The Eastern Plains

ctbryCanterbury is a region of wide alluvial plains in the Eastern Central South Island with the Southern Alps in the West, and The Pacific Ocean to the East. The regions gateway and largest city is Christchurch with Mount Cook and the regional cities of Ashburton and Timaru to the south. To the north, the Hurunui district with it's thermal resort and recreation activities is growing in popularity.

Canterbury is in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps and the climate is drier than many regions. The summers (November - March) can have daytime temperatures 20 - 30º with the evenings around 10º. In winter there are frosts and occasional snow on the plains, on the Alps there is heavy snow which can close roads for a few days and create ideal conditions for the many ski fields which operate from June - October.

To the West, North and South of Christchurch stretch the Canterbury Plains. This flat alluvial plain is cut by many braided rivers and is home to intensive agriculture, with sheep and cattle farming, cropping with many vineyards and orchards. Banks peninsula to the east of Christchurch is a region of volcanic hills and seaside bays.

To the west of Christchurch and an hours drive away are the Southern Alps a mountainous region extending the length of the South Island. There are many places to walk, fish, hunt and enjoy the many beautiful places. The Canterbury Region has more than 1000 km of tracks and 173 back country huts to help you explore its many special places. Formed tracks provide access to sites of special scenic, historic or cultural or spiritual significance, while unformed routes provide opportunities for exploring the back country and wilderness areas. The Canterbury region offers a wide variety of tracks and routes for all levels of experience, fitness and ability..

There are many small towns where you can stay and meet local people. As you drive about the district there are many roadside craft, produce stalls and markets in most towns, though most often on the weekends.


The Esplanade, Sumner

Canterbury, and especially the West Coast have many accessible 4WD tracks for the off road enthusiast. Some are suited for the more inexperienced driver, and some are just gut wrenching. These tracks can be negotiated with standard all terrain tyres, and with no noticeable vehicle damage except perhaps some minor brush marks from gorse and scrub. Not withstanding the above, each track depends on the conditions of the day, the drivers ability, his/her vehicles ability and many other factors such as the weather. If you have any doubt as to either yours or your vehicles ability then you are advised to seek advice, travel as part of an experienced group, enroll in a suitable off-road driving course.

Christchurch Earthquakes
The Canterbury region and Christchurch city was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Saturday September 4th 2010 followed by a more powerful earthquake in February 2011. The city was destroyed but and life is returning to a new normal, read more.


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