At Christchurch Airport we believe the South Island is the best place in the world - the best place to live, visit and do business.

We want it to prosper, so we unashamedly champion the South Island every chance we get… which brings us to this inaugural edition of our new seasonal magazine Gateway South. In this magazine, you'll get a glimpse of some of the many attractions and activities across this special island, the place we call home and love to welcome new people to… as well as some of the places you can get to if you fly out of here.


If autumnal weather tells you a tropical island getaway is required, it's time to consider a trip to Rarotonga. 

It's one direct flight from Christchurch, and sunshine, relaxation, family fun or adventure, kayaks or cocktails all await you.

Paula Waldeck from House of Travel says Rarotonga is a Kiwi favourite for many reasons, including being easy to get to, easy to enjoy and easy to have exactly the holiday you want.

"It's a true tropical paradise, with a huge variety of accommodation to suit all budgets and all sorts of activities to choose from (or not!) - plus many products are Kiwi and so is the currency," Paula says.

"I highly recommend hiring scooters to get around. They give you freedom to find your own beach for the day or try out different snorkelling spots. They also mean you can get around the island to try all the wonderful restaurants and cafés (the food is really good!). You do need to sit your licence for the scooter, but it just involves a drive around the block.

"Visitors often say they don't know where the time goes when they're here, because exploring on a scooter, lying on a beach, snorkelling, swimming, or just soaking up the warmth with a pile of books, all pleasantly fill their days.

"If you have the time, put Aitutaki on your list as well. It's a short 50 minute plane ride out to the atoll but well worth it. I've never seen so many shades of blue - a true paradise!

"Visitors tell us a Rarotongan holiday is the perfect island escape, paradise close to home - who are we to disagree," she laughs.

Virgin Australia flies from Christchurch to Rarotonga every Saturday from June 24 to October 13.


When you drop small change and foreign currency into the collection boxes at Christchurch Airport you help make community projects happen.

The donations are topped up by a sizable donation from the airport company, then community projects and groups apply for a share of what is known as the Christchurch Airport Community Fund.

One project benefitting from your generosity is the 180 Degrees Trust. The charitable trust works with 13-17 year old at-risk youths who are struggling in education and making poor decisions.

Managing Trustee Jeremy Nurse says the charitable trust uses the natural environment to initiate a turnaround in the lives of vulnerable youth.

"We operate an Alternative Education programme for up to 18 students, as well as weekly one-on-one mentoring programmes for teens referred to us by the Youth Justice System. We use outdoor activities to create a rapport and trust with youths, then transfer that relationship to the urban environment.

"The grant from the Christchurch Airport Community Fund supports our Youth Co-ordinators working with young people to build up their confidence, social skills and physical and mental fitness.

"We see the day trips and camps help turn lives around. In the past year, 87% reported a positive transition to employment, education or training while on the 180 programme; 78% of young people did not offend while on our programme and 78% of young people improved their physical health and wellbeing."

180 Degrees Trust is one of many charitable and community groups and projects to receive funding through the airport. Next time you buy a cup of coffee at the airport, you might drop your small change into the collection boxes to help future projects.

Or if you'd like funding for your community project, apply at


A new vehicle recently revealed at Christchurch Airport has a mind of its own.

The fully autonomous Smart Shuttle will carry 15 people, has no steering wheel, nor a front or back. Instead it has guidance systems that combine many different types of technology, is 100% electric and can operate on inductive charging.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says Christchurch is the home of innovation and creativity; so the perfect place for New Zealand's first trial of such a vehicle.

"Autonomous electric vehicles are part of our future," she says. "They are coming ready or not and I'd rather be ready. This is an incredibly exciting time."

Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Malcolm Johns says the airport team is keen to understand how autonomous shuttles might operate at Christchurch Airport and how people may react and interact with them.

"We see the potential for driverless vehicles to transform and enhance mobility and transport options on the airport campus," he says. "We want to explore the possibility of autonomous vehicles assisting people moving around our campus efficiently and sustainably."

The New Zealand based and funded trial will begin in the next few weeks on private roads on the airport campus and is likely to last two years.


There's nothing quite like kicking through autumn leaves… and it can be even more appealing when the leaves are from grape vines, with a wine tasting at the end.

Wither Hills winery in Marlborough is well known for just that, according to Karen Walshe from Explore Marlborough.

Karen says guided wine tours offered through offer a choice of 30 cellar doors and are especially beautiful in autumn.

"I don't have a favourite because they each have their special character and they all have exceptional wine," she says.

"As an example, Wither Hills has a vine library outside the cellar door building with multiple varieties of grapes growing. I love to get my guests a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and then head down to the vine library and pick a sauvignon grape for them to taste. The flavours of the grape are totally replicated in the glass.

"Brancott Estate is situated on a ridgeline above the Brancott valley, so has some of the most eye-catching views in the valley. In autumn, it offers an excellent vantage point to view the patchwork of autumn colours. The wine is wonderful, but I also like to go there in the morning for coffee on the terrace to soak in the views.

