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What to See?
Punter on the Avon takes you for a ride over the serene Avon in a quaint Edwardian punter. Speaking of time, do visit the On Time Cavendish and Old Timers Clock Museum. With over 100 models, some over 100 years old, you can lose track of time. The Air Force Museum displays war machines from another time. And back to Earth, the Alpine Agriculture Encounter tells you stories of nature, people and the development of agriculture and snow sports. Snow, penguins and adventure rides in a genuine Antarctic all terrain vehicle is what the International Arctic Centre is all about. For those seeking food for thought, eyes, and stomach, the Fo Guang Yuan temple, art gallery, and café will be an answer to prayers.
Trees for Travelers sells you an unusual thing: a greener future. You can offset your carbon footprint and mark a day or occasion by planting a native tree in Kaikoura. Great idea! Another one is shopping at Untouched World, where fashion and designs do not hurt the world. Tin Shed stocks fine New Zealand merino and merino-possum wool garments. And at the beads and trinkets paradise, named Beadz Unlimited, you can buy bead jewellery or make your own! Shopping, people watching and food all in one place? Has to be Merivale Mall. Talking of food, the shelves at Barry’s Bay Cheese creak with award-winning cheeses.
Where to Eat and Stay?
At Vangioni’s Trattoria and Bar, home-grown herbs and veggies, home-cured meats and daily baked breads go into delicious traditional Italian dishes. Not to be outdone, French cuisine creates a buzz at St. Germain. Nor’Wester Cafe, on the other hand, keeps it deliciously native with fresh regional cuisine. So does Stonechurbie, with its award-winning a-la carte high country cuisine. Afterwards, indulge your sweet tooth with superb toffees, coffees, and handcrafted chocolates at She Chocolat. Enjoy wine fresh from the vineyard at Hinton’s Vineyard Restaurant and Cafe, and Mud House Winery and Cafe. The Selwyn Food and Wine Trail is great way to embark on a wine and food journey into the wine-growing Selwyn District. If you’d rather stick around in the city, Darkroom Bar has a good range of cocktails, craft beers, wine, and more. Speights Ale House and The Braided Rivers Restaurant and Bar offer a selection of beers on tap, Monteith’s cider, and wines. The Hermitage Hotel affords a truly alpine holiday nestled as it is among peaks. So does, Grasmere Lodge which is surrounded by 7000 ft peaks. If you like waterfront resorts, then Pepper’s Clearwater Resort is just the place. Maison de la Mer is a 5 star luxury lodge perched on the waterfront at the very French, Akaroa village. Expect luxury, gourmet food, and a romantic boutique experience. Or stay at the Akaroa Cottages with their luxurious accommodation, and gorgeous views of the sea. Budget travel? Try Pavilions Hotel. This family-operated establishment will give you great service and value for money.
Where to Go?
With so much of New Zealand given over to lush countryside, walking and trekking options abound. Kaikoura Wilderness Walks introduce you to endangered native flora and fauna as they wind through the privately owned Puhi Peaks Nature Reserve. The award-winning Hiking New Zealand Tours are eco-friendly at heart. The Banks Peninsula Track takes you through bush land, waterfalls, sandy beaches, and the stunning volcanic coastline at Hinewai Reserve. At Tothill’s Mazes you will walk, but in circles.
Browse through 1900s gizmo and gadgetry in the technology museum at the Ferrymead Heritage Park or drop in at the Christ Church Art Gallery and admire the modern work of Canterbury artists. Spend a leisurely day at the Hammer Springs Pools and Spa and allow the mineral-rich thermal waters to soothe and heal you. Tekapo Springs offers a stunning lake view that combines relaxation with recreation with its hot pools, spas and winter sports. Make friends with fur seals and marine life in Kaikoura on a Kayak tour. Or lend a hand at the farm on the Akaroa Farm Tours. Try the Ko Tane Maori Experience for a peek into Maori culture and history. Maybe fortune will favor you if you are brave enough to try the Christ Church Casino. Enjoy a classical music performance by the Christ Church Symphony or cross over to the experimental side with La Luna, a sextet that combines Tango and traditional European sounds in an interesting way. The Monday Room plays a mix of pop, jazz, blues, gospel, house, indie and emerging stuff. You could also enjoy live performances at The Brewery, The Wunderbar, and Dux Live. Gardia is a water-borne parasite that causes diarrhea. To avoid contracting it, do not drink water from rivers, lakes, and ponds with out filtering or treating it. Or simply carry your own water.