Welcome to South Canterbury


The Mackenzie Basin is a wild, tussock-strewn bowl at the foot of the Southern Alps, carved out by ancient glaciers. It takes its name from the legendary James ‘Jock’ McKenzie, who ran his stolen flocks in this then-uninhabited region in the 1840s.

Director Sir Peter Jackson made the most of this rugged and untamed landscape while filming the Lord of the Rings, choosing Mt Cook Village as the setting for Minas Tirith and a sheep station near Twizel as Gondor's Pelennor Fields.


Top experiences in South Canterbury

Travel guides

Starting at $36.39

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South Canterbury activities

$54.46 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Half-Day Self-Guided Ride and Wine Bike Tour from Arrowtown

Your tour begins when you arrive for the 9.30am briefing at Arrowtown Bike Hire After a comprehensive briefing on the mornings activities, the trail and your bike you set off on a self guided bike ride along the spectacular Arrow River Bridges Trail under a canopy of beautiful Willow trees. Following this fantastic cycle trail you will meander beside two rivers, cross purpose built suspension bridges, pass historic cottages, bike through scenic open farmland with stunning mountain views, and view breathtaking canyons before arriving at the historic Kawarau Bridge built in 1880. The Kawarau Bridge is home to the famous AJ Hackett Bungy. Take time to watch the bungy jumpers as they leap into thin air. From here you will ride another 2 kilometres to Gibbston Valley Winery where you will join a wine expert and have a tour of their wine cave while sampling some of their fantastic local wines.   Transport at 1.30pm will then be provided back to the Arrowtown Bike Hire base after completion your wine tour. Trip Break down : 1.5 hours actual riding time. 1.5 Hours Sightseeing time. 30 min wine tour. Don’t panic if you run out of puff during your ride, we will discuss pickup locations should you need our Riders Rescue Shuttle! Ride distance from 14 kilometers. Journey time to vineyard approximately 2 hours. Our bikes are designed so riders of all skill levels can enjoy an adventure in the great outdoors. Adult, youth and 24" bikes have light alloy frames to create the perfect platform for riders to enjoy a scenic ride. A range of sizes ensure  your ride to be a relaxed and comfortable day out.

$93.07 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Marlborough Sounds Greenshell Mussel Tasting Cruise from Havelock

Check in at MV Spirit, Havelock Marina - Pier C at 1.15pm. Havelock is a small seaport township on State Highway 6, the main road between Blenheim and Nelson, about a 30min drive from Blenheim. Havelock is the gateway to the Pelorus Sound and Kenepuru Sound, two of the main sounds that make up the Marlborough Sounds. Cruise aboard MV Spirit, a 14m catamaran, through the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, visit a mussel farm, sample freshly steamed mussels paired with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy tour guide narration by the skipper. Possible sightings of penguins, dolphins and seals.As part of the Marlborough Sounds cruise we serve freshly-steamed Greenshell mussels with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. There is also a licensed bar facility on board which has a good range of Marlborough wines, along with beers, juice, bottled water. You can also purchase a range of light food items including chips and peanuts. EFTPOS, Visa and Mastercard can be used onboard. The launch has a range of indoor and outdoor areas for your comfort and for viewing the beautiful Marlborough Sounds scenery.

$51.71 Cultural & Theme Tours

Kaikoura Express return from Christchurch

Kaikoura Express departs Christchurch daily at 8.30am.  Departure point is from outside Canterbury Museum in Rolleston Avenue.  Central city pick-ups are also available as follows:7.50am - Bealey Avenue (across the road from All Stars Inn7.52am - 154 Bealey Avenue8.00am - Novotel Hotel, Cathedral Square8.15am - Bus Interchange, Lichfield StreetTravel to Kaikoura takes approximately 3 hours. The service returns from Kaikoura at 4.30pm.  Departure point is Kaikoura i-Site and Dolphin Encounter, 96 Esplanade, KaikouraKaikoura Express offers point of interest facts en route, and a photo stop with the seals.  Our super relaxed, professional and friendly staff will make sure you have a great trip away!

$134.44 Water Sports

Day Safari Sea Kayaking Trip from Te Anau

Departs Te Anau: Return transport from Te Anau + Sunriser Classic (10km. 3-3.5 hours paddling.) One of the most awesome and often overlooked features of Milford Sound is the journey to get here. The Milford road passes through some of New Zealand's most stunning and unspoiled mountain scenery. Start your day with a scenic minibus journey along the magnificent Milford Road with our guide showing you the best spots, while you sit back and relax. We'll even pick you up from your accommodation! Once in Milford, you join the Sunriser Classic. Our most popular adventure in summer and winter, this trip takes you on a big loop of Milford Sound, meaning you get to take in all the highlights! With opportunities to spot wildlife and photograph waterfalls, this is an adventure not to be missed.IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?The Day Safari will suit you if: • You'd like to sit back & enjoy the views while someone does the driving for you. • You're excited to paddle the fiord but don't want to miss anything on the way! Visit our website for more trip information: www.roscosmilfordkayaks.com/Our-Adventures/

$20.68 Sightseeing Tickets & Passes

General Admission to Bill Richardson Transport World

Visit: Bill Richardson Transport WorldBill Richardson Transport World is a 15,000sqm building and takes approximately two hours to view (enthusiasts will need an entire day!). During the Winter months we recommend that you bring your jacket as it can get quite chilly within the collection. Your ticket is a day long pass. You are more than welcome to come and go as you please throughout the day, please ask for a wristband from the gift shop. 'The Grille' is our sumptuous onsite café. Guests can expect nothing less than a superb, fresh and ever changing menu. Bookings can be made via +64 (0)3 217 1202.

$137.19 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Waiatoto River Safari

Arrive at Waiatoto River Safari base for check-in 30 minutes prior to departure of your chosen tour. You will be briefed on what to wear and warm jackets and boots are available, at no charge, for you to take on the boat at this point.Drive approximately 5 miles (8km) down Jackson Bay road to meet your Captain and the boat. He will provide a life jacket and you will board the boat and receive a safety brief. Commentary begins as you start your cruise up the river. The format of the tour is explained and the journey up the river takes about an hour with several commentary stops and photo opportunity stops.After a very varied scenic journey to the top of the river you have the option to disembark and view the river and take a walk into the rain forest to view different ancient forest trees, touch ferns and listen to the birds. Total time at this stop is about 25 minutes to take in the atmosphere. The forest walk is completely optional.Once on the boat, the tour takes a 20 minute non-stop faster run back down the river to the river mouth to look at the Tasman sea and sea birds. Then the boat travels up a side tributary which has completely different scenery, as it is a separate river, with much bird and fish life. Bird spotting such as the white heron and fantails happen here, along with fish spotting for flounder, whitebait and trout.Guests are offered the option of hamilton turns, which are the high speed 360 jet boat turn. Guests that would like these, stay on the boat and 2 turns are done and then the boat parks for disembarkment. Those who do not require these disembark before the turns are completed.Suggestions are then offered about what there is to do and and see further down Jackson road which is the most southern end of the road on the west coast, ending approximately 13miles south.

South Canterbury in detail