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21 Jul 2021

Five long weekend escapes from Christchurch

Time to break up your routine with a weekend away? From action packed adventures to artisanal explorations, we’ve curated five fun ideas to get you going.

They say change is the best holiday, but how about a change of scene and a holiday combined? Now we’re talking, right! One thing we love about Ōtautahi Christchurch is just how easy it is to take off and explore the country. We’ve put together five of our favourite destinations to spark your imagination. Check them out from North to South.

 

HAWKE’S BAY

Known for its abundance of farmers’ markets and wineries, fascinating architecture and magnificent landscapes, Hawke’s Bay is a region that’ll capture your heart.

Stay

Wine lovers will adore staying at one of 16 unique and luxurious Black Barn Retreats. Or, go deco all the way with a stay at The Dome, a boutique deco hotel on the Napier waterfront which will put you at the doorstep of the city’s many architectural gems.

Eat

Fill up with delicious kai at Mister D – but make sure you leave room for a decadent syringe donut for dessert! We’re keen to try the new “vaccinator” (coconut, lime and palm sugar). For delicious pizza and local wines head to the region’s coolest (and pinkest) little café, Pipi. For some soul-food, head to Hapi. Hapi specialise in “integrity dense kai” that caters to gluten-free, dairy-free, cane-sugar free, vegan, paleo and organic diets.

Do

Make your trip unforgettable with a walk up Te Mata Peak for 360 degree views of Hawke’s Bay (extra points if you make it to the top for sunrise). Take a cycle tour of the many amazing vineyards in the area – Te Awanga Estate, Craggy Range, Alpha Domus to name just a few. Refresh your palate with local artisan goods at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market and Black Barn Growers’ Market. Don’t forget to grab a few goodies to bring back home for later!

Go

The friendly folk at Air New Zealand can fly you there in just one hour 35 minutes with three to four flights per day and up to 22 per week.

 

NELSON TASMAN

Pristine beaches, epic adventures, creative studios and magnificent markets… a weekend in Nelson Tasman will have you truly spoilt for choice.

Stay

Unwind in utter luxury at the Split Apple Retreat, set amongst the most serene, restful environment you can imagine. For a fairytale weekend away, discover The Boot. You can’t live in a shoe, but you can stay in one! Or, discover a range of accommodation options at Kaiteriteri Reserve, from apartments to cabins or camping.

Eat

The Apple Shed in Mapua offers a simple and seasonally driven menu, complimented by locally crafted wine, beer and cider. Head to The Smoking Barrel in Motueka for legendary donuts (watch out, they sell out fast!), low and slow smoked American BBQ and the freshest seafood in town. Gravity in Upper Moutere brings you low intervention wine, combined with views over the magical Moutere Hills.

Do

Hike off all those yummy treats with a day in the Abel Tasman National ParkWilsons offer a variety of day trips. After dark, visit the Brook Sanctuary, the largest fenced sanctuary for endangered plants and creatures in the South Island. Get in nine holes at Tasman Golf Club (try not to get distracted by the spectacular views). Or ride the Great Taste Trail by bike. Both electric and pushbikes can be rented from Gentle Cycling.

Go

Drive time is five and a half hours (grab yourself a rental car from the airport) or fly to Nelson in under an hour with Air New Zealand. There are up to eight flights per day and over 42 flights each week.

KAIKŌURA

Oceans of fun await in this marine wonderland. From wild seas to rugged mountains and a picturesque village to base yourself, it’s no wonder Kaikōura is a favourite destination.

Stay

Splurge on a lofty penthouse experience at Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses. Choose from five deluxe suites, each nested ten metres above the ground in the canopy of a native kanuka grove. Or treat yourself to a premium suite at White Morph for stunning views of the ocean and coastal mountains.

