One Hour From: Christchurch - New Zealand

How to see the world's smallest penguin: bungee jump

Discover a world of fine wines, rare dolphins, thermal spas and New Zealand's highest bungee.

Discover a world of fine wines, rare dolphins, thermal spas and New Zealand's highest bungee.

Akaroa

Sleepy Akaroa boasts a quaint blend of historic French and British architecture along with a peaceful harbour side location. This was once strictly Maori territory and home of the supreme Kai Tahu chief. Popular with New Zealand holiday-makers, much of the housing consists of baches, the Kiwi name for holiday homes. Street with French names are filled with art galleries, cafés and restaurants with Kiwi home cooking. Pick up a leaflet and follow the Historic Village Walk to take in the major historical sights.

By car: take State Highway 75 south east; journey time approx 1 hour.

Banks Peninsula

Discover the majestic scenery and stunning wildlife of the Bank Peninsula on a Canterbury Cat cruise from Akaroa Harbour. Look out for the rare, native dolphins and look out for the White Flippered Little Blue Penguin, the world's smallest penguin, and other sea birds. Visit the Cathedral Cave and early Maori, French and British settlements. Cruises depart daily at 1.30pm.

By car: take State Highway 75 south east; journey time approx 1 hour.

Waipara Wine Valley

Wine lovers enjoy a taste bud sensation at Waipara Wine Valley, New Zealand's newest and most rapidly expanding wine areas. With high sunshine hours, gentle north facing slopes and a wide range of soils, the Waipara Valley has 14 well-established wineries. Have a spot of lunch and a glass or two of the finest sauvignon blanc at Weepier Springs. Pick up a Winemakers of Waipara map from the Waipara Visitor Centre and plan your route.

By car: take State Highway 1 and follow signs; journey time approx 45 mins.

Ashburton District

Kea Rock Bungee at the end of the Mt Hutt ski area carpark is New Zealand's highest bungee. Thrill-seekers jump off a 40m high platform, then ski away. For an adventure, try a rafting trip down New Zealand's most challenging river, the Rangitata, with fervent Grade Five rapids.For the complete tracking experience, Mt Somers Walkway offers either a two-hour stroll or two-day track.

By car: take State Highway 73 west and follow signs; journey time approx 1 hour.

Hanmer Springs Alpine Village

Refresh body and soul in the thermal pool or dip into golf, jet-boating, skiing, river and sea fishing, 4-wheel motorbike safaris and rafting. You can bungee jump here too, dropping 35m from the Waiau Ferry Bridge, a spectacular feat of engineering designed by John Blackett in 1887.

By car: take State Highway 1 and follow signs; journey time 1 hour plus.

Maori Rock Drawings at the Waimakariri Basin

Stop off en-route to Arthur's Pass to view Maori drawings carved into limestone rock formations as you drive towards the Southern Alps. Left by Maori moa hunters around 500 years ago, the faded charcoal and red ochre drawings depict humans, birds and myths. Inspiring views within the Basin include rugged peaks and native tussock grasslands. If you fancy a thrill here, stop off at Springfield, and take a spin in one of the high-speed jet boats, which speed down the Waimakariri Gorge.

By car: take State Highway 73 and follow signs; journey time 1 hour plus.

A stay at the Orari Hotel costs £25 per person per night through Quest Travel (0870 442 3513). Pacific class flights to Christchurch from Heathrow with Air New Zealand (0800 028 4149; www.airnewzealand.co.uk) cost from £689. Car hire is from £16 a day. Tourism New Zealand: ( www.purenz.com; 09069 101010, £1 per minute).

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