Set on the east coast of the South Island, Christchurch is being restored after two major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Hire a bicycle for a day and explore torn city, pause at Cathedral Square, wet your feet in the Avon River and smell the roses at the Botanical Gardens. Be sure to stop by the185 Empty White Chairs - Earthquake Memorial and reflect on the lives that were lost in the devasting Christchurch earthquake.
Not to be missed is the world famous TranzAlpine train ride from Christchurch to Greymouth, a visual feast across the Canterbury plains, transcending high vistas, descending deep gorges and passing through the spectacular Southern Alps.
Orana Wildlife Park, set on 80 hectares, is internationally renowned for its zoo-based breeding programmes. Animal lovers are sure to take lots of photos as there will be many opportunities to get up close and personal with the animals.
For an unequalled 300km birds-eye view of Mt Cook drive one hour from Christchurch to Methven for a Balloon Safari. Conclude your ballooning experience in style with a champagne picnic breakfast in the farmer's field.
Two day trips for your Christchurch itinerary should be Whale Watching at Kaikoura, where you can watch a spectacular performance from the sperm whales, and Hamner Springs where you can soak in the mineral pools and finish your day with a luxury massage.