Canterbury (New Zealand)
Canterbury is a province on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The Canterbury Plains, as the province is also known, stretch from the Conway River in the north, just south of Kaikoura, to the great Waitaki River in the south, just north of Oamaru. The flat plains stretch from the Pacific Ocean in the east to Southern Alps in the west, broken only by the volcanic Banks Peninsula.
Cantebury can be broken up into smaller regions:
- Mid Canterbury
- Banks Peninsula
- The Mackenzie Country
- Hanmer - Hot Springs
- Twizel - and the Waitaki Power Project.
Canterbury was settled in the 1850's by colonists from England. The settlement was planned and developed by the Canterbury Company.
Christchurch International Airport, at Harewood, is possibly the best airport in New Zealand, and the gateway airport to the whole South Island.
State Highway 1 traverses the length of the Canterbury plains.
Public transport, such as buses and trains, is limited to the main routes between major centres.
To really get around Canterbury you really need a car to explore all of those out of the way places.
If you are really energetic, bicycling around is a practical proposition because the roads are relatively flat.
Roads around New Zealand are often very curvy, however, so it's advisable to allow much more time to travel distances than you would normally expect.
With much of the plains dedicated to farming, roadside stalls selling local produce can be seen in some places. However, similar quality produce is often available at similar prices in city supermarkets, so don't go out of your way and expect to get a bargain at the farm gate. More likely, you will find the unusual and rare produce at the farm gate, where it is grown in quantities too small to sell to a mass market.
Canterbury is not known as a wine-growing region, unlike other parts of the East Coast of New Zealand. There are a few specialists who exploit the unique climates and produce of their particular properties.
From Canterbury you can go:
- North to Marlborough, perhaps catching the Picton ferry to Wellington;
- South to Otago and Southland, where the popular tourist destinations are:
- West over the Southern Alps to the West Coast and explore Buller or Westland, moving on to Nelson in the north or
This page was last edited at 00:41, on 12 December 2008 by Ian Sergeant. Based on work by Stacy Hall, Peter Fitzgerald, Nick Roux, Ryan Holliday, David, Colin Jensen, Ian Kirk, Rob Payne, Niels Elgaard Larsen and Evan Prodromou, Wikitravel user(s) Shaund, Episteme, Huttite, Wiki-Ed and Hypatia, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.