Christchurch & Canterbury

Christchurch and the Canterbury region is often visitors’ first port of call on the way to Wānaka. And it’s definitely worth exploring before you head south.

New Zealand’s second largest city and the gateway to the South Island, Christchurch lies at the centre of a diverse landscape of mountains, beaches, vineyards, native forest and extraordinary plains and vast braided rivers.

Recently ranked No.2 on the New York Time’s Places to Visit in 2015, Christchurch is an ever-evolving city in the midst of a unique and exciting season of change. Rebuilding from the ground up after the 2011 earthquakes, Christchurch is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Creating a future city environment with an emphasis on sustainability and the importance of natural spaces, it is a city on the verge of being one of the most innovative in the world.

From the magnificent Southern Alps to the mighty Pacific Ocean, Canterbury has it all. Ski, surf, whale watch, hot air balloon, golf, jetboat, rafting, bungy jump – there’s plenty to do in the region. Punt the Avon River, visit the Botanic Gardens, Hagley Park and the Canterbury Museum – some of New Zealand’s best public spaces, or shop till your heart’s content at some of the fabulous new shopping centres such as The Tannery in Woolston – a metropolitan haven of sophistication, inspiration and bohemian charm.

Winter brings skiers and snowboarders to the stunning slopes of Mt Hutt Ski Resort. Popular with locals and visitors, the mountain is located in the majestic Southern Alps and is an hour’s gorgeous scenic drive from Christchurch. Also in the Alps are the smaller boutique ski fields of Porters Pass, Broken River and Hanmer Springs.

Visit the official Christchurch & Canterbury website

Hanmer Springs

And if it’s relaxation you’re after, Hanmer Springs is renowned for its hot pools and restorative wellness and spa centre. A lushly quaint alpine village Hanmer Springs is just one of the enticing hamlets within easy reach of Christchurch.

Akaroa & Banks Peninsula

Banks Peninsula on the Canterbury coast is a dramatic headland of dazzling views and picturesque artisan communities. A land of azure bays and golden beaches, and sweeping cliffs, hills and harbours, Banks Peninsula is a marine utopia teeming with wildlife. Swim with the rarest and smallest Hector’s Dolphin, visit Flea Bay and the largest Little Blue Penguin colony, take a fishing trip or go bird watching – the wildlife on the peninsula is bounteous!

As is the food and wine! The main village of Akaroa boasts a thriving café culture and is bustling with epicurean artisans. Alongside the passionate artists, gardeners and creative spirits, the lovers of peace and decadence find their own personal paradise on Banks Peninsula.


Following the November 2016 earthquake in Kaikoura please check with your travel agent or one of the regional i-Site Information Centres regarding the latest conditions and updates.

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Driving to Wanaka Explore the Region

Driving to Wānaka

Driving on the South Island roads of New Zealand is a great way to experience the region, with relatively quiet roads and some of the most amazing scenery right outside the window.

Major car and campervan hire companies are all located at Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown airports. There are also a number of rental car companies based in Wānaka.

How to get to Wānaka

Explore the Region

Wānaka is unique and captivating; it inspires you to discover, and gives you the freedom to explore.

Located in the stunning alps of the South Island, New Zealand, visitors from around the world are drawn to the Wānaka region by its outstanding beauty.

Explore Wānaka

  1. Mount Aspiring
    National Park
    54 min
  2. Christchurch 5 h 14 min
  3. Ashburton 3 h 56 min
  4. Geraldine 3 h 19 min
  5. Tekapo 2 h 17 min
  6. Mt Cook 2 h 6 min
  7. Twizel 1 h 39 min
  8. Omarama 1 h 21 min
  9. Franz Josef 3 h 32 min
  10. Fox Glacier 3 h 6 min
  11. Haast 1 h 43 min
  12. Cromwell 39 min
  13. Queenstown 1 h 4 min
  14. Milford Sound 4 h 34 min
  15. Te Anau 2 h 52 min
  16. Dunedin 2 h 52 min
  1. Mount Aspiring
    National Park
    54 min
  2. Coronet Peak
  3. The Remarkables
  4. Cardrona
  5. Treble Cone
  6. Snow Farm
  7. Heli Skiing
  8. Heli Skiing
  9. Makarora 50 min
  10. Lake Hawea 1 h 7 min
  11. Wanaka Airport 11 min
  12. Luggate 13 min
  13. Tarras 27 min
  14. Cromwell 39 min
  15. Arrowtown 53 min
  16. Queenstown 1 h 4 min
  17. Queenstown Airport 59 min
  18. Matukituki Valley 51 min
  19. Raspberry Creek 1 h 6 min

Flights to Wānaka

Getting to Wānaka is easy - click on your city to see how close you are to Wānaka. It’s a short, scenic 60-minute drive to Wānaka from the closest international airport, where you will find all major rental car companies and scheduled bus services that provide transport to Wānaka throughout the day.

How to get to Wanaka