Canterbury (New Zealand)

Canterbury is a region on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The Canterbury Plains stretch from the Conway River in the north, just south of Kaikoura, to the great Waitaki River in the south, just north of Oamaru. The flat plains stretch from the Pacific Ocean in the east to the Southern Alps in the west, broken only by the volcanic Banks Peninsula.



Other destinations


Canterbury was settled in the 1850s by colonists from England. The settlement was planned and developed by the Canterbury Company.

Get in

Christchurch International Airport at Harewood is possibly the best airport in New Zealand, and the gateway airport to the whole South Island.

State Highway 1 traverses the length of the Canterbury plains.

Get around

Public transport, such as buses and trains, between towns is limited to the main routes between major centres.

To explore out-of-the-way places you really need a car.

Bicycling is a practical proposition because the roads are relatively flat.


With much of the plains dedicated to farming, roadside stalls selling local produce can be seen in some places. However, similar quality produce is often available at similar prices in city supermarkets, so don't go out of your way and expect to get a bargain at the farm gate. More likely, you will find the unusual and rare produce at the farm gate, where it is grown in quantities too small to sell to a mass market.


A few wine-making specialists exploit the unique climates and produce of their particular properties.

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