Canterbury, the region that surrounds Christchurch and encapsulates the gorgeous Mackenzie Basin, is a region that is best explored by car. Start from Christchurch airport and head south to take in leading ski areas, hot springs, and scenic wonders, both on land and in the sky.
Arrive in Christchurch
You'll fly over the Southern Alps and descend into Christchurch. Look out the window and you may even see skiers on the slopes at Mt Hutt!
Arrive at Christchurch International Airport and greeted by your private guide who will give you flexibility as you travel around Canterbury.
Spend the rest of the day in Christchurch. Check out the new Cardboard Cathedral, the Pop-up Mall, gently glide down the Avon on a punt, or ride the tram. This evening enjoy some of the quirky dining establishments in suburbs such as Addington, Sydenham and Merivale.
Porters Ski Area
Up early today for a day of skiing at Porters, which is only 1 hour from Christchurch city. With magical views overlooking Lake Coleridge, and nestled in the heart of the high country, enjoy the snow and local hospitality. Head down from Porters and drive through the high country to Methven township.
Mt Hutt Ski Area
You can’t miss Mt Hutt this morning, standing proudly over Methven at an elevation of 2086 metres. Head up to the slopes for a day exploring the wide open basin.
Grab some lunch at Huber’s Hutt or the Sky High Café before heading out to go for another zoom around the slopes. Mt Hutt and Methven warmly welcome families and there are some great kids’ free deals on the slopes, in accommodation, dining and transport – all with a paying adult.
In winter, Methven is a snow sport town. In every other season, it's a place to launch yourself into all kinds of outdoor adventure activities.
Mount Cook Mackenzie Region
Drive south towards the expansive wilderness of the Mackenzie region. This area is most famous for being the home of Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. High though she may be, there is no skiing on Aoraki Mount Cook; but you’ve three boutique ski areas in the region: Ohau, Roundhill and Mt Dobson, plus glacier skiing with Ski the Tasman.
But today there is no rush. Amble through country towns like Geraldine and Fairlie before arriving in the settlement of Tekapo on the edge of glacial-blue Lake Tekapo. On arrival check out the scenic fixed wing plane or helicopter flight options which provide the perfect way to see the magnificent scenery from above.
This afternoon take a soak in a hot pool, go skating, ride the tube park or simply relax with a massage at Tekapo Springs. Be sure to visit the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd on the lakefront.
Roundhill Ski Area
Head to Roundhill ski field today, just a 30 minute drive around the eastern side of Tekapo to the ski field access road. Roundhill has a massive beginner’s area as well as some wide, perfectly groomed intermediate runs.
There is also a great park for freestylers with jumps, rollers, rails, boxes. For the more adventurous, head up the world’s longest and steepest rope tow and see what Australasia’s biggest vertical drop is all about!
The Mackenzie region, with its distance from city light ‘pollution‘, is the perfect place to go stargazing. Over 4300 square kilometres of sky over Tekapo, Aoraki Mount Cook and Twizel is officially known as the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Nearby to Tekapo the Mount John Observatory gives you the opportunity to explore this magical night sky.
Mt Dobson Ski Area
After checking out of your accommodation, drive to Mt Dobson ski field, located to the north of Tekapo, en-route to Fairlie. Ski and ride on natural dry powder snow. There's a huge learners’ area for those just starting out, and open uncrowded runs for everyone to enjoy.
Mt Dobson provides a great balance of groomed trails and off-piste for the more adventurous, with a large area of developed trails as well as miles of fresh untracked snow. The field provides everything you need for the day including ski clothing and equipment rental, ski school and cafe.
Drive from Mt Dobson directly to Christchurch for the night.
It's time to depart from Christchurch and head home.
If you've got a little time to spare, you might like to to take a day trip out to the French colonial settlement of Akaroa, just one hour away. The drive is beautifully scenic, and the town is known for its excellent French cuisine, cute cottages, and for being home to the world's smallest Dolphin, the Hector's.