South Canterbury

South Canterbury

Synonymous with some of the most stunning landscapes in Aotearoa, South Canterbury is known as the home of Aoraki, the tallest mountain in the country; picturesque rolling hills, vast grassy plains and bright turquoise lakes. It’s also where you’ll find a number of idyllic small towns filled with interesting boutiques, galleries and a growing number of class eateries.

Naturally bound by the snow-capped ridge of the Southern Alps in the West, the Pacific Ocean in the East and the Waitaki and Rangitata rivers in the South and North, South Canterbury is proudly home to picturesque scenery and hard-working rural communities. The region is dotted with small towns perfect for day trips or as bases for a huge number of outdoor activities.

The largest town of the region, Timaru, sits right on the shore of the East Coast and is filled with historical buildings, top-quality restaurants, fashion outlets, cute boutiques and intriguing galleries. Caroline Bay, with its sweeping parks and sandy beach right in the town center, offers a retreat away from the hustle and bustle.

Just a quick drive inland, you’ll find the cute small town of Geraldine, which is nestled amongst the undulating foothills of the Southern Alps. A hub of creatives, makers and producers, you’ll be able to taste and explore your way around town easily on foot.

Further South, Fairlie is known as a midwinter ski-town, yet it’s just as charming other times of the year. Filled with quality boutiques and home to the famous Fairlie Bakehouse pies, this town is a true South Canterbury gem.

Famous for clear night skies and a world-renowned observatory, a spectacular, turquoise, glimmering lake and the historical Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo is a small settlement filled with activities and wonderful hospitality. It is the ideal base for both winter and summer outdoor activities, plus the most visually appealing place to retreat to afterwards.

Last but not least, the Southernmost town of the region, Twizel, is continuously growing with interesting new hospitality spots and all the services you need to make the most of the Aoraki National Park, which lies just a stone's throw away.

The view of Lake Tekapo from above.