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πŸš— self-drive itinerary

πŸ›οΈ minimum 2 night stay recommended

🍽️ dining suggestions offered

πŸ“… visit any time of year


Travel the spectacular coastline of Banks Peninsula, the result of three ancient volcanoes and home to New Zealand's only French settlement. Arthurs Pass National Park straddles the Southern Alps. Methven is a popular base for winter sports up Mount Hutt and walks in summer.


Highlights can include:

  • journey around the picturesque bays of Banks Peninsula, home to seaside villages, boutique galleries, cafΓ©s and spectacular harbour wildlife πŸ“Έ
  • wander the historic streets and experience the French flare of the quaint streets of Akaroa Village with its colonial architecture, galleries, craft stores, and cafΓ©s πŸ“ΈπŸ‡«πŸ‡·
  • take in scenery of Arthur’s Pass National Park with its steep gorges and wide braided rivers enclosed by high mountains with large scree slopes, and walk to impressive Devils Punchbowl Falls πŸ‘ŸπŸ“ΈπŸ’§
  • skiers and snowboarders flock to Mount Hutt each winter for its progressive terrain parks and dedicated learning facilities - superb alpine scenery for walkers and hikers the rest of the year β„οΈβ›·οΈπŸ‚πŸ‘ŸπŸ“Έ
  • gain insight into the way of life in the unique geology and climate of rural Canterbury at the NZ Alpine + Agriculture Encounter 🚜
  • explore on horseback along river trails through valleys taking in spectacular mountain views and native forest with every turn with Rubicon Valley Horse Treks 🐴
  • stopover at Farmers Corner the largest souvenir shop in South Island and a perfect refreshment stop during any road trip πŸ›οΈ
  • the Okains Bay Maori + Colonial Museum is home to a vast collection of artefacts providing wonderful insight into the culture and life of the Maori people as well as beautifully preserved examples of early colonial life πŸ”Ž
  • brave the pitch dark interior of the outstanding natural limestone cave at Cave Stream Scenic Reserve which meanders and twists along almost 600 metres - caution: do not enter if it raining or rain is forecast! πŸ”¦
  • meet the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins and the expert dolphin-spotting dogs aboard Akaroa Dolphins all the while enjoying the awesome coastal scenery of Akaroa Harbour 🐬πŸ›₯️
  • experience a peaceful, birds eye view flight with Ballooning Canterbury and float by hot air balloon effortlessly high above the Canterbury Plains looking across to the mountain backdrop of the Southern Alps

  • combine the excitement of high speeds with breathtaking views of the glacial fed braided waters of the Rakaia River with an incredibly scenic jet boat adventure with Discovery JetRakaia Gorge
  • combine a 4WD scenic nature tour with the chance to see penguins up close and personal, followed by exploring a marine reserve on a sea kayak with Pohatu Penguins/Plunge 🐧
  • The Giant's House is surrounded by a whimsical mosaic sculpture garden that has to be seen to be believed - creator Josie Martin brings together her skills as a painter, sculptor, mixed media artist, horticulturist and traveller 🎨🏑
  • discover the fascination and excitement of freefall with Skydiving Kiwis and reach speeds of 200kph for almost a minute, before your parachute opens and take in the scenery before landing
  • the fascinating Washpen Falls Adventure Walk takes you through a volcanic canyon filled with native bush, birdlife and waterfalls πŸ‘Ÿ
  • fans of the longest running American sitcom, The Simpsons, will delight in the giant donut that stands proud in the town of Springfield 🍩
  • an easy walk takes you to fascinating extremely photogenic Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill Conservation Area, a hidden treasure featuring sculptures of stone and a refuge for unique plants πŸ‘ŸπŸ§—
  • walk to the top of impressive Mount Sunday for 360 degree views across high country and valleys, and if you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings, to witness the home of Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan people πŸ‘ŸπŸŽ₯
  • glide serenely around the beautiful shore-front of iconic Akaroa while experiencing the magic of NightSUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding after dark) with powerful custom-made L.E.D. lighting kits attached beneath the boards, allowing you to see all of the activity beneath the boards at night πŸŒŒ



πŸ“ # of Visitors4.5

🐚 Beaches4.0

🌦️ Chance of Rain2.5

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦ Family Fun4.5

πŸ›’ Shopping6.0

🍽️ Food + Wine 5.0

πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ LGBTQI+ friendly πŸ‘

Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0


πŸŽ₯video courtesy of Akaroa Dolphins | Harbour Nature Cruises on YouTube


Length of stay
  • Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.


    Day 1 : Arrive in Mid Canterbury

    Upon arrival into Mid Canterbury, by either road or by rail into Arthur's Pass train station, you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.


    Spend time discovering the hidden gems by detouring to Mount Sunday a favourite of nature lovers and The Lord of the Rings fans with its breathtaking isolated 360 degree view over mountains, rivers and valleys.  Or take the time to adventure through Rakaia Gorge on Discovery Jet.


    Day 2 : bienvenue en Nouvelle-ZΓ©lande

    Enjoy a taste of France in New Zealand's only French settlement, beautiful Akaroa on Banks Peninsula.  There's plenty to see here, but many choose to wander the picturesque streets and soak up the atmosphere.


    Akaroa Dolphins will take you out to see the world's smallest and rare Hector's dolphins, where you'll be joined by not only marine life and awesome harbour and coastal views, but also by dolphin-spotting-dogs specially trained to track down the dolphins with a 98% success rate!


    You'll also have the opportunity to get lost in the imaginative whimsical world of The Giant's House, an unexpected delight and well worth an hour of your time no matter who you are.


    We'll have you celebrating delicious New Zealand food and your last night in the Mid Canterbury region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.


    Day 3 : Depart Mid Canterbury

    This morning, keep your fingers crossed for the perfect early morning crisp still morning so you can join Ballooning Canterbury on an awesome hot air balloon experience high above the quiltwork of the Canterbury Plains, with views across to the snow peaks mountains. Alternatively, take the opportunity to get lost in giant natural boulders at Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill before taking the hour walk to the impressive mighty falls of the Devils Punchbowl in beautiful Arthur's Pass National Park. Or if you're reaching the end of your journey, you'll want to make time to take a break and a 'browse' at Farmers Corner, the largest souvenir shop in the South Island. Whatever direction you're going, we'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.