Germany U-20s enjoy time out in Canterbury

Nothing says getting away from it and letting loose quite like jet boating - the best time out for Germany's FIFA U-20 football team in New Zealand.

After qualifying for the knockout stages of the FIFA U-20 World Cup undefeated it was time for some rest and relaxation for team Germany. 

Making the easy one hour drive west of Christchurch, the team’s first stop for the day was the rugged Rakaia Gorge for an action packed trip up the river with Discovery Jet on a jet boat tour.

The weather was perfect as the team boarded their boat ready for a fast-paced tour of the intricate waterways. The players were in awe of the skilful driver who weaved his way through each twist and turn over the blue waters rich with salmon and trout.

The backdrop provided by the snow-capped Southern Alps added to the drama as the boat made perfectly executed 360-degree spins - blurring the magnificent scenery before their eyes.

“I can see that the guys had fun,” said German coach Frank Wormuth. “Great fun, laughing all the time, talking to each other and hugging each other all the time so it is a great situation for the guys to have fun on the boat. They really enjoyed it.”

Spending time together off the football pitch and doing activities as a team is crucial, Wormuth says.

“We do something together, we have fun, we can communicate better to each other in other cases – so the main thing is the team building and fun outside of football.”

With feet back on dry land, the German side took a short 15-minute drive to the Terrace Downs Resort ready to get their eyes in for some clay bird shooting, archery and golf.

Named after the terraces leading down to the Rakaia River, the Terrace Downs Resort is a world-class facility at the foothills of the Southern Alps. The pristine grounds were the perfect setting for the boys to see if their pinpoint accuracy with the boot translated to the target range.

Finally the day was rounded out on Terrace Down’s 18-hole championship golf course. The towering Mt Hutt looked on as the players practised their golf swings and putting strokes on the resort’s manicured greens and driving range facilities.

“We have enjoyed every minute here in New Zealand and the highlight – today is the highlight with the speed boat riding,” says Captain Kevin Akpoguma. “You see the view of New Zealand. The beautiful things - the mountains and the blue rivers – it is very cool.”

Background: Discovery Jet, Rakaia Gorge

Taking a thrilling Discovery Jet boat spin down the braided glacier fed Rakaia River and through the spectacular Rakaia Gorge is a classic New Zealand adventure experience.

The 30-minute ride on the Discovery Jet follows an intricate network of shallow braided river channels, skimming along stony banks, across opalescent blue waters, and down the twists and turns of the dramatic river gorge. Against this bold alpine landscape comes the excitement of carefully calculated high speed thrills and gasp-inducing 360-degree turns.

The jet boat was invented in New Zealand for this very landscape, initially as a means of transport for farmers to access their herds in the upper alpine river valleys. Before long the jet boat’s speed, agility and shallow water capability inspired thrilling tourism expeditions into spectacular countryside.

Background: Canterbury high country

Canterbury’s high country is a vast inland expanse of river plains, steep hills and high mountains. Year-round this spectacular adventure playground sets the scene for outdoor activities ranging from gentle walks, to serious hiking and mountain climbing, jet-boating thrills, fishing, hunting, ski and heli adventures.

Methven - an easy 60-minute drive from Christchurch International Airport - is Canterbury’s main snow resort, which services Mt Hutt ski area and six other ski fields, as well as 1000sq km of heli-skiing terrain. Mt Hutt is known for its consistent snow and has the longest season of the major commercial ski areas in New Zealand.

In winter, Methven’s cafés and accommodations buzz with skiers, snowboarders and the après-ski set, but it’s also a year-round base for other seasonal activities such as walking, golf, hot air ballooning, scenic flights, rafting, skydiving, 4WD, horse trekking, and fishing.

Thrill seekers can take a jet boat spin through the Rakaia Gorge, or go rafting on the Rangitata River while others choose a quieter activity - a spot of fly fishing for salmon and trout.

On the northern banks of the Rakaia, Terrace Downs is one of New Zealand’s top international golf resorts. The resort includes a variety of accommodation, dining and spa activities.

Background: Terrace Downs Resort

Set in the foothills of the Southern Alps, Terrace Downs Resort is a truly unique golfing experience. 

Only an hour away by road from Christchurch, the par 72, 18 hole championship golf course is rated one of New Zealand’s best. Awe-inspiring views of the Rakaia Gorge coupled with incredible mountain vistas create a golf experience like no other. 

Terrace Downs offers a mixture of Parklands and Links style golf with the underlying philosophy of the course development assuring its integration into the natural environment. With 11 lakes, over 60 bunkers and a choice of four tees, golfers of all abilities are catered for from beginners to seasoned professionals.

The Terrace Downs resort provides two luxury accommodation options including villa suites overlooking the 18th fairway with spectacular views of Mt Hutt. Chalets are available for bigger groups with indoor-outdoor living and stunning views of the golf course.

But it's not just for golfers, as clay bird shooting, archery, horse riding, hunting, fishing and skiing are all on offer.  There's an opportunity to pamper as well at the on-site spa where the experience is designed to relax and rejuvenate mind, body and soul.

The Café at Terrace Downs is open to in-house guests and travellers alike for beautiful breakfasts and lunches, while Hunter’s Restaurant serves dinner and boasts a flavoursome menu that draws its inspiration from the surrounding environment. Sweeping views of spectacular mountain scenery make it the perfect place to enjoy a meal.

Terrace Downs Resort is an amazing property providing a unique one-stop New Zealand golfing and leisure destination.