As we look ahead to the busy summer season, we welcome overseas visitors and farewell family and friends taking advantage of our many international connections.

There's nowhere in the world you can't connect to by flying internationally out of Christchurch - plus you help strengthen the case for airlines to offer more destinations from here.

So consider Sydney, Melbourne, Nadi, Singapore, Guangzhou or Hong Kong as your first stop on your way to see the world.



More than 13.5 million parcels were processed through NZ Post's Southern Operations Centre in its first year on the airport campus. There's 22 dedicated parcel flights in and out every week, with more added after long weekends, holidays and pre-Christmas when online shopping increases. The new $8 million facility at the airport means freight planes taxi right up to warehouses where the parcels are checked, scanned and distributed to waiting delivery vehicles which then travel across the South Island.


A mountain of previously unrecyclable plastic has been turned into a roading material and laid outside our Airport Fire Station. Called PlastiPhalt®, the product has been developed by Fulton Hogan chopping thousands of plastic oil containers into small chips and adding them to asphalt. It has been laid in large test areas for our 60-tonne fire trucks to drive over several times a day and should last for about 15 years, then can be recycled all over again.


NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, known as SOFIA, spent eight weeks based at this airport over winter. The Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 106-inch diameter telescope completed 25 overnight flights to study celestial objects. Observations included targets that are too low to observe or not visible at all from the Northern Hemisphere, including our neighbouring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, and Saturn's moon Titan.


Kids are literally jumping up and down at our new Kids' Zone in the International Arrivals Hall! The activity area features a giant world map where children can write their name on a magnet to show where they come from, as well as world clocks with the times of 14 destinations you can fly to from here, plus fun games like hopscotch, coin-tosses and a scavenger hunt through the garden to find the caterpillars, lady bugs and flowers.


The summer season will see two of our airline partners flying new aircraft here. Singapore Airlines will fly its Airbus A350 and China Southern Airlines will fly its new Boeing Dreamliner 787-9. Both airlines fly here daily and up to twice daily from Singapore over the peak of summer. The new aircraft will mean more international connections for South Islanders, as well as more arriving visitors wanting to see our place in the world. We call that a win-win!


The best thing about a holiday in Bali? You don't have to say no to yourself.

That's according to Kelly Gainsford from House of Travel Merivale, who's just back from her sixth holiday there.

It was her first visit with her children, and she says the whole family can't stop talking about it.

"It's a cultural experience and I like being able to buy great food at prices that make it feasible to eat every meal out," she says. "I don't spend a lot there to have a great holiday and I don't feel I have to count my dollars as I do in other places."

Kelly says Bali "must-dos" are much the same with children or without.

"Without children, we used to end the day in a rooftop bar, drinking cocktails and watching the sunset. With children, we watched the sunset from the beach, with other families on bean bags, with big lanterns, relaxed people and a lovely atmosphere.

"The food is amazing. I can probably name a hundred places to eat and every one has delicious Asian fusion treats.

"We had a phenomenal day at the Waterbom Bali Water Park. There's lots of attractions and rides and everyone had a big smile on their face."

Kelly's children learned to surf on holiday, taking advantage of the warm water and surf schools with experienced teachers.

Many hotels have a beachfront or a beach club, and there's a wide price range - including a private villa, or luxurious suite with butler service.

Kelly says if you fancy holidaying like royalty, you might book a full day spa experience.

"There's lots of places to get a massage. More basic massages start around $9 an hour or you could splurge around $15 an hour to get more experienced therapists."

Kelly recommends at least a week in Bali for the first visit, but says two weeks would be perfect.

"We like to stay in Seminyak, and after a week there, I'd recommend about three days in Ubud, to see the rain forests, go rafting or perhaps book into a yoga retreat."

Kelly says a holiday in Bali is a glorious treat that will not break the bank.

"Balinese people are lovely, everything is accessible, the atmosphere is calm... and did I mention the food is fabulous?" she laughs.

You can fly daily from Christchurch to Brisbane, with easy onward connections to Denpasar, Bali.


Visitors and residents are observing new developments in central Christchurch from a different angle.

They are kayaking the Avon River, exploring what Christchurch Sea Kayaking owner Katarina Te Maiharoa describes as "our gem."

"There's not many western cities which have the aftermath of an earthquake scene, so that makes Christchurch super interesting," she says. "All cities are similar, so people are really engaged when I point out derelict buildings and the Red Zone. It brings up deep feelings as they understand the magnitude of what happened here, and of being in a very special place and time."

Katarina started her company after years in the outdoor industry.

