The North Canterbury region is bordered in the north by the Conway River which is about 30km south of the Kaikoura Peninsula, and the region goes as far south as the Waimakariri River. To the west are the Southern Alps, and about 100 km of the Pacific Ocean coastline make the eastern boundary. The Waimakariri and Hurunui Districts are to be found in this part of the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand.
North Canterbury has a population of about 50,000 people, most live south of the Ashley river, closer to Christchurch. North Canterbury has very fertile soils, a temperate climate and plenty of water. Inland The Southern Alps dominate the landscape and climate. The Lewis Pass, at 907 metres, provides a corridor for trade and tourism to the West Coast, it offers spectacular scenery, and is especially nice to see in spring when the Kowhai trees, that grow beside the rivers, are in full bloom. The region also hosts two great national parks in the Lake Somner Forest Park and The Hanmer Forest Park. North Canterbury has long sandy uncrowned beaches, picturesque estuaries, remote lakes, braided rivers and gorges which offer a wide range of activities for everyone.
With more than a million hectares in North Canterbury, there is a lot of room for plenty of adventure, from excellent surfing, boating, rafting, whale watching, swimming with the dolphins, jet boat rides, river rafting and fishing in the lakes, rivers and ocean. You can also enjoy the coastal walkways, shady forest tracks and hike or mountain bike over mountain passes. For more adventure go bungy jumping, enjoy helicopter flights, go quad bike riding or saddle up for a horse trek. Tee off on one of the many picturesque country golf courses, average price is $15nzd per round. Mt Lyford and Hanmer Springs both offer skiing and snowboarding facilities.
At the end of each day you can savour local award winning wines and cuisine on the wine trails or in the cafes and restaurants, then soak in the regions thermal hot springs. Hanmer Springs alpine spa village is nestled amongst the forests, hills and mountains of the Southern Alps. Voted the Best Visitor Attraction at the 2004 and 2006 New Zealand Tourism Awards, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa is the natural place to unwind after enjoying all that North Canterbury has to offer.
Be sure to check out the country gardens. Uncover the fascinating history and heritage of this impressive region, visit the districts local museums and view displays of the early pioneering period.
The region of North Canterbury has a superb range of accommodation to suit all tastes, from budget options to five star, there is something here for everyone. A great way to explore this region is with the comfort of a campervan, staying at camping grounds.
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