The garden city of Christchurch will no doubt be brimming with excitement when The British & Irish Lions visit to take on the most successful Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders on 10 June as part of their 2017 tour.
The 18,000 capacity AMI Stadium is no stranger to big games having hosted FIFA U-20 football matches and is a regular stop for the All Blacks during the Investec Rugby Championship. The city will host a game between the All Blacks and South Africa on 17 September in the 2016 tournament.
Consistently the strongest rugby union in the country, Canterbury has produced modern day All Black legends Daniel Carter, Kieran Read and Richie McCaw.
Named by Lonely Planet as one of the top places to visit in the world in 2013, Christchurch - the ‘Garden City’ as it is affectionately known - offers visitors an eclectic mix of adventures and experiences to enjoy.
Christchurch – city on the rise
Christchurch is bursting with new vigour and overflowing with bars, restaurants, inspirational art and creativity as it reinvents itself in the wake of the 2011 earthquake.
One of the most symbolic new features of the city is the Transitional ‘cardboard’ Cathedral - an innovative structure made from cardboard, wood and steel. Funky bars transformed from shipping containers and up-cycled material adds to the resurgent feeling of the city, providing the place to enjoy a pre or post-match drink and bite to eat.
One of the best ways to experience Christchurch is from above. The Christchurch Gondola, a popular city-centre attraction, travels to the top of Crater Rim, high on Banks Peninsula.
The ride offers panoramic views of the snow-capped Southern Alps, sprawling Canterbury Plains, the Pacific Coast and the suburban-scape below. The Time Tunnel attraction offers an interesting take on the history of the area - a café and shop also rest at the top.
Take a punt
Christchurch gets in touch with its British roots with its famed punting attraction on the Avon River that flows through the city. Punts, boats based on the old English tradition in Oxford and Cambridge, treat visitors to a taste of the ‘Garden City’ from the water.
A punt ride from Worcester Street Bridge takes in the gardens and a chance to relax while viewing the evolving face of the city centre.
Perfect the swing
New Zealand is becoming known as a top golfing destination and Christchurch has a course to suit every swing. The Canterbury region is home to more than 40 golf courses, boasting some of the best international greens in the world.
Clearwater Golf Club - a par-72 course set amongst trout filled lakes and framed by the Southern Alps - offers great golf and a chance to unwind at the Peppers Clearwater Resort. The award-winning Terrace Downs and international championship course, Pegasus Golf Club, are just two of the many courses in the Canterbury region not to be missed.
Towering forests make up much of the remarkable New Zealand landscape and Christchurch’s Adrenaline Forest offers the chance to make like a monkey and swing through the trees.
The park is the perfect place to test limits and conquer fears in an outdoors setting. Featuring an aerial obstacle course, spanning 2km in length and rising 20 metres off the ground, Adrenaline Forest is a family-friendly attraction with six courses and over 100 challenges to choose from.
Hit the road
The Canterbury region offers some of the best adventures in the South Island, with most places an easily accessible drive from Christchurch. At Hanmer Springs, iconic outdoor Kiwi adventures include bungy-jumping, white water rafting and horse trekking, or the popular Hanmer Springs’ hot pools.
Scenic flights over the Southern Alps, a picnic beside the turquoise blue waters of Lake Tekapo or night star gazing at Mr John Observatory offers romance and excitement in the Aoraki /Mount Cook Mackenzie region. Kaikoura is the place to experience New Zealand’s marine wildlife with whale watching tours, seal and dolphin swims.
Secret ski fields
Scattered around New Zealand’s Canterbury-Southern Alps region are boutique ski fields, with few queues and uncontested slopes, just waiting to be explored. There are fresh tracks to be made in terrain suitable for all abilities in these lesser known alpine playgrounds.
Porters Ski Area offers terrain suitable for skiers and snowboarders from beginner to expert and is only a two-hour drive from Christchurch City. Remarkable vistas encompass Lake Coleridge and the Southern Alps, and extend across the Canterbury Plains to the city.
Christchurch, known as the 'garden city’, is home to 740 parks, covering about 3,000ha.
Rakaia bridge, at 1.8km, is the southern hemisphere’s longest bridge.
Aoraki Mt Cook (3,754m) is New Zealand’s highest mountain. Aoraki means ‘cloud piercer’.
Canterbury, at 42,200 sq km, is New Zealand's largest region
Christchurch is New Zealand’s oldest city and the centre of the country’s largest region, Canterbury - bordered in the west by the Southern Alps and the east by the Pacific Ocean, offering a vast array of outdoor nature and adventure experiences.