"I saw the potential in the Avon River and wanted to draw people back into the city to experience the nature within, and to explore the Red Zone in a unique way. The best thing for me is being able to stay local and do what I love, while showing off the best parts of Christchurch."

Katarina offers three tours, using different sections of the Avon River, but all guided and using double sea kayaks for ease and stability.

"The shortest tour is Te Toru Nui - The Big Three, kayaking through the Botanic Gardens, the city centre and the Red Zone.

"During the City to Estuary tour, we kayak from the Margaret Mahy playground, through the Red Zone and into the estuary, to finish at South New Brighton Park with a wonderful view of the Port Hills.

"The longest tour is the City to Sea, from the city to the estuary, then between sand banks and wading birds to finish at Moncks Bay, with a gorgeous view to the Pacific Ocean."

Katarina says tourists want an authentic experience in Christchurch, while residents like to see the changes in their backyard and to experience their local river.

Katarina shares her Waitaha culture as she kayaks.

"I enjoy sharing the stories, karakia and whakataukī (proverbs), beliefs and understanding of our people, to help people feel connected to our natural surroundings and history."


The headline "450km of Spectacular" says it all, but exploring the Alpine Pacific Touring Route means you can choose which type of spectacular you prefer.

There's Family Fun, Adventure, Food & Wine and Rustic Romance, all offering unforgettable scenery and experiences.

Shane Adcock of Hurunui Tourism says the Alpine Pacific Touring Route (APT) itineraries head north from Christchurch for two to five days of driving through South Island splendour.

"We suggest people dream, plan and book," he says. "The website details each day's highlights in mobile, digital and downloadable options."

Shane says some visitors prefer the sprawling green forests and surf beaches, others are more tempted by the North Canterbury/Waipara wine and food scene.

"There really is something for everyone. Visitors say they love lounging under the stars in the pools at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, or swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura - and after exploring the coast and back country, others find a dose of city life among Christchurch's many new attractions invigorating.

"The five-day Family Fun route keeps kids entertained and parents exploring, with such things as playing in real snow, swimming under waterfalls, playing on a beach, enjoying a picnic or feeding lions!

"Three days of Adventure includes marine wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seals and albatross - with plenty of adrenalin stimulus too."

Some of the country's best Food & Wine is included in the three-day tour of city cafés, Farmers' Market stalls, vineyards and seafood sellers, alongside R&R to re-charge the batteries.

The three-day Rustic Romance centres on Christchurch, Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura. Highlights include wining and dining in the North Canterbury wine region, thermal pools, rejuvenating spa and wellness treatments, horse trekking and whale spotting.

Shane says many overseas visitors say the perfect introduction to their touring holiday is kicking back at an award-winning vineyard only 40 minutes' drive from Christchurch Airport - it really sets the tone for a few unforgettable days.


When Mike Gilbert walked away from international corporate life, he looked for a special place to launch a special business. He found both in Marlborough.

While touring the South Island for three weeks, he decided the best way to see the scenery was on a motorcycle. A year later, he's a director of Blenheim-based company Beatnik Motorsport, renting Ducati Scramblers to motorcyclists from all over the world.

"They want a fun motorcycle experience within their South Island holiday," he says. "Ducatis have a mystique about them, a sense of romance and excitement. They're high-end bikes, easy to ride and perfect for Marlborough and South Island roads."

Mike and his team create tours for each customer and he says the most popular tour is two days from Marlborough, through Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs, Springs Junction, Murchison and back.

As well as American, Canadian, German, French, British and Australian customers, among others, Mike has put smiles on the faces of several local customers.

"We've rented bikes to ex-pats returning home, people showing visiting friends or family around, and locals celebrating a special event with a fun day or weekend. Collectors of classic motorcycles have rented the Ducatis for a good ride on safe winding roads. Most customers arrive in twos or threes, some are away a week, and they all come back saying they loved the scenery and the freedom and have great photos of the experience."

Mike grew up in Canada riding dirt bikes and motocross, before a career in the oil and gas industry took him all over the world. He's still an avid traveller and has big dreams for the company, but for now, enjoys sharing his knowledge and new home with other travellers. To rent and ride, customers must be 25 years old+ with a valid motorcycle licence. Tours are usually self-guided, but guides are available, and both Beatnik Motorsport and Ducati offer back-up assistance.

"We get overwhelmingly positive feedback, so we know we are onto something," he says.


What may be the wedding gift to beat all wedding gifts lives on in Canterbury as an example of luxury, charm and good taste - literally.

Otahuna Lodge, on the outskirts of Christchurch, was built in 1895 by Sir Heaton Rhodes, as a wedding gift for his wife. Today it is New Zealand's largest private historic residence, modernised to combine luxury accommodation, sophisticated cuisine, a wellness retreat and glorious gardens.

