14. A wildlife to wine country road trip
Let us guide you through the best road trip experiences for your New Zealand holiday: here is No. 14 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
From new initiatives such as the Riverside Market to must-sees like its neo-Gothic Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora and Canterbury Museum, Christchurch/Ōtautahi has plenty to offer the visitor indoors – and outdoors, too. Explore the beautiful Botanic Gardens, take a paddle along the Avon River/Ōtākaro, or hike along the top of the Port Hills, with views in all directions.
Hanmer Springs & Waiau Gorge
Then head out of town up across the patchwork Canterbury Plains, and into alpine scenery at Hanmer Springs. Its well-developed thermal springs complex is a must, but earn your relaxing soak by sampling some of the tramping tracks here through redwood forest or over the hills. Or you could get adventurous, rafting or jet-boating along the Waiau Gorge, bungy jumping or bouncing along on a quad bike.
Back on the coast, further north, you’ll stop at Kaikōura, tucked under the mountains and focused on the sea. Take a whale-watching tour by sea or air to see seals, humpbacks, and the sperm whales that live here permanently. Spectacular dolphin displays with a cast of hundreds are not unusual, and you can swim with them too. It’s the seafood that attracts them, and you’ll find out why.
Sitting by the sea outside Nin’s Bin, tucking into freshly cooked crayfish is heaven.
More gourmet delights await up in Marlborough, world-famous for its wines, especially sauvignon blanc. Take a guided tour, or cycle the vineyards. Explore gorgeous Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui on a day cruise, or walk all or some of its inviting track.