Catch a game of rugby
If you come to New Zealand then you must catch a game of rugby. If you’re going to catch a game of rugby then it may as well be in Christchurch. AMI Stadium – formerly Jade Stadium and Lancaster Park – is arguably the spiritual home of New Zealand rugby with local sides enjoying huge success and producing countless All Blacks. The Super 14 and domestic rugby season stretches from February to October.
Hitting the slopes
Situated 80km west of Christchurch is the Mt Hutt ski-field where you can strap on the snowboard and carve up the powder from June to October. Only an hour’s drive from Christchurch, the ski-field is one of the largest and busiest in the South Island with slopes catering for all levels.
Alpine train journey
The 223km TranzAlpine rail link between Christchurch and Greymouth cuts through the heart of the Southern Alps with vistas straight out of a Peter Jackson movie. Passengers on the four-hour coast-to-coast journey can take in the breathtaking scenery from the comfort of their seat, the on-board cafe, or an open-air carriage for those wanting a blast of mountain air up their nostrils.
Warm-up in a hot pool
Built around a mountain hot spring roughly 90km north of Christchurch, the town of Hanmer is as popular today as it was 150 years ago when people flocked to soak in its geothermal heated waters. Today the hot spring still warms skiers, mountain bikers and other adventure thrill-seekers, or those passing through to the West Coast via Lewis Pass.
A taste of France Down Under
At the end of 80km of winding Banks Peninsula road is the quaint seaside settlement of Akaroa. Although the British hoisted their flag in the area in 1840, Akaroa was settled that same year by French settlers intending to establish a colony. The region still has a French influence including architecture, place names and of course the fantastic croissants from the local bakery.