A Guide to Relaxing in New Zealand's Christchurch Region
Take a step back and enjoy the South Island's peaceful surrounds.
People in New Zealand's South Island are generally an active bunch. There is so much adventuring to do that your visit to the Christchurch region will most likely be packed with hikes, fishing trips, seal swims and mountain biking trips. After all of that, you're going to want to wind down, soothe your nerves and relax a little.
Luckily the Christchurch region has just as much to offer to those who want to take life a little slower, and enjoy the creature comforts. Whether you're soaking in the warmth of the region's natural hot springs, glamping in luxurious nature at Lavericks Bay or sampling a couple of cheeky vinos at Black Estate, it's easy to kick back and relax in Christchurch. We've shouldered the heavy burden and picked five of the region's most relaxing activities — so you can take it easy.
RIDE THE SCENIC TRANZALPINE TRAIN
If you're looking to relax and explore at the same time, board the TranzAlpine train at Christchurch and wind your way through towering beech forests, over the Southern Alps and across the sweeping Canterbury Plains. You'll feel at ease in the comfort of the on-board cafe and cabins which are fitted with wide wall and ceiling windows, through which you can enjoy the views of majestic snow-capped mountains. Take the day trip returning from picturesque Arthur's Pass to Christchurch, or ride the whole way and several hours later you'll arrive at unspoiled Greymouth on New Zealand's West Coast, the ideal base from which to explore the world-renowned Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, or perhaps hide away and relax somewhere beautiful and isolated.
TASTE TEST LOCAL WINE AT BLACK ESTATE
Black Estate has rustic, locally-sourced food, wine made on-site and good times guaranteed, all in a picturesque vineyard setting. Less than an hour drive from Christchurch's city centre, you'll know you've arrived when you see Black Estate's minimalist, black barn cellar door. It's set at the foot of a burnt orange hill covered in dry grass and bordered by acres of lush vines. All wine is made on-site by a fella named Nicholas, who believes in simple winemaking using organic locally sourced ingredients free of unnecessary additives. Nicholas's wife Penelope takes care of the business and restaurant, where they serve rustic country cuisine like Canter Valley duck and organic greens, or Akaroa salmon caught just down the road. Pop in, stay a while and indulge in the best cuisine, wine and hospitality that the Canterbury region has to offer.
WARM UP AT THE HANMER SPRINGS THERMAL POOLS
A quick 90-minute drive from Christchurch you'll find Hanmer, a small alpine town rich with character. This little region is like the setting of an adventure film, with old Victorian cottages set against a backdrop of rugged mountains and towering pine trees. The town's main attraction is Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa — the ultimate in slow paced, remote relaxation. Dip your tired body into naturally heated water and soothing rock pools, or perhaps treat yourself to a day of pampering at the premium on-site spa.
SPEND THE NIGHT IN A PRIVATE GLASSHOUSE
If you fancy spending a night stargazing and surrounded by nature in your own private glasshouse, then the completely isolated, sustainable PurePods that are scattered around New Zealand are perfect for you. Each PurePod has walls, a floor and ceiling made of heavy-duty glass, so you can see everything from the stars above you to the nature beneath your feet. The PurePod in Pōhue, above Port Levy on Banks Peninsula, (just over an hour out of Christchurch), is a 20-minute walk from the carpark, so you're sure to get some peace and quiet for a night. Food packages can be ordered when you book, so you won't need to leave for a whole 24 hours — you'll only need to sit back and immerse yourself in the 360-degree views of the beautiful New Zealand landscape.
CANOPY CAMP IN LAVERICKS BAY
Under the clean white folds of a spacious tent, look out over the lush farmland and rolling waves of Lavericks Bay. This is glamping how it should be, with your own private black sand cove to relax in that's only an hour and 40 minute drive from Christchurch. Bathe and sunbathe at the same time in the outdoor bath on the campsite, or relax with a book on your own private deck. There are exposed rockpools at low tide and the appearance of Hector's dolphins and seals is not uncommon around your 'campsite'.
Top image: Black Estate.
Published on April 20, 2021 by Ben Tutty