Christmas 2019 Discover Christchurch
Door to Door pickups, Flights, Transport, Accommodation All entries and Meals as listed (Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Christmas Lunch, Dinner)
Sunday 22nd December DAY 1 L, D
From Tauranga, we fly into Christchurch and while our luggage heads to our Hilton Chateau on the Park Hotel, we’ll be gathering for a delicious lunch at Salt on the Pier followed by a stroll along New Brighton Pier to breathe in the sea air. We’ll be taking a scenic drive to Taylors Mistake Beach via the pretty hillside suburb of Scarborough. Comprising almost 50 century-old seaside baches, recognised as heritage assets by Heritage NZ and Christchurch City Council, Taylors Mistake Beach is named after a wayward vessel master who ran aground here. We’ll head back to the hotel to check in and there a chance to get the lie of the land at this tranquil resort-like hotel. Set in 5 beautiful acres the gardens feature rose gardens, a vineyard and a moat. We’ll be having dinner at the hotel tonight. The Garden Court Brasserie has a fresh seasonal menu, and dinner can be enjoyed taking in the visual splendour of the rose gardens.
Monday 23rd December DAY 2 B, L, D
After breakfast, we depart for the quaint French settlement of Akaroa. On our way, we’ll stop at the funky and arty Little River Café and Gallery for morning tea. We then head further east to disembark at the famously quirky Giant’s House. This historic property is a dazzling array of award-winning gardens encircling an iconic 1880’s totara and kauri homestead boasting a plethora of artworks, sculptures and mosaics. We’ll have a tour of the house – filled to the brim with historical and contemporary treasures and follow this up with a lunch at The Artists Palate café in the gardens. Next is a trek to the Misty Peak Reserve lookout for a panorama of the village and bay and an exploration of the lanes and alleys of this unique piece of New Zealand’s heritage. Back to Christchurch for dinner at Hilton Chateau on the Park.
Tuesday 24th December DAY 3 B, D
The Canterbury Museum is where we’ll be heading this morning after breakfast. This is a chance to explore New Zealand’s rich cultural and natural heritage in a Canterbury context including the Antarctic exhibits. After morning tea, we will be crawling literally at caterpillar pace in the Botanic Gardens. Christchurch is justifiably described as the Garden City. The eco-friendly Caterpillar Botanic Gardens Hop-On Hop-Off Tour is a chance to experience and appreciate one of the most beautiful indigenous and exotic plant collections in the country. We’ll be lunching at the popular Ilex Café within the gardens. A dreamy punt floating down the Avon River will round off the day’s activities before we change for Christmas Eve dinner at Kiwiana themed Jimmy’s Restaurant. Carols by Candlelight in Victoria Square after dinner will be a magical finish to our day.
Wednesday 25th December DAY 4 B, L, D
It’s Christmas so enjoy a sleep-in! We’ve got a trip scheduled to Halswell Quarry Park Gardens after breakfast, this morning. Halswell Quarry covers over 60 hectares including picnic spots, walks, mountain biking, historic sites, botanical gardens, wetland ponds, a dog park, and the quarry. Explore the six unique gardens designed to represent the character and beauty of Christchurch’s sister cities: Adelaide (South Australia), Christchurch (England), Gansu Province (China), Kurashiki (Japan), Seattle (USA), and Songpa-Gu (Seoul, Korea). Back to the hotel and a change for our special Christmas lunch at Chateau on the Park. The afternoon is a chance to recover and relax before a light meal in the evening and an optional Christmas Light tour.
Thursday 26th December DAY 5 B, MT, D
Boxing Day dawns and after breakfast, we’re off to discover great heights with a gondola ride gently lifting us nearly a kilometre to the top of the Port Hills. 360° views from the summit take in the sparkling cityscape of Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains, the Southern Alps, dramatic views of Banks Peninsula, Lake Ellesmere and Lyttelton Harbour, the beaches of Pegasus Bay the Pacific Ocean and the distant Kaikoura Peninsula. We’ll have morning tea here then we’ll be visiting the childhood home of Dame Ngaio Marsh for a tour. Filled with antiques and family treasures collected from around the world, this glimpse into the private world of our most famous and prolific crime writer and doyenne of New Zealand theatre, is an absolute treat. We are next headed to the Arts Centre a space in the heart of the city known for its art, culture, education and creativity. Following the 2011 earthquake, the Christchurch Art Gallery has been rebuilt from the ground up and the long-awaited re-opening introduces visitors to a cornucopia of work, richly diverse and housed in an exciting new space. We’ll have a chance to spend time here absorbing the collections on show. Dinner tonight is back at the Hilton Chateau on the Park.
Friday 27th December Day 6 B, L
We’ll be packing our morning tea today and taking it with us to the magical setting of Lake Lyndon Lodge for a picnic at the lake edge a popular trout fishing spot. Dramatic landscapes made famous in the Lord of the Rings movies will take your breath away as we meander the metal Lyndon Road to finish at Lake Coleridge and a memorable last day celebration lunch at Terrace Downs Resort. Enjoy spectacular alpine views of the Canterbury High Country as you savour the local fare prepared by the resort chefs. Terrace Downs is home to an award-winning 18 hole golf course and the luxury getaway for weddings and conferences. We return to Christchurch and you are free to dine at the hotel and prepare for departure tomorrow.
Saturday 28th December Day 7 B, L
As our trip draws to a reluctant close, we’ll take a morning sojourn at Christchurch Farmers Market. Widely acclaimed for the quality and diversity of its fresh farm products, the 80-stall market is held all year round in the Heritage One listed Riccarton House grounds and there’s a self-guided heritage tour of the residence before we depart for the airport. All good things must come to an end and we fly back to Tauranga with a solemn promise to return to this supremely beautiful part of New Zealand.
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