The Canterbury landscape covers the northeastern part of New Zealand’s South Island and ranges from miles of silvery beach to the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps. Big scenery is the order of the day, huge panoramas of ocean or mountains, great sweeps of pastureland and vast skies.
- Travel between east and west on this five-hour iconic train journey
- Pass through epic scenery from glacier-fed rivers to soaring mountains and native woodland
- Disembark in Greymouth and continue south to the glaciers of Franz Josef
- Search for sperm, humpback, pilot and blue whale as well as orca, dolphin and albatross
- Explore the coastline by sea kayak encountering fur seals on the way
- Stay in a treehouse and dine out on the freshest crayfish
A little more about Christchurch, Kaikoura and Canterbury
The highest point of the region is the highest point of New Zealand, the spectacular Aoraki Mount Cook, standing at 3,754 metres (Aoraki is Maori for Cloud Piercer). At the other end of the scale, the submarine trenches off the coast of Kaikoura are thousands of metres deep, providing an ideal environment for the whales, dolphins and seals that reside there. This is the place in New Zealand to whale watch and swim with dolphins. Between the mountains and the sea, the vast plains are patchworked with the patterns of rural life.
Christchurch is the regions and South Islands largest city, and great care has been taken to preserve its colonial heritage. Grand architecture, historic homesteads and charming parks intermingle with the technology and style of modern life. A short drive east of Christchurch leads to the Banks Peninsula and the harbour towns of Akaroa and Lyttelton; the former being the only French settlement in New Zealand.
When is The best time for whale watching in Kaikoura?
Sperm whales can be seen year-round along with pods of dusky dolphin as well as orca and sometimes the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin – the hector. Other migratory species such as humpback, pilot, blue and southern right whales can also be seen, normally between June and August.
Although a year-round destination the weather is often at its best between October and March.