Wine, wellness & whales: Discovering Hurunui, Kaikōura and Ōtautahi Christchurch

Ōtautahi Christchurch has a great city centre vibe.

CHRISTCHURCH NZ / SUPPLIED

Ōtautahi Christchurch has a great city centre vibe.

There’s a place in the South Island that draws nature lovers, wellness warriors, shopaholics and adventure seekers alike to its doorstep. A place where shopping, nightlife and award-winning wineries coexist with thriving artistic communities, magical wildlife and indulgent thermal pools.

There’s something for everyone all year round in Ōtautahi Christchurch and surrounds. Here’s our guide on how to make the most of your stay in the South Island’s base camp for exploration The Garden City, Kaikōura and Hurunui.

New Regent Street has lots to offer for visitors including trams, cafes and evening drinks.

CHRISTCHURCH NZ / SUPPLIED

New Regent Street has lots to offer for visitors including trams, cafes and evening drinks.

START YOUR ADVENTURE IN ŌTAUTAHI CHRISTCHURCH 

Ōtautahi Christchurch’s rejuvenated urban centre will be your base camp for this extraordinary adventure. A stone’s throw away lie beautiful beaches, ski fields, mountains and rolling hills – a landscape ripe for exploration. In the city itself there’s an abundance of artistic and creative spaces.

See a show at The Court Theatre – New Zealand’s largest and oldest theatre company – take the kids to the historic Canterbury Museum, or peruse exhibitions at the many galleries scattered throughout the city.

Scenic helicopter flights offer a different perspective for those interested in eco-tourism.

CHRISTCHURCH NZ / SUPPLIED

Scenic helicopter flights offer a different perspective for those interested in eco-tourism.

In need of some retail therapy? Browse the boutiques along Colombo, High and Cashel Street, get your high-end fashion fix at The Crossing or hit the SALT District for sustainable shopping and home-grown fashion labels.

As the sun starts to go down take a turn down New Regent Street and treat yourself to some cocktail or whiskey tasting.

EXPERIENCE NATURE’S MAGIC IN KAIKŌURA 

Three hours north of Ōtautahi Christchurch lies one of New Zealand’s prime eco-tourism destinations. The pretty seaside village of Kaikōura is undoubtedly the whale watching capital of New Zealand and depending on the time of year you can expect to see Humpback whales, Blue whales, Southern Right whales, Pilot whales, Giant Sperm whales and even Orca.

Kaikōura is undoubtedly the whale watching capital of New Zealand

BARE KIWI

Kaikōura is undoubtedly the whale watching capital of New Zealand

For a different perspective you can take a scenic helicopter flight and glimpse these incredible creatures from above. If you’ve got kids in tow take them on a sea kayaking tour, where you’ll get to paddle past fur seals and maybe sight some dusky dolphins, blue penguins or albatross.

Inland, activities like quad biking, e-Biking and farm 4WD tours will keep your adrenaline pumping. Once you’re done exploring for the day, try out some of Kaikōura’s restaurants. The funky Black Rabbit Pizza is a firm favourite, while the Green Dolphin will appeal to those after more of a fine dining experience. Stay the night at Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses, offering splendid views of the surrounding mountains and coastline.

Enjoy the Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail in Hurunui.

CHRISTCHURCH NZ / SUPPLIED

Enjoy the Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail in Hurunui.

UNWIND IN HURUNUI 

There’s plenty to do year-round in the beautiful region of Hurunui, including bungee jumping, jet boating, rafting, quad biking and paintball. Visit in July to make the most of pig hunting and fishing season. The Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail is a relaxing way to discover the region’s world-class vineyards and cellar doors like Greystone Wines, Muddy Water Wines and Mountford Estate.

Fill your belly with a delicious takeaway hamper from Black Estate or take a half hour drive northeast to the award-winning Mt. Beautiful Two Rivers cafe in Cheviot.

Greystone PurePod at golden hour in the Hurunui.

CHRISTCHURCH NZ / SUPPLIED

Greystone PurePod at golden hour in the Hurunui.

A trip to Hurunui isn’t complete without spending a day soaking at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, with alpine environs and a range of beauty and massage treatments that are sure to recharge your senses. After warming up in the hot pools, maintain the heat by moving your body to the rhythms of Latin dance at the August Salsa Winter Festival.

Spend the night in an eco cabin from PurePod – a chance to revel in your own private slice of Kiwi paradise amidst lush surroundings. Here you can drift off beneath a blanket of stars and wake the next morning to the calls of native birds.

Any time is a great time to experience Ōtautahi Christchurch and nearby Kaikōura and Hurunui. Discover your perfect adventure at christchurchnz.com/explore.