top of page

South Canterbury | The best things to see and do ๐Ÿ‘€ ๐Ÿ‘

As diverse and varied as its landscape are the people of South Canterbury, and what an awesome lifestyle they lead. From New Zealand's highest mountain Aoraki Mount Cook to the gentle surf found in Caroline Bay there's plenty to keep you enthralled. To give you a taste of what to expect from your visit to Hawkes Bay, here's an overview of great itinerary ideas I've collated for you.


Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is a land of ice and rock. Glaciers cover 40% of its area and there are 19 peaks over 3,000 metres. Snow topped mountains, turquoise blue lakes and tussock covered hills will have you enthralled when you visit this part of New Zealand.

Highlights can include:

  • Mount Cook Glacier Guides offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to heli-hike, snowshoe or ice climb through the spectacular Tasman Glacier ๐Ÿ”๏ธโ„๏ธ

  • Tasman Valley 4WD Tours provide a unique adventure with close up views of the Tasman Glacier and its gigantic moraine walls

  • feed, pet, cuddle and photography hand-raised orphan wallabies at EnkleDooVery Korna ๐Ÿ‘ช๐Ÿพ

  • feel the thrill on a rafting adventure with Rangitata Rafts a white water rafting trip that allows plenty of time on the water amongst incredible Lord of the Rings scenery ๐Ÿ›ถ๐Ÿ”๏ธ

  • set amongst the natural beauty of the lake and the mountains, the Church of the Good Shepherd entrances visitors, while the nearby Sheep Dog Statue is a tribute to the some of the hardest working of the first settlers to the region โ›ช

  • Lake Pukaki is an iconic glacier fed alpine lake with shimmering blue water that is sure to mesmerise ๐Ÿ“ธ

  • since 1931 Temuka Pottery has developed and evolved into a Kiwi favourite, created with clean designs and bright colourful glazes - a joy to the eyes, and a great top for coffee and food

  • experience the freshest salmon in New Zealand at High Country Salmon where you can feed the fish, or just enjoy a scenic cafe stopover on your travels ๐ŸŽฃ

  • Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is a rugged land of ice and rock, with 19 peaks over 3000 metres including New Zealand's highest mountain ๐Ÿž๏ธ

  • take in Kea Point Walk which is one of the easiest trails you can do that offers mountain and lake views, or for the more adventurous hike up the Hooker Valley Track past alpine streams and glaciers in the shadow of Aoraki/Mount Cook ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ

  • cruise between icebergs of every shape and size and view the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake with Glacier Explorers while taking in spectacular mountain views and scenery ๐Ÿšค

  • with its boardwalk, piazza and views to the mountains, attractive Caroline Bay Beach is a popular swimming beach and great place to reflect or spend recreational time ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ‘ช

  • picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo and hidden gem Lake Alexandrina are part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing ๐Ÿ“ธ

  • those wanting to learn more about movie making will discover classic film locations from The Lord of the Rings trilogy with OneRing Tours - plenty of Tolkienist fan fun! ๐ŸŽฅ

  • immerse yourself in history and culture while exploring the ancient Te Ana Maori Rock Art sites, the original art galleries of Aotearoa ๐ŸŽจ

  • perfect for taking in the lake, mountain and forest views Tekapo Springs hot pools provide the perfect place to sit back, soak and relax, with a day spa, skating rink and tube park in winter, and cooler pools and a waterslide in the height of summer โ™จ๏ธโ›ธ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ช

  • grab a window seat on an Air Safaris scenic flight and take in the "Grand Traverse" - a magnificent flight that encompasses two World Heritage National Park and breathtaking scenery ๐Ÿ”๏ธ๐Ÿ›ฉ๏ธ

  • Mount John Obsservatory is a window to the universe - discover the wonders of the Southern skies through powerful telescopes with Earth & Sky ๐ŸŒŒ๐Ÿ”ญ

  • Mackenzie Gateway Tours provide a handful of different farm experiences including a high country sheep station, free range chicken farm, witness dairy cows being milked and feed alpaca ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŒพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ„๐Ÿฆ™

SOUTH CANTERBURY AT A GLANCE ๐Ÿ›๏ธ minimum 2 night stay recommended ๐Ÿ“… visit any time of year

๐Ÿ“ย 5 out of 10 visitors include South Canterbury in their New Zealand itinerary

๐ŸŒฆ๏ธ there is a chance of rain 2.5 days each week on average each year

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ Family fun scores well here with plenty to keep children entertained ๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Food + Wineย experiences in this region were sometimes mentioned as a highlight ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ LGBTQI+ friendly ๐Ÿ‘

This part of New Zealand is home to:

Largest cities: Timaru

Other popular places: Aoraki/Mount Cook, Twizel, Geraldine, Fairlie, Temuka, Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Waimate, Pleasant Point, Peel Forest, St Andrews, Cave, Winchester and more...

Accessible by:

๐Ÿš— self-drive on a road trip

โœˆ๏ธ board a plane to land at Timaru Airport (TIU)

๐ŸšŒ take a bus from Christchurch City, Oamaru, Dunedin, Central Otago or Queenstown

Be adventurous. Be spontaneous. Embrace the unknown.

Let us plan your getaway. The catch?

Your destination is a surprise.

Book A Surprise Kiwi Adventure today and you might just end up in South Canterbury - it's Time 2 Go!


Explore Aotearoa New Zealand

Great Kiwi Trips provide the best of each region in bite-sized travel packages

Combine several trips together to create the ultimate experience!

bottom of page