About New Zealand

Bungy jumping at Hanmer Springs. © Hurunui Tourism

As well as many opportunites to play polo, there is plenty more to see and do while in New Zealand. The country is indeed a horseman’s paradise – there is racing all year round, equestrian sports such as dressage, showjumping and three-day-eventing abound, and there are 28 hunt clubs throughout the country.

Hunting began in the 1870s in New Zealand, only some 20 years after organised settlement began. Hunts were established around the country in the 1880s, and the sport has flourished since, with club memberships nationally now standing at about 4400.

The New Zealand hunting season begins around late March to early April – the southern hemisphere autumn.

You’ll find links at the bottom of this page to the attractions of our region, and New Zealand. The country attracts about two million tourists a year. Most come for the spectacular scenery, its unspoilt environment, its friendly people and laidback lifestyle.

New Zealand is a wine buff#39;s dream. © Hurunui Tourism

It is viewed internationally as a very safe destination and suffered little from the global downturn arising from the terrorist attacks of 2001.

First, let’s look north. The Alpine Pacific begins just 10 minutes by car from us. The winegrowing region of Waipara is fast gaining an international reputation for its wine. Here, you can relax over lunch or dinner in a vineyard restaurant and decide for yourself, but we’re certain you won’t be disappointed.

From here, you can press north up the east coast of the island, through one of the most spectacular environments you’re likely to see anywhere in the world, to the coastal town of Kaikoura.

The spectacular Kaikoura coastline

Kaikoura has won acclaim worldwide for its whale-watching operation. Off the coast is a deep trench where whales gather to feed during their migration. After just a few minutes aboard a powerful boat, you can be watching these majestic mammals at close hand.

From Kaikoura, you press inland through spectacular scenery to the alpine thermal resort of Hanmer Springs. This village, tucked at the foot of Mount Isobel, also has an international reputation for its thermal hot springs, where you can lounge in the hot pools to ease your aches and pains. The pools complex also has more tepid pools and water slides where children can keep themselves amused all day.

The hot pools at Hanmer Springs are popular night and day. © Hurunui Tourism

Hanmer Springs has plenty of restaurants to choose from for lunch and dinner. There are many other activities, from mini golf to walks through the local forest. Some of the walks are easy, others quite challenging. The choice is yours.

From Hanmer Springs, you complete the triangle by driving south-east back to the Waipara region – and just 10 minutes away.

The entire triangle comprises about 500km of well-surfaced road.

Looking south, the city of Christchurch offers so many attractions:

  • A fine museum
  • A breathtaking gondola ride
  • A wildlife park
  • The best Antarctic experience outside the continent itself!
  • Shops galore (including duty-free)
  • Great open markets
  • Hundreds of restaurants and bars
  • Live theatre most nights
  • Spectacular parks, garden, and architecture

Christchurch is often is called the most English city outside England.

You’ll quickly see why.

A city tram in Christchurch

It is deservedly called the Garden City because of the pride its residents take in their properties and the large number of parks and reserves dotted around the city.

This includes the magnificent Hagley Park, right on the edge of the central city, which is home to Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens, with many specimens more than a century old.

The city of nearly 400,000 people is served by an international airport and is the departure point for the TranzAlpine train, which takes you to the West Coast of the island.

Christchurch is nestled against Banks Peninsula, which provides the city with its harbour of Lyttelton. The Peninsula is also home to the beautiful settlement of Akaroa. Akaroa, which began life in the 1800s as a French settlement, is just two hours’ drive from the Waireka Polo. It remains proud of its French heritage and still boasts a strong French flavour. It is a unique slice of New Zealand history and is nestled in a spectacular natural harbour.

There is so much to see and do. We could continue forever, but it’s probably best for you explore further through the links below.

We are, of course, happy to offer whatever help we can to make your stay an enjoyable one. Simply ask.

Looking down to Akaroa

More information on our local area:

The Waimakariri District
The Hurunui District
Local Eye – Guide to Canterbury