Your Gateway to the South!
The Christchurch Airport team truly believes the South
Island is the best place in the world to live, visit and do
We champion the South Island every chance we get, including in
our seasonal magazine "Gateway South". As we shrug off the colder
months in this spring edition, we'll tell you of some of the many
upcoming activities and events across this special island, the
place we call home and love to welcome millions of visitors to… and
show you some of the places you can fly to direct from this
The Harris family had so much fun on their short
action-packed holiday in Queensland, the children can't choose a
The children aged 7 to 15 had a lot of new experiences and say
"I liked everything." But then, what's not to like. Warm weather,
fun in the sun, wildlife, lots of different eating and
accommodation options… and one three-hour flight from
Linda and Chris Harris say they'll definitely visit Queensland
"It was a fabulous family holiday and it was all great," says
Linda. "One of the best things was we did everything as a family.
We all did it all. I even enjoyed the ziplining which I was really
frightened about, but was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and so
glad I did it." Chris says the family enjoyed the vast array of
"There were lots of places to stay, to eat, to walk and things to
do. We did and saw a lot of things, but there's still plenty left
for next time. The weather was spectacular so we were out and about
every day. We crammed a lot in, but it would also have been a great
holiday if we'd done less. There were different things to see,
friendly people to talk to and the gentle walk along the river and
through the markets was fun."
The family's action-packed break included Lone Pine Koala
Sanctuary in Brisbane, Hartleys Crocodile Adventures, Jungle
Surfing Ziplining at Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas, Tangalooma
Island Resort on Moreton Island and the Great Barrier Reef. They
saw crocodiles, turtles, dolphins, held snakes, went snorkelling
and sand-tobogganing and experienced a night at an eco-lodge in the
Linda says Queensland doesn't have to be an expensive
"There's something to suit every family. Families can choose
accommodation and meals to suit their budget. I appreciated being
able to do our laundry and prepare some meals, or choose to go out
to eat. Even then, it didn't have to be expensive because there's
so many choices - and every one of them was tempting."
Fly direct from Christchurch to Brisbane three times
If you're considering a spring rev-up, head to South
Canterbury late September for inspiration.
Geraldine will host the Spring Challenge, an all-women adventure
race where 600 teams of three women will raft, mountain bike, hike
and orienteer in three, six and nine-hour events. Race director
Nathan Fa'avae says the event began in 2007 in Hanmer Springs, with
327 women recording the biggest number of participants in any
adventure race in the world at the time.
"It has grown every year as it has moved around different parts of
the South Island and this year a record 1,800 women will take
part," he says.
Nathan believes women are inspired by seeing others they know take
on the challenge. "They see friends and family spend months
preparing for the event and see a transformation and achievement,
then want it themselves. Women have told me the juggle of fitting
in all the training and preparation alongside everything else they
do is one of the biggest challenges to overcome and one of the
biggest satisfactions." Though the event offers prizes, Nathan
believes they are not the motivator for the women who enter.
"Entrants focus on challenge, participation and completion.
Everyone has a different challenge - some use the rafting to
overcome a fear of water, some want to become proficient cyclists
and others use the preparation to spend more time outdoors." Nathan
says the event is in its eleventh year and while his focus is on
safety aspects, he gets genuine satisfaction from seeing entrants'
joy at crossing the finish line.
"My biggest satisfaction is seeing so many women enjoy courses we
create in the beautiful South Island. We spend a lot of time
putting together a course which challenges the competitors and
showcases the scenery. When they reach the finish line, entrants do
reflect on both their achievement and the scenery they passed
COFFEE CUP BINS
They're being described by some as "giant coffee cups" and are
our latest visible commitment to sustainability. The bespoke bins
are designed only for takeaway coffee cups - no food or rubbish -
which we hope will soon be compactable or recyclable. In the
meantime, we have started making it easier for all the coffee cups
to be managed on their own, so on your next visit, please enjoy
your coffee and put the emptied cup into a large brown coffee cup
FREE TRIPS TO
Three recent visitors to Christchurch Airport will soon visit
again - on their way to Fiji! The three women, Miriam from
Kaikoura, Kay from Christchurch and Barb from Timaru, entered the
'Win A Trip to Fiji' competition when they shopped at the airport
while waiting to board flights. Barb says she has been promising
her husband of 35 years a holiday in Fiji and now will deliver it.
