Canterbury, New Zealand: An Outdoor Playground

By now you may start to think that we have a thing for the outdoors… And you’re right. When it comes down to traveling and exploring, the more remote and wild the better. Coming across Canterbury, New Zealand was a bit of a surprise at first, since it is a scarcely populated part of the country often overshadow by more popular neighbors. However, we were stunned by its natural beauty when we discovered the island and its newest addition to our collection of properties- thePigeon Bay Retreat.

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Located in New Zealand’s South Island, which is the larger of the two major islands in the country, Canterbury stretches from ocean to the Alps, and is the land of plains and peaks. Bordered in the west by the snowcapped Southern Alps and in the east by Pacific ocean, grassy plains, sparkling lakes and snow-capped mountains make any view look like a postcard. Needless to say, Canterbury’s beauty alone is enough of a reason to trek that far, after all, lovers of the outdoors are know for traveling the corners of the earth looking for beauty and authenticity.

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To make it even better, Canterbury isn’t hugely popular among tourists. While most people flock to Christchurch, which is also worth seeing, Canterbury is more of a sanctuary for those looking to hike, mountain bike, watch wild life, and climb.

If you have a few days to spare on your trip, just over an hour north is Christchurch,  a vibrant city with a lively art scene, extensive botanic gardens and a playground for urban and outdoor adventure. A few hours west is Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and Tasman Glacier, the highest peak on the island.

To make the best of your time in New Zealand, be sure to explore the options below and book a stay at Pigeon Bay. You won’t regret it.

 

Hiking

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Canterbury is one of the best hiking destinations in the world for a reason. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more strenuous hike, there’s something for every energy level.  Canterbury is made up of many districts, so choose accordingly.

 

Christchurch 

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Following the 2010-2011 earthquakes, Christchurch re-emerged as a vibrant, ever-changing city. Explore its booming culinary scene, get around via tram or foot and be sure to check out the lush parks and gardens. Take a run or stroll around the vast green space of Hagley Park, or wander the blooms and foliage at The Botanic Gardens – New Zealand’s largest inner-city park.

 

Banks Peninsula 

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The Banks Peninsula area was once a very active volcanic island. The two main volcanic vents are now Akaroa and Lyttelton harbors. With a stunningly diverse track through pasture and forest  you can explore the remote outer bays of Banks Peninsula and its spectacular volcanic coastline, native bush, waterfalls and sandy beaches.  This is a must stop on the journey.

 

Rangitata River

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Rafting on the Rangitata River is for those seeking an extra layer of thrill. Why not just take the next step and explore the rapids? Surrounded by gorgeous nature and stunning landscape,  the Rangitata Gorge trip runs every day from October through May. Start at the base of the majestic Southern Alps and tackle some of the best white water rapids in New Zealand.

 

Mackenzie Basin

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Don’t miss star gazing in the Mackenzie Basin which has recently been designated the largest International Dark Sky Reserve in the world. If you have never heard of a dark sky reserve before, that’s because there aren’t many out there. Imagine yourself in a nationally protected area free from artificial lighting pollution? The sky will look like what you see above.

 

Pigeon Bay Retreat

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Located along the Banks Peninsula in the dramatic volcanic landscape of New Zealand’s South Island, this award winning home is nestled into a rocky escarpment in a sheltered cove with breathtaking views of the coast. Exquisitely composed with natural materials and innovative modern design principles, we love the feeling of calm sophistication and timeless beauty.  This retreat is the ultimate place to unwind after a day of adventure without taking you away from the landscape.

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