"In my opinion, a visit to Marlborough in autumn is an absolute must. The annual harvest is underway, the colours are glorious reds and oranges, and the cellar doors offer aromas and experiences which are fabulous."



Visitors to Ross on the West Coast are having fun at an attraction which grew out of a search for a birthday gift.

Jill Waterman was searching online for a novel birthday gift for her son, found floating golf balls and the idea for what is now "Floating Golf" was born. "I'm an outdoors person and anything near water makes me happy, so I decided to set up a venture in a nearby lake," Jill explains. "It took a while, but I found a lake in Ross, created after mining for gold had ended. I was so pleased the owners of the lake were enthusiastic and supportive about the idea." Jill is getting very positive feedback from her customers.

"People of all different nationalities and all age groups have a go. Many have never tried golf before, but after a bit of help they get the ball out onto the water. I've even had a first-timer hit the platform! He was stoked.

"I have good golfers visit just to have a swing. They think it is a great idea and regularly hit the platform, which is 100 metres from the tee-off area, which wins them another ball to try again.

"At the moment the prizes are a one ounce gold ingot or $2,000 cash for a hole in one, and a glacier flight in Franz Josef if you land in the sand hole. We've only been open a few weeks, and have had two near misses on the gold/cash hole and three on the glacier flight hole."

Jill says customers love the fact that the golf balls float, so they can see where their shot landed.

"I have customers returning from nearby towns and an Australian guy who made a special trip from Hokitika just to play. I even had a spectator buy a guy another bucket of balls just to keep watching him play because he was getting so close! It sure has great spectator value," she laughs.

Jill says her Floating Golf is a welcome attraction in a part of the South Island so famous for its scenery.

"I love this area and tell visitors what else there is to see and do here. I also let them see and feel the gold ingot - it is a great prize, which I suspect someone will win quite soon."



If you want to be wowed by a red and gold autumn experience, head to Queenstown.

That's the advice from Graham Budd, Chief Executive of Destination Queenstown, who says golden and red hues dominate the hills around the region in contrast with the deep blue lakes and rivers. Graham says there's an impressive line-up of regional events too.

"There's something for everyone here in autumn - adventure, relaxation, luxury or a family break," he says. "Adventure activities range from skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating and paragliding, to aerobatic flights, horse trekking, rafting and 4WD tours.

"Or you could tee up a round of golf, take a boat cruise or scenic flight, sample award-winning local wines and cuisine, enjoy a treatment at a luxury spa or explore the town's shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants."

Graham says cyclists often visit Queenstown in autumn to cycle amongst the dramatic colours.

"The Queenstown Trail is classed a New Zealand Great Ride and the 110km network of trails in the Wakatipu basin wind between rivers, lakes and mountain ranges, around iconic Queenstown vistas and experiences, with access to Queenstown Bay, Frankton, Lake Hayes, Arrowtown or Gibbston's 'valley of vines'."

More challenging biking options include heli-biking, road rides and a bike park. There are hire packages and guided options too, for an hour or several days.

The world-class golf courses are set in dramatic lake and alpine scenery and range from immaculately groomed 18-hole championship courses to a family friendly 9-hole course and driving range.

More than 6,000 tonnes of grapes are harvested in autumn from Central Otago's 200 vineyards, which are an important part of Queenstown's reputation for great wine and food.

Graham says people wanting to soak up the autumn colours should head to the Arrowtown Autumn Festival (April 21-25), a five day celebration of the old goldmining town's heritage.

"It's a beautiful time to walk around the region too," he says. "There are walking trails, scenic walks from a short stroll around the beautiful lakeside gardens to tackling Queenstown Hill for magnificent 360 degree vistas, or Glenorchy's epic Lord of the Rings scenery which leads on to some of New Zealand's Great Walks."



The Nelson Tasman region is known as the Heart of Biking, with a wealth of trails to offer, but one that attracts cyclists of all levels is the Great Taste Trail.

It's one of New Zealand's Great Rides and takes cyclists along Tasman's beautiful coastal and inland area. As a loop, it'll be 175 kilometres long when complete - two-thirds built so far - but it is easily broken down into bite sized portions… literally, thanks to plentiful refreshment stops along the way.

More than half a million riders have been recorded to date (around 200,000 per year), which could be thanks to being able to eat blackberries off the bush, have a glass of local Pinot Gris, enjoy magnificent views over the Waimea estuary from your bike and still be home in time for dinner.

Katrina Marwick prepared the most recent annual face-to-face survey and says rider numbers are steadily increasing each year.

"We're seeing a steady increase in numbers, especially family groups, plus very high visitor satisfaction. Most riders ride for one to four hours for recreation purposes, with many attracted to the region for adventure, arts, food, wine and beer.

"This year, 38% of riders were from outside the region (almost twice the number for 2014) and 12.5% were international visitors, with more international visitors staying longer (10 or more days). They say cycling was a factor in their decision to visit Nelson- Tasman, with comments such as "wide open spaces and constant changing scenery has me hooked on this".

Elizabeth Bean, a trustee of the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust, describes Nelson-Tasman as a 'must visit' destination for cyclists.