Miriam is encouraging girlfriends to go with her, to make a girls'
trip to remember. Kay and her family were planning a snow holiday,
but will trade snow for sand. Ten other recent airport visitors -
two from Australia, two from the North Island and six South
Islanders - also each won a $500 travel voucher.
More South Island tourism operators have travelled to China as
part of the 'New Horizons' China mentoring programme. The operators
receive financial assistance to make their offering attractive to
and appropriate for Chinese visitors (e.g. translating material,
websites and social media into Mandarin), then personal
introductions on 'Kia Ora South' trade missions into China.
Operators report up to a four-fold increase in business on the
programme, with one saying "From a handful of Chinese visitors to
hundreds, there's no way we could achieve this without the tutoring
and tremendous support of Christchurch Airport."
NASA IN CHRISTCHURCH
NASA's aircraft known as SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory
for Infrared Astronomy, has been in Christchurch for eight weeks.
Programme Manager Eddie Zavala says "It's hard to beat the quality
of the science data we obtain while observing from New Zealand."
SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 100-inch
diameter telescope and made 24 overnight observation flights from
Christchurch Airport on this visit.
NEW FOR FOODIES
Get ready for two new eateries to open at Spitfire Square at
Christchurch Airport. The well-known restaurant and bar Lone Star
has a new position, complete with enclosed bar/patio area and gas
fire, near the Spitfire. Tai Chi is an authentic Chinese
restaurant, with spacious in-house dining and banquet areas, or
order takeaways on your way home from the airport.
As SH1's rebuild between Blenheim and Kaikoura progresses,
there's been a lot of concern about seals in the area. The good
news is the seal population and seal community is fine.
DoC's Community Ranger and Iwi Advisor, Brett Cowan, says there
have been changes for seals and the seabed since the November 2016
"A totally new landscape has emerged. From a marine and ecology
perspective, there's a lot of new opportunities to use the
earthquake and uplift of the seabed and landscape to create
educational tools/programmes for school children, university
students and scientists," he says.
Point Kean Seal Colony is one of three colonies in the Kaikoura
district. Naturally, visitors want to get up close and personal
with seals to take photos, but Brett urges visitors to stay 10
metres from the seals because they can become aggressive to protect
their young or nesting area.
"Post-earthquake with rocks and high tide now much further out for
the seals, there may be fewer seals around the carpark area. If you
can't see them on the left side of the carpark, walk on top of the
seabed (rocks) toward the outer right-hand side of Point Kean to
see a more active colony that has emerged post-earthquake.
"That's where the young, fit male seals are fighting for territory
in a new 'hang-out'. It's definitely worth the walk to see them,
but do keep your distance."
Pre-earthquake Ohau Point was home to about 6,000 seals. Many have
walked to the waterfall to see seal pups playing amongst the water
and rocks at the Ohau Point Seal Colony.
"Good news post-earthquake is that the waterfall is still intact
and seals are still around in the area. The pool at the base of the
waterfall is shallower than before, but once the rebuild is
completed, a pool and stream will be deepened and we anticipate
seal pups will return."
The door has finally opened at a Marlborough vineyard well
known for decades of exporting award-winning wine.
Jackson Estate's expertise has long been recognised, but now its
visibility is being raised through the opening of a Cellar Door a
few weeks ago.
Cellar Door manager Michelle Osgood says locals, family and
friends have been keen to see its "collision architecture" - a
modern state of the art winemaking operation behind an 1850s
settler hut frontage.
"We are delighted by their interest and response," she says. "What
they see on the outside is different to what they find inside and
seeing people's faces as they come inside has been magical. I hope
we never lose that."
The Cellar Door further underlines the reputation the vineyard has
of being modern pioneers, a Kiwi-owned and family run business
which handcrafts boutique Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Only 40,000 cases of wine are made each year and 95% of them are
exported to Britain, but now the Cellar Door is open, locals can
enjoy the hospitality and buy the wine onsite. Michelle says though
the new venture will grow the brand in New Zealand, it's not just
"It's a way to show people who we are and what we are about. It's
about Marlborough - our land and our climate.
We want people to build a relationship with the company, not just
the wine, and we have some big ideas for how to make that
Looking for spring garden inspiration? Then head to
Marlborough early November to get it from a real expert.
Fergus Garrett, head gardener at world-famous Sussex garden
Great Dixter, will be the special guest at Nelmac Garden
Marlborough and gardeners all over the country are keen to learn
"Innovation, originality, verve, ebullience, abundance, joy, an
infectious enthusiasm and a wild energy…" are some of the words
used to describe the gardener and his work… while he says "The most
important tools a gardener has are eyes."
