The East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island is a place of contrast, beauty and history. Sightseeing options during your holidays here range from colonial towns and sleepy Maori fishing villages, to vibrant cities such as Dunedin and Christchurch. Things to do on the South Island East Coast include getting close to nature, wine tasting or getting a taste of history.
A journey down the East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island will probably start in the Marlborough region. Famous most notably for its Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a number of other grapes, this is a great place to choose for budding wine connoisseurs (or just budding wine tasters).
Within the Marlborough region are the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. The Sounds is an area of elaborate waterways and beautiful bays, all encompassed by lush green landscapes.
At the southern end of the Marlborough region is Kaikoura, which is known for its special blend of alpine and coastal scenery. Activities in Kaikoura include swimming with dolphins or whale watching tours.
The city of Christchurch is located about a third of the way along the East Coast heading south and has become known as the ‘garden city’, thanks to its dedication to beautiful gardens. The city is cosmopolitan and vibrant and things to do in Christchurch, apart from visiting award winning gardens, include attending one the city’s many festival and arts events.
Tourist attractions in Christchurch include the Neo Gothic Christchurch Cathedral, in the centre of the city. A climb up into its impressive spire offers a bird’s eye view of the city. Other places to visit in Christchurch include the Christchurch Gondola and the International Antarctic Centre.
If you are based in Christchurch but wish to explore the surrounding towns and villages, one great choice is the seaside town of Sumner. Sumner is actually a quiet coastal suburb of the city and is a popular with families, particularly those with an interest in surfing, boating and swimming.
Another place to see outside of Christchurch centre is the historic port of Lyttleton. Tourist attractions include Pilgrims Rock, where European settlers first entered the region.
Of all the places to visit along the East Coast, Akoara has become a must see town. This historic town has both British and French influence in both its architecture and its atmosphere. It is a great place to stroll around, filled with fine galleries and cafes, as well as offering swimming with dolphins, and nature cruises on the Akoara waters.
A small town rich in Maori heritage can be found further down the coast at Moeraki. Moeraki is a quiet fishing village known for the famous Moeraki Boulders. The boulders are one of the main tourist attractions in Moeraki, as these natural spherical formations are stunning and awe-inspiring.
Named after the Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the city of Dunedin is rich in both history and culture. A trip to Dunedin should include simply strolling around a city thought to be one of the most well preserved Edwardian/Victorian places south of the equator. There are many fascinating places to see in Dunedin, including Larnach Castle and the steepest address in the world on Baldwin Street.
The tourist attractions in Dunedin and its surroundings pay homage to the spectacular wildlife found in the area. The wildlife includes rare penguins, Royal albatross and rare sea lions.
Found in the south eastern tip of the island is The Catlins, a National Park and an area of natural beauty that has remained fairly untouched by human interference. The area offers a varied choice of landscape, including rugged coastline and fossilized forest.
Popular activities in The Catlins include wildlife watching and bird spotting. The acres and acres of wilderness are great for trekking, camping and cycling.
The East Coast has a bit of everything. Folks can immerse themselves in natural untouched habitats, or enjoy the elegant food and wine of this culturally rich and diverse section of the southern hemisphere.
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