Owner and Managing Director Hall Cannon says the refurbished Victorian mansion sits within New Zealand's largest private estate.

"The gardens were originally planted in the 1890s by a team from Kew Gardens," he says.

"Since we moved here in 2006, we have modernised the gardens by removing self-sown plants, replacing underplanting, and adding irrigation, lighting and sculptures.

"The gardens are an integral part of the food we serve in the Lodge. We grow about 140 organic fruits, nuts, vegetables and mushrooms on the estate, to offer our guests a taste of the absolute best of New Zealand."

Throughout the year, groups of 20 or more people can book a tour of the gardens, including the daffodil field, woodlands, rhododendrons and a lawn that has hosted garden parties, polo matches and royalty.

Hall says Otahuna's guests take a keen interest in the Lodge.

"Whether the guest is from New Zealand, Australia, America, Canada or the UK, they know there aren't many great historic homes in this country, so they want to see how an historic building can find a modern purpose.

"We pride ourselves on providing high-end accommodation for our guests, who generally stay three or four nights to explore Canterbury. That might be Banks Peninsula on an e-bike, helicopter into the Southern Alps, fly fishing, horseback riding, or Waipara's boutique vineyards, and when they return we have a specially tailored experience waiting for them."

Before the guests arrive, the Otahuna team will know their likes and dislikes, allergies and preferences, so each night's degustation dining, matched to New Zealand wines, will be personalised.

"We prepare the best of what they like in a way that can only happen in New Zealand," Hall says. "Many of our guests experience amazing hospitality wherever they go, so we blend what they expect with the Kiwi touch to blow them away. We enjoy hearing comments like 'Wow - I didn't know things would be this great in New Zealand'."

Otahuna Lodge hosts eight to ten weddings a year in the grounds and ballroom, and it seems only fitting, given the setting was originally a wedding gift. A gift that keeps on giving today.


If you or your child yearn to take the controls of a big digger, good news! Your dream can come true in Invercargill.

'Dig This Invercargill' is literally a ground-breaking heavy equipment playground, where you can drive big machinery and make the earth move.

Lex Chisholm, the attraction's manager, says it's the first of its type in New Zealand and based on 'Dig This Las Vegas' which was started by a Kiwi. Now almost one year old, the machinery is all new and the feedback from happy visitors is outstandingly positive, with comments such as "epic", "thrilling", "awesome", and "10/10" on the feedback channels.

"People of all ages love this place because it's all about fun," Lex says. "Children from four years old learn on the smaller static equipment and many don't want to leave - but it's not only little boys and girls who want to drive diggers! We host social groups, corporate team building sessions, groups of friends and lots of tourists. They all get to operate our bulldozers, excavators and skid steers in a giant gravel pit. Sometimes it can get pretty competitive, especially between husbands and wives and I must say, women are really good at the car crushing," Lex said.

Yes, car crushing… to date, hundreds of cars have been crushed in what is light-heartedly called an Aggression Session. A large excavator makes short work of a car and leads to satisfied screams and a lot of laughter from the new digger operators.

Thousands of visitors have already tried their hand at the controls of the heavy machinery and Lex says the safety briefing beforehand, and instructors in headphone contact with the novice drivers, means everyone knows what they're doing.

No licences are needed and kids aged 4+ can enjoy the mini diggers, while everyone 14+ can ride any big machine, meaning almost everyone can find a challenge to earn a certificate and photo which just might take pride of place on the mantel.

"We love knowing everyone who comes here has a great time and for many it is a dream come true," Lex laughs. "Our visitors have fun, do something they dream of and leave laughing and smiling. That makes us smile too and is a great outcome for everyone."


There was a time when beer was brewed only by men, but Tracy Banner is one of the women who changed that.

While it's still a male dominated industry, Tracy is the Head Brewer at Nelson-based Sprig & Fern, owns the brewery with her husband, and has a swag of medals to show for her efforts.

"I did well at sciences at school in England and was fortunate to get a job in the laboratory of a large brewery," she says. "I learned the intricacies of beer, what makes a good beer, and understood the technical makeup of beer before I learnt the brewing process."

During her 25 years in New Zealand, Tracy has developed a reputation for innovative tastes for beer drinkers - including herself.

"Beer is my preferred alcoholic beverage because there are so many styles to choose from and I enjoy the complexities of the flavours. My favourite from our range is the Harvest Pilsner, which is made from fresh hops, rather than dried ones. The hops are picked at their best, taken from vines in fields about 15 minutes away and in the brew quickly, to make the most of their high levels of aromatics that gives the pilsner its distinct flavour and aroma."