If you want to be in the fashion know, make a beeline for Dunedin.

The 18th iD Dunedin Fashion Week will be held from March 18-26 over eight action-packed days of outstanding fashion events.

A highlight of the week is the iD International Emerging Designer Awards, New Zealand's largest fashion design competition. In partnership with Otago Polytechnic, the awards offer a glimpse of the future, with some of the world's most talented and innovative next-generation designers.

This year's 36 emerging designers are from 12 different countries and show a commitment to upcycling and sustainability, including a fashion collection made from chip bags and soft drink cans, textiles made from fishing tackle and garments using laser-cut Perspex.

Many a fashion leader has had their first exposure at these awards. It's an event international visitors put in their fashion diary from year to year, wanting to be ahead of the game and in from the beginning of a rising star's ascent.


A new restaurant has quickly learned a reputation for pairing wine with local produce to create the ultimate match made in Marlborough.

Made In Aotearoa owner Jetti Walker has a very clear vision for the restaurant, which was awarded the New Zealand Beef and Lamb excellence award in its first year.

"We aim to constantly create a respectful harmony between the land, earth and sea of Aotearoa, and convey it through our wine and food with genuine thoughtful hospitality," he says.

Jetti says his creations use freshly sourced local food to feed the senses. You can also put yourself totally in his hands and order "The Chef's Table". That's when there's no menu, just an indication of the eight to ten diners' desires, resulting in a banquet with personalised service from Head Chef Wayne.

Made In Aotearoa has just celebrated its first birthday with a gift to its community.

"We want to support Community College Marlborough's Cookery and Hospitality students, so hosted a charitable fundraiser to nurture and create the young professionals' training for the hospitality industry," says Jetti.

"The menu highlighted salmon, whitebait, tuna, lamb and pork, cooked in a late summer/ early autumn way and served by students of the college. We were very proud of the students and plan to offer them regular on going work-based training, to help them complete qualifications."

Autumn Recipe - Made In Aotearoa Lamb Rump

Almond, lemon and thyme stuffed lamb rump. Served with wilted watercress, mustard greens, roasted root vegetables and port and redcurrant jus.

4 servings ∞ 1 hour preparation time ∞ 25 minutes cooking time
4 trimmed lamb rump (cap off)
1/2 cup ground almond meal
3 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
300g mixed mustard greens including small watercress
2 peeled parsnips
1 large golden kumara
12 baby carrots
1 swede
4 shallots
4 tbsp port and redcurrant jelly
1L beef stock (reduced by half with jelly)
Fresh chopped rosemary, thyme, oregano,
Marlborough sea salt and fresh ground black pepper - to season lamb rump and vegetables before cooking

1. Combine thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice and ground almond meal to create stuffing.
2. Cut cavity in centre of lamb rump and add prepared stuffing.
3. Peel and vegetables, parboil prepare then cool.
4. Apply vegetable oil and herb seasoning to vegetables, pre-heat oven to 200°C and cook for 15-20 minutes.
5. Pre-heat heavy cast iron pan, season lamb with herb mix, sear all surfaces, rest lamb. Complete cooking of lamb (5 minutes) with vegetables.
6. Gently wilt greens so still firm, apply small amount of jus, combine vegetables, carve lamb, dress with jus and garnish.

14 Scott Street, Blenheim




March 25

The Nelson region is New Zealand's sole hop growing area - and has more craft breweries per head of population than anywhere else in the country. Unlike other beer festivals, all the beers available at MarchFest have been specially commissioned for the event and have never previously been tasted by the public.
April 2

Your chance to run and slither in, on and through mud pits, manmade hills, slippery slides, mud and water slides, with climbs, crawls and running for good measure. You can choose one lap or two (5km or 10km), and who to enter with - friends, family, a workmate - but be quick because entries are limited to 2,500 adults and 400 children.
April 8-9

The Highlands Festival of Speed is a weekend packed with some of the best modern classic racing you will see in New Zealand. It stars some of New Zealand's most well-known racing legends, with a big field of Pre-65 Racing, Mainland Muscle, modern and nostalgic classics.
April 14-16

Marlborough's largest event attracts 30,000 people from around the world for a three day airshow.
Friday 14th is the official Practice Day, which includes the Twilight Extreme of sunset flying, concert and spectacular fireworks. Saturday and Sunday are the main show days with more than 100 aircraft participating, together with mock airfield attacks supported by ground theatre and pyrotechnics.
April 21-25

A five-day celebration of the old goldmining town's heritage, with gold panning, a market day and street parade, guided historical walks, a vintage car rally and live music and theatre. There'll be time to explore the old miners' cottages, restored Chinese Village and Lakes District Museum too.
May 20

Bluff oysters are considered the most delicious in the world because they grow slowly in Foveaux Strait's clear cold waters until they are fat and juicy. The festival includes oyster eating competitions and there's other local delicacies such as Muttonbirds, other seafood and various wild foods. The famous southern hospitality includes plenty of live music at the festival in Bluff, home to the fleet of oyster boats.