipara Hills
Award winning Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Pinot Noir and dessert wines.

Nor'wester Café
The multi award winning Nor' Wester - restaurant, wine bar & café, situated in the heart of Amberley, creates an opportunity to indulge all your senses.
For more information about food & wine in the Canterbury region, click here.

Walks & Treks

A short drive north of Christchurch, Hanmer Springs offers a range of pleasant river walks and coastal tracks with spectacular landscapes within the Hurunui district, including the Hurunui High Country, Lewis Pass, Cheviot Hills and the Hanmer Forests.  Make sure you take your camera, there a lots of views you will want to capture.

Village Walkway

This picturesque walkway commences on State Highway 7 opposite the Weka Pass Railway station. It follows the old rail line overlooking houses on one side and rolling paddocks on the other. The 2 ½ km long, wide track allows for walkers of all ages and abilities to move freely. The choice of carrying on to the Village Green walkway or returning via the footpath on Princes Street is dependent on your time frame. The loop back through the village will take approximately 30 – 45 minutes. Stunning views of the mountains are guaranteed.

The Plane Table

Keep walking up from the Village Walkway entrance on State Highway 7 until you come across the style on the fence line. Carry on up the track towards the water tank, there you will see one of the most spectacular views that the District has to offer. The mountains and geographical features are engraved on a plaque for easy reference. Well worth the 15 minutes of hill climb.

Village Green Loops

Across the road from the village walkway on Princes Street you will find the start of the course used annually for the Waikari Fun Run. There are 3 distances, 3700m, 7300m and 11300m. These tracks lead through some of the old rail line and along local roads. Stunning views along the way amongst real country life is well worth the effort. Suited to all ages, but a little more effort is required for the longer distances.

Golf Courses

If you are a keen golfer you will not be disappointed by the selection of golf courses in the Canterbury region.  The top three championship golf courses  include, Terrace Downs Resort and Clearwater.

Pegasus Golf Course, home of the 2010 Pegasus NZ Women's Open, is a par 72 international standard, 18-hole parklands style golf course located at the new town of Pegasus, 25 kms north of Christchurch and three minutes drive from the beach. Shaped by 11 feature lakes, maturing trees and wetlands and framed by views of the Port Hills, Mount Grey and the Pacific Coast, the course reflects a modern take on classic golf course design and provides players of all abilities with a choice on the degree of risk and reward.

Clearwater's par 72 championship course is home to the NZ PGA Championship. Designed by John Darby in consultation with New Zealand golfing legend, Sir Bob Charles, the course combines elements of links golf - inspired by the great Scottish courses - with parkland golf, more reminiscent of Florida. Playable year-round, the course meanders around a succession of spring-fed lakes and trout-filled streams, with uninterrupted views of the spectacular Southern Alps. There are five tee positions to suit players of all abilities.

Terrace Downs Resort makes for the ultimate year-round golfing and leisure destination. The Resort's par 72, 18-hole championship golf course is rated as one of the top courses in New Zealand. Based at the foothills of the Southern Alps, just a 50 minute drive from Christchurch international airport, there are very few scenic alpine courses like it.

Hanmer Springs, north of Christchurch offers you a world class golf experience, with seven picturesque country golf courses to choose from.  The 18 hole Hanmer Springs Golf Club is situated in a high country basin, 385m above sea level. As well as the manicured fairways and greens, the Hanmer Springs Golf Course boasts some of North Canterbury's finest scenery. If not for the challenging course then come and play for the spectacular mountain views, wide open spaces and the freedom of crowds and city noise.

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