His own eyes are usually focussed on Great Dixter. He says "This
is not a fluffy cottage garden. It's a place where we've always
been expressive. I love the quirkiness of big plants and big veg,
the sense of the countryside being let in… we make rules, we break
them, we experiment all the time."
Carolyn Ferraby, longstanding Garden Marlborough committee member
has heard Fergus Garrett speak at several international events and
says "Fergus is always the star of the show. His knowledge and
passion are contagious, extremely entertaining, we are so lucky to
have him here this year. Not only is Fergus one of the garden
world's foremost plantsmen, but his knowledge and passion are
contagious, and he's extremely entertaining. He's unquestionably
the strongest international guest speaker we've ever brought here."
Influential garden blogger Frogend Dweller simply says "If you get
a chance to hear Fergus Garrett speak, grab it. You won't regret
November 9 to 12
Seeing stars will be top priority in mid-October, when the
third international Starlight Festival takes place.
The Starlight Festival highlights and celebrates the Aoraki
Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, which has the mission of
encouraging and protecting dark skies free of light pollution in
the Mackenzie, as well as promoting star gazing and
Professor John Hearnshaw is chair of the Aoraki Mackenzie
International Dark Sky Reserve Board and Emeritus Professor of
Astronomy at University of Canterbury. He says the Starlight
Festival is held alternate years for both locals and international
"Astro-tourism in the Mackenzie at Tekapo and Aoraki/Mt Cook is
now one of New Zealand's biggest tourist attractions," he says.
"About 200,000 people travel to Tekapo every year to see the stars
and many of them are from Asia and Europe.
"The festival will offer many different events from lectures and
workshops, to exhibitions, videos, documentaries and planetarium
shows… and of course stargazing! We are also working on a musical
concert with a starlight theme."
Three world-class speakers will lead sessions at the festival,
including Dr Natalie Batalha, a NASA space scientist who was in
2017 named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential
people on the planet. She will also tour New Zealand giving talks
on space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life.
The fascination Chinese visitors have with the South Island
is encouraging more Kiwis to learn to speak Chinese in
New Zealand Chinese Language Week (NZCLW), October 16-22, is the
first initiative of its kind in any Western country and highlights
a rapidly strengthening relationship between New Zealand and
Project Manager Sylvie Poupard-Gould says it's a Kiwi-driven
initiative to increase Chinese language learning in New Zealand and
has many enthusiasts.
"The idea is to bridge the cultural and linguistic knowledge gap
between the two countries through fun and practical initiatives to
help Kiwis learn Chinese," she says. "China is now our largest
trading partner, as well as the source of tourism and international
students, so it makes sense to strengthen the ties and
understanding. NZCLW is not just for school children - we have
businesses, government organisations, libraries and individuals
taking part too.
"One of our supporters is Sir Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop, who
says his greatest regret in business is not having the skills to
speak the Chinese language. Other business leaders agree with that
sentiment, which is why several of them partner with us for the
week." Activities for children, Tai Chi classes, culture classes,
Chinese immersion days, a film festival and lapel badges
highlighting everyday phrases have been on offer in the past, with
more and new events planned this year.
The biggest rugby league event ever in New Zealand will see
world class players and their fans in Christchurch in
Christchurch Stadium will host two much-anticipated matches -
New Zealand vs Scotland and a quarter-final two weeks later.
On Saturday November 4, the New Zealand Kiwis will tackle
Scotland, both teams conscious of their thrilling 18-all draw at
the 2016 Four Nations tournament and both wanting a different
The Rugby League World Cup won't return to New Zealand for at
least another 12 years, so tickets are in demand.
Whitebait is a staple food group on the West Coast, with locals
eating it almost daily in the season. Come the annual Whitebait
Festival in October, West Coasters proudly and generously share
their treasured small white fish with visitors.
Eyvonne Diskin is a fourth generation West Coaster. She grew up
fishing for whitebait with her mother and her grandfather and still
fishes from his special "posie" (position).
"In the season, I like to fish every tide," she says. "When I get
home, I get the frypan hot, bag the whitebait up in one-pound lots
for the freezer and immediately fry the rest. You can't beat very
fresh whitebait - I just love it.
