To the East lies the open ocean and Banks Peninsula, featuring
sheltered bays, sandy beaches, bush clad valleys, rocky coastline
and high, wild places. Boating, tramping, a visit to the wineries
and the French settlers' harbour-side village of Akaroa, are key
To the West, past fertile plains and braided rivers, are
forested foothills and lakes. Beyond them lie the tallest mountains
in Australasia, the Southern Alps, strung out parallel to the
coastline. Mountain passes with delightful alpine villages break
the almost impenetrable divide and deliver the traveler to the West
Coast. There is a choice of western routes and plenty of ski areas
on the way.
A journey North reveals green rolling hills, forests and long,
empty beaches, with the whale-watching centre of Kaikoura about two
hours' drive away. An excursion to the South passes through
farmland and crosses two more of Canterbury's pristine rivers,
ideal for fishing, whitewater rafting or kayaking. Mt Hutt, the
premier commercial ski area close to the city, lies to the South
West. A day off-piste invites an opportunity for jet boating,
fishing, horse riding or a round of golf.
Clearly visitors are spoilt for choice and residents have a
superb outdoor lifestyle at their doorsteps.