Christchurch & Canterbury
This region is centred around the country’s second largest city of Christchurch (pop 380,000), but is part of a region known as Canterbury that stretches far to both the north and south – as far north as Kaikoura – and as far south as Timaru and Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park.
There’s a lot of good farmland in between, and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps inland to the west.
There’s top hiking at Arthur’s Pass and in Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, skiing at Mt Hutt, wine tasting around Waipara, hot-springs soaking at Hanmer Springs, wildlife viewing options in Kaikoura, star-gazing at Lake Tekapo and a French experience to be had in Akaroa.
Christchurch, far and away the largest city in the South Island, is the regional hub and has a busy international airport.