Gardens & gastronomy
Explore New Zealand's Garden City and the surrounding Canterbury plains with this suggested six-day luxury itinerary.
By Katie Milton
Take a luxury transfer from Christchurch International Airport straight to The George hotel. Settle into a room with garden views of North Hagley Park before making use of the complimentary bikes and cycling along the winding Avon River. Spend the afternoon among a collection of New Zealand and international works at the newly reopened Christchurch Art Gallery, before exploring the boutique collection of shops and cafes in the centre of Garden City.
Stay: The George
After an à la carte breakfast on the terrace at The George's restaurant, 50 Bistro, check out and take a short heli-ride to Kaikoura, a small peninsula town with magnificent views of the rugged mountain range that extends along New Zealand’s backbone. Embark on a daylong Whale Watch Kaikoura Marine Combo experience, which includes whale watching by air and by sea as well as an up-close encounter with pods of dusky dolphins. In Māori, "Kai" translates to "eat" and "Koura" to "crayfish", so a trip to Kaikoura is not complete without tasting freshly cracked crayfish. For dinner head to the humble seaside caravan restaurant Nin’s Bin where they serve it straight from the pot, wrapped in paper with lemon.
Stay: Hapuku Lodge
Descend from your Hapuku Lodge treehouse nestled 10 metres above ground in the canopy of a native Manuka tree grove, and head for the Ohau Stream walkway and waterfall. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the large pod of fur seal pups that play near the waterfall all throughout winter. Seek out Pegasus Bay Winery to the south for a wine-paired gastronomic meal. From here you can take a car transfer back to the historic Otahuna Lodge, a member of the Relais & Châteaux luxury property collection.
Stay: Otahuna Lodge
After a late lie-in, your hosts at Otahuna Lodge can arrange a local guide to take you fly-fishing. Chase brown and rainbow trout in remote access streams via helicopter or embark on a four-wheel drive adventure to the lowland streams. Alternatively, go horseback riding through woodlands and local farms alongside the banks of the Waimakariri River. Take a heli-transfer to Annandale’s Seascape, a contemporary two-person cabin overlooking a private bay and toast with the complimentary bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne on arrival.
Stay: Seascape at Annandale
Relish all the Annandale Gourmet Experience has to offer with the farm to table gourmet breakfast offering followed by a hike or bike along one of the many Peninsula walking trails. Annandale can arrange a gourmet picnic hamper to be enjoyed among spectacular coastal views and native tītoki trees. Alternatively, head to the nearby French-founded fishing port of Akaroa, which, nestled in the centre of an extinct volcano offers a variety of water-based activates, penguin viewing tours and quirky cafes, bistros and shops. Soak in the steamy outdoor spa as the sun sets of over the bay, and a personal chef prepares a three-course meal accompanied by matching wines.
Stay: Seascape at Annandale
Savour the last views of the azure waters and coastal rock formations before taking the heli-transfer back to Christchurch.
Explore New Zealand's Garden City and the surrounding Canterbury plains with this …
Looking for things to do in Christchurch? Take day trips from Christchurch and …
A cosy winter escape at Otahuna Lodge in the Canterbury region of New Zealand.
Weather to go
Christchurch has a dry, temperate climate with the least amount of rainfall for any of New Zealand's regions. Warm temperatures in summer are regulated by cool sea breezes which makes it the perfect destination for outdoor activities all year around. During summer the sun shines as late as 9.30pm and the days are an average temperature of 22°C. In winter the frosty mornings are often succeeded by bright, sunny days with little or no wind, however the nights can be extremely chilly. Snow fall usually occurs once or twice a year on the hill suburbs of Christchurch and every second year on the plains.
Best places to stay