There’s much more to Canterbury than just Christchurch, particularly along the coast.
A beautiful former French settlement in the heart of the stunning Banks Peninsula (named after Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook’s first journey to New Zealand). Home to one of the smallest cinemas I’ve been in (though the 16 seat second screen at Academy Cinema in Auckland remains the winner, just!) and a very good local museum. Heading along Summit Road is one of the best ways to appreciate the scale and shape of the peninsula, very obviously the remains of a huge volcano.
Oahu Point seal colony
A very New Zealand thing, a large colony of wild seals by a main road. I wouldn’t recommend getting too close to them though, best appreciated from the cliff above.
The place for whale watching but worth visiting in its own right for the stunning views along the east coast from the peninsula walkway and Fyffe House, literally built on whales bones and next to the remains of a former whaling station.
The best train journey in New Zealand, travelling from Christchurch and the Canterbury plains, across the Southern Alps via Arthur’s Pass and through the Otira tunnel, and over to Greymouth in 4 & 1/2 hours. The new KiwiRail trains are very comfortable, with unusually clean windows for a train, reducing the need to use the exciting if windswept open sided carriage for taking photos.