"In the season, we'll eat it four times a week. Our favourite meal
is whitebait patties, chips and eggs, but over summer we'll cook up
frozen whitebait into patties with salad and new potatoes.
"I always cook a pound at a time and put any leftover patties in
the fridge so I can snack on them. I eat them hot or cold, on their
own or in a sandwich… and always with a little mint sauce."
During the Whitebait Festival, Eyvonne sets up a stall outside her
gift shop and last year cooked and sold 25 pounds of whitebait in
"We had five frypans going at once," she laughs. "There were
people who had no idea what whitebait is, but after they ate one
patty they lined up for one or two more."
Eyvonne can't understand people not liking whitebait, though she
admits a couple of her nine grandchildren prefer to fish for it
than eat it.
"My father couldn't eat fried food, so he cooked it differently,"
she says. "He'd put a pound of whitebait in a pot with pepper and
salt, a knob of butter and half a cup of milk. It cooked through
and looked very white.
"Not for me. I make patties, a lot of patties. The only
alternative is when I make bread cases in muffin tins and put
whitebait into them in a mornay sauce with parsley.
"I know people who roll the whitebait in flour and put them in a
pan to cook separately, but I can't be bothered with that."
Eyvonne has a tried and true recipe, which she can recite and is
happy to share (see inset recipe below).
There are debates over whether flour has a place in a whitebait
patty. Eyvonne says a little is necessary to hold the patty
together, but Alicia Urlich, a former chef often called on to make
whitebait patties for West Coast events, disagrees.
She says her recipe is simple, always gets compliments… and has no
"I use four free range eggs to a kilogram of genuine Haast
whitebait. The patties should be cooked on a hotplate in Westgold
butter and served on white Blanchfields Bakery bread, which has
been buttered with whipped butter (Westgold butter slightly
softened and whipped). I like to put a dash of F. Whitlock &
Sons mint sauce on all four corners of the bread, with a spritz of
lemon, sprinkle of salt, and pepper and parsley. No flour or egg
white because it takes the taste of the whitebait away. The
whitebait should be the hero."
Flour aside, both whitebait cooks agree whitebait patties should
be eaten as often as possible… with pepper, salt, lemon and mint
Eyvonne's Whitebait Patty Recipe
Whisk three or four eggs with salt and pepper to taste.
Add a small dessert spoon of flour and the same amount of
Gently stir in 1 pound (half kilogram) of whitebait.
Cook spoonfuls in oil in a hot pan.
Eat between two slices of buttered white bread, with a little
lemon juice and mint sauce.
| SISTER ACT
September 8 - 23
Disco Diva, gangster boyfriend and lots of singing nuns! Sister
Act is the feel-good Broadway musical comedy smash based on the
Whoopi Goldberg film, with outrageous dancing and joyous gospel
music. Live on stage in Christchurch for the first time.
Blossom-lined streets and orchards in full bloom herald the
arrival of spring in the Central Otago town of Alexandra. The
annual Alexandra Blossom Festival includes a Grand Procession of
floats and Float Princesses, a Mardi Gras, Party in the Park and
garden tours, plus the crowd favourite of Friday night's Race
Around the Clock.
Celebrate New Zealand's most important early 'harbour city' and
Otago Harbour heritage plus the vision for the future. Events on
both sides of the harbour and in the central city - from Taiaroa
Head Royal Albatross Centre, to buildings not normally open to the
public and the Port Otago Open Day.
| CBD STAMPEDE
An amazing and much talked about event through Christchurch's CBD.
You'll run, walk and crawl through the changing central city - plus
there will be obstacles to challenge you. You'll recognise some of
them, but others are special only to this event.
| TE ANAU AND
MANAPOURI FISHING CLASSIC
This fishing competition for adults and children is run over two
lakes, Te Anau and Manapouri, as well as the Upper Waiau river.
Teams and individuals compete for the largest fish and spot prizes
based on 'mystery' catch factors. Plus there's a new boat to be
| NEW ZEALAND
Celebrate the diversity of cider at the second New Zealand Cider
Festival. Sample varieties from all over the country in a relaxed
and friendly festival environment, with gourmet dining and great
entertainment - all in the region where most New Zealand ciders are
| NEW ZEALAND CUP AND
Excitement is building and planning is well underway for
Christchurch's hottest week of the year - and the country's biggest
and most exciting spring festival. There's something for everyone
with racing, agriculture, fashion, family fun and entertainment on
offer across three venues. Tickets are on sale now.