It is clearly a winning recipe. It's New Zealand's highest awarded pilsner, winning a gold medal four years in a row from the Brewers Guild of New Zealand.

The brewery supplies a chain of Sprig & Fern taverns, where up to 18 craft beers and ciders are available to drink - and included in some of the food on offer (Harvest Pilsner has been used by Sprig & Fern Tahuna Tavern chef Scott Hopwood in the recipe provided.)

"There's a lot of beer for sale in liquor stores and off-premises, so having our own outlets is a natural extension of what we do," Tracy says. "The food is always complementary to the beers and ciders, and the taverns are all about good conversation with good food and beverage. You won't find pokies at Sprig & Fern taverns."

Tracy says cider has become popular in recent years, especially with women who like different flavour choices.

"Cider is no longer just based on apples. The addition of other fruits and spices means cider appeals to women who like a change from wine and a range of flavours."

Tracy says she is proud of the Sprig & Fern team. "They work together very well to make great products, and then going to one of our taverns and seeing people drinking our products gives me such a sense of achievement."

Wild Venison Osso Bucco with Lemon, Parsley & Giant Gnocchi
Serves 2
4 hours cooking time

1x 500ml bottle Sprig & Fern Harvest Pilsner
4x venison Osso Bucco shanks
2 carrots, medium diced
1 white onion, medium diced
4 cloves garlic, rough cut
1x 400g tin of diced tomatoes
100g plain flour
60ml olive oil
15g butter
Pinch Marlborough sea salt flakes

Coat venison in flour. In a large deep pan, add olive oil and butter over a high heat. Once smoking point is reached add the venison and colour to a crisp golden brown. Add the carrot, onion and garlic to the venison and fry until they get a caramel colour.

Slowly pour in your bottle of Sprig & Fern Harvest Pilsner and let it reduce for 10-15 minutes.

Transfer the goods from your pan to a medium to large oven proof pot/tray (preferably terracotta), then add the tomatoes and sea salt. Bake in the oven at 140°C for around 3.5 hours, until the meat is flaking off the bone.


2 large peeled Agria potatoes
250g plain flour
1 egg
Finely grated rind of one lemon
A pinch of nutmeg
1 small bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
60ml olive oil
15g butter

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, cook potatoes until tender but still firm. Drain, cool and mash until smooth.

Combine mash, flour, egg, lemon rind, nutmeg and parsley in a large bowl to form a dough. Knead dough and then section into quarters with a knife.

On a floured surface, roll each section into a 'snake' of dough about 3cm thick and cut into 3cm lengths. Repeat for all sections.

Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches for four minutes until gnocchi floats to the top. Remove with slotted spoon. Drain well.

In a saucepan, add olive oil and butter, cook till butter browns, then add gnocchi and colour till crisp and golden.



Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
September 22

This road running event is listed in Runner's World magazine as one of the world's most beautiful road marathons. Alongside the beauty is challenge for all abilities, including a marathon, half marathon, 10km and 5km road running events along lake, mountain and glacial landscapes.

October 11 - 26

Some of the country's top musicians and performers line up among international acts for free and ticketed events. Silly theatre for children, music, dance and performances will later come together for the Masked Parade and Carnivale on Friday 26, this year themed Weird and Wonderful.

November 10

Assemble your clan for one of the biggest Scottish festivals in the Southern Hemisphere. Watch an international field of strong men compete in the Oceania Heavyweight Championship, be amazed when more than 100 Highland Dancers fling, or step up to try to toss a caber, play a tune on the pipes, or whirl a Scottish Country Dancer.

November 11

Embrace the child within… and love the mud! Slither and slide around in mud like you have always wanted to. Sign up with your Muddy Buddy and negotiate the slippery slide, wriggle under the cargo net and race the gauntlet through the zigzag.

Due to unforeseen circumstances the 2018 Marlborough Muddy Buddy has been re-scheduled. 

The event is now due to take place in February 2019 - exact date to be confirmed.

November 17

Run, crawl, climb and slide your way around all kinds of obstacles in the stunning surrounds of South Bay, Kaikoura. Sport Tasman offers you three races to choose from, so something for everyone! There's plenty of the fun factor, with more water, mud and suds - so whether you are a serious competitor or just for laughs, give it a go.

Banks Peninsula
November 17 - 18

Called Inside Out, because you will get a peek inside a wide range of heavenly homes, bespoke backyards and gorgeous gardens. This is the biennial garden tour Akaroa is well known for, with favourite famous gardens alongside new ones added this year. Get a group together and drive the peninsula tour.