The Greenwood Guide to New Zealand
Canterbury, New Zealand

Culture and History in Canterbury, New Zealand

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The Giant’s House and Sculpture Garden

Akaroa

Arts & crafts

Linton was christened ‘the giant’s house’ when a small child, gazing up at the imposing home from the valley below, declared it must belong to a giant because it was so big. Today, surprises abound in its glorious garden. Artist Josie's elegant, abstract sculptures are a seriously playful, whimsical and flamboyant celebration of life. Welded steel sculptures and extraordinary mosaics on steps and a sculptural wall sit comfortably amongst colourful terraces of roses, vegetables, citrus fruits and flowers. This is a unique and an all-round creative feast of an experience!

The Giant’s House and Sculpture Garden
  • Prices: Come between 2pm - 4pm for a tour. Refer to www.thegiantshouse.co.nz for current prices.
  • Contact: 68 Rue Balguerie, Akaroa
  • Tel: 03-304-7501
  • Email: info@linton.co.nz
  • Web: www.linton.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Akaroa Farm Tours

Akaroa

Farms

Spend the afternoon meeting Murray, the sixth generation of Johnses at Paua Bay, and more sheep than you can shake your welly (boot) at. This is the place to experience real rural NZ life and to get to know the creatures that are such a big part of it. You’ll watch Murray work the sheepdogs who’ll work the sheep who’ll then be worked upon by the sheep-shearers. Afterwards there’s tea and scones in the beautiful homestead garden delightfully topping off this personal, interactive and refreshingly authentic tour.

Akaroa Farm Tours
  • Prices: Adults $55 and children $35 for a two and a half hour tour, includes tea and scones.
  • Contact: Paua Bay Hillcountry Farm, 113 Beach Road, Akaroa
  • Tel: 03-304-7170
  • Fax: 03-304-7170
  • Cel: 021-304-315
  • Email: info@akaroafarmtours.com
  • Web: www.akaroafarmtours.com
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Akaroa Guided Walks

Akaroa

History tours

Suky is a great guide. She’s entertaining, passionate about her subject and is always dressed for the part (quite literally in her 19th-century costumes). Walk through the streets of Akaroa and study their names and buildings for clues to its past and unique French history. You’ll hear tales of early whalers, Captain Langlois and many other colourful characters from whom many locals descend today. Suky also offers longer walks to the town's interesting cemeteries or half-day hiking trips into the largely open, pastoral landscape of the peninsula where the hard work of climbing all those hills is constantly rewarded with truly magnificent views.

Akaroa Guided Walks
  • Prices: Guided historic walks: $30 pp for a personally-guided, one-hour walk in town streets, but make sure you pre-book. Her tour on audio guide can be hired for $10 pp from the information centre in town (open daily) without pre-booking.
  • Contact: 59 Tizzards Road, Robinsons Bay, Akaroa
  • Tel: 03-304-7733
  • Email: suky@akaroawalks.co.nz
  • Web: www.akaroawalks.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Jack Tregear New Zealand Tours

Christchurch

History tours

Tour-guide, author and historian extraordinaire Jack Tregear, is a dyed-in-the-wool Christchurch resident and direct descendant from some of Canterbury’s original settlers. “What he doesn't know hasn't been done”, or so say GG stalwarts Leonard and Stephanie from The Weston House. His tours cover most of the region, focusing on what life would have been like for the European settlers. And yes, there are even a couple of battlefields. Well skirmish-fields, actually.

  • Prices: Dependent on the tour. E-mail for more details.
  • Contact: 20 Birchwood Close, Prebbleton, Christchurch
  • Tel: 03-344-5588
  • Fax: 03-344-5588
  • Cel: 027-5320-951
  • Email: jt@jtnztours.co.nz
  • Web: www.jtnztours.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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International Antarctic Centre

Christchurch

Museums

From Scott to Shackleton, explorers have long used Christchurch as a gateway to the ‘Great White South’. Re-creating its atmosphere and environment, this attraction provides people with the opportunity to experience the awesome Antarctic continent in a fun, interactive way without the need for all that cold, dangerous travel and disgusting powdered food. Wander through Scott’s base, peer into the eyes of crazy-looking Antarctic fish in the aquarium, see Little Blue penguins in NZ's first indoor/outdoo penguin viewing area, ride over crevices in a Hagglund amphibious vehicle, dress up in survival clothing and sit astride a skidoo or, best of all, get ‘exchillerated’ (their word not mine!) in the ‘Antarctic Storm’, a snow and ice extravaganza with stunning lightning, authentic storm audio and 40km/h winds. Blows every 30 mins, coats and over-shoe boots provided, hairbrushes afterwards are not.

International Antarctic Centre
  • Prices: Winter: April - Sept 9am - 5.30pm; $25 adult, $15 child. Summer hours: Oct - Mar 9am - 7pm; $30 adult, $25 child. Concessions and family rates apply, under 5's go free. Hagglund Ride and snow audio phone extra.
  • Contact: 38 Orchard Road, Christchurch, Canterbury
  • Tel: 03-353-7798
  • Fax: 03-353-7799
  • Email: info@iceberg.co.nz
  • Web: www.iceberg.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Canterbury Museum

Christchurch

Museums

Antarctic exploration, early colonial settlements, Maori life and ancient fauna are all well exhibited within this beautiful, elderly, garden-set building. Although I’m not a huge fan of taxidermy I was quite astounded to see a giant moa among other incredible stuffed creatures and insects.

  • Prices: Entry by donation.
  • Contact: Rolleston Ave, Entrance to the Botanic Gardens
  • Tel: 03-366-5000
  • Web: www.canterburymuseum.com
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum

Okains Bay

Museums

Maori and colonial history come together in this extensive and fascinating museum. The Maori artefact building houses some of its rarest objects including a sacred god stick that dates back to 1400, an 1867 war canoe and a valuable greenstone hei tiki (neck garment) recovered in England and brought back to Okains Bay by the museum's founder. The displays of early pioneering life are great for kids, who can visit a working blacksmith's shop, a print shop, a slab cottage and try out traditional horse-drawn gigs and carts. This really is an amazing exhibition of life in early New Zealand. Each year on the 6th February, Okains Bay commemorates the signing of Waitangi Treaty with a traditional Maori welcome and the arrival of the museum waka (or canoe).

Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum
  • Prices: Adult $6, child $2. Open 10am - 5pm daily (except Christmas Day).
  • Contact: Main Road, Okains Bay, Banks Peninsula
  • Tel: 03-304-8611
  • Email: okains.museum@xtra.co.nz
  • Web: www.bankspeninsula.com
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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