Eat

If you haven’t been to Nin’s Bin yet, now’s the time. This third-generation family food truck has been serving crayfish since 1977 and ranks an impressive seventh place in Lonely Planet’s top ten food experiences around the world. Speaking of heritage, The Pier Hotel has been serving locals since 1885. In 135 years you can bet they’ve figured out how to cook Kaikōura’s kaimoana to perfection. For café fare, the lovely Encounter Café on the Esplanade makes a mouth-watering brunch and has some amazing gifts and books to browse while you digest.

Do

The wildlife alone could keep you busy for days. Swim with the dolphins, go whale watching, trek with llamas or book a family-friendly fishing charter. Say hello to the seals (from a safe ten metre distance) on the Kaikōura Peninsula Walk. If adrenaline is more your thing, the Glenstrae farm 4WD adventure is not to be missed. Foodies, you’re not forgotten either! Sign up for an intimate farm-to-table cooking class at Hapuku Kitchen for a culinary connection with land and sea.

Go

Jump in a rental car from the airport and you’ll be there in just two and a half hours, or for an extra special journey reserve seats on the majestic Coastal Pacific train.

 

WEST COAST

The Coast’s untamed natural wilderness is like a whole different world, just on the other side of the Alps. No matter how many times you’ve been, there’s always more to discover.

Stay

Just 300 metres from the Pancake Rocks, the beachfront Punakaiki Hotel Resort offers comfortable, environmentally friendly accommodation with forest and ocean views. Or for a rustic stay that’s anything but, head to Canopy Camping’s Woodpecker Hut. Soak in the hot tub, curl up with a good book and enjoy the magical views.

Eat

Feed your soul with Gatherer’s predominantly plant-based menu, featuring nourishing meals with a vibrant Mexican influence. Enjoy fresh baked bread and sandwiches made to order at The Hokitika Sandwich Company. Greymouth’s Seven Penny is your perfect choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner, all served with an authentic West Coast welcome.

Do

Driving over? Pop into Little Biddy Gin Distillery in the quaint town of Reefton. Discover a range of short walks and hidden natural gems managed by DOC, such as Coal Creek Falls. Imagine life atop the bleak Denniston Plateau, take a walk in the tree tops, spend a day cycling the West Coast Wilderness Trail, or take a guided eco tour among the pristine rainforest and limestone caves of the Oparara Basin.

Go

Drive there in three and a half hours (check out our handy rental car options here), or take the super scenic route with the TranzAlpine train to Greymouth. Did you know you can also fly to Hokitika with up to 14 flights available each week.

DUNEDIN

For incredible range of biodiversity, an eclectic range of galleries, shops and eateries, and a deep sense of heritage look no further than this iconic southern city.

Stay

Treat yourself to Hotel St Clair’s luxurious surroundings, attentive service, exceptional comfort and stunning views of the Pacific beachfront. Choose a characterful stay at the Distinction Dunedin. Formerly the Chief Post Office, this 4.5 star hotel is located in the heart of the city’s rejuvenated Warehouse Precinct. Or, surround yourself with ‘Scottish chic’ at the newly refurbished Fable Dunedin… this gorgeous hotel is entirely boutique and absolutely world-class.

Eat

Enjoy a sumptuous high tea, panoramic views and stunning architecture at Larnach Castle, New Zealand’s only castle. Discover the charming shops, galleries and seaside cafes of St Clair – like Starfish which is bursting with fresh, seasonal produce and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the morning, head to the Otago Farmers’ Market (voted best of its kind in NZ) for a mouth-watering variety of produce, cheeses, baked goods, chocolates, sauces, honey and meats.

Do

History buffs, check out the incredible collection of art and antiques at Olveston Historic Home. Downtown Dunedin is filled with heritage highlights such as the ornate Dunedin Railway Station so keep your camera handy! Urbanites, you’ll want to explore the funky establishments of the Warehouse Precinct and practice your people watching skills at the Octagon. Nature lovers, what can we say! From Yellow-Eyed Penguins, Hooker’s Sea Lions, the Northern Royal Albatross to Little Blue Penguins, a wild world awaits.

Go

A rental car from the airport will get you there in a little under five hours, or Air New Zealand can whisk you there in one hour with up to 51 available flights per week.