The first thought many people have about Christchurch is the incredible scenery and wildlife that call the region home. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the awe and wonder of seeing these unique and interesting animals in person, but outside of the activities and adventures in Christchurch, there are other parts to visit and take part in. Namely, Christchurch showcases the best in fine wines made at top wineries and vineyards in New Zealand.

As you tour the wineries, take part in a winery tour or visit the Wine & Food Festival, you’ll be able to sample internationally acclaimed wines such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Pack your taste buds and get ready to experience flavours and wines in Christchurch that will blow you out of the water.

North Canterbury Food & Wine Trail

Located a quick 45 minutes north of Christchurch, Waipara Wine Valley is a well-known North Canterbury destination. The Waipara Valley is perfect for a weekend getaway full of relaxation, wine, food and a lazy Sunday morning wandering the vines.

Start off your day of wine tasting and dining at Pegasus Bay Winery and Waipara Springs Winery. There’s a reason North Canterbury is New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region—the wines speak for themselves and are quickly gaining popularity. Currently, the wineries in this small region are producing a whopping 250,000 cases of wine every year.

Selwyn Food and Wine Trail

Selwyn district has incredibly scenery and a commitment to community production. There are local farmer’s markets, restaurants, cafes, wineries and of course, accommodations across the district. You can spend as little or as much time as you want here, enjoying the refreshing wine.

If you have an entire day to explore Selwyn, try starting at Lone Goat to taste some local wines and relax. Then, you can visit the Hazelnut Company for some delicious Italian cheese tastings. Stop for lunch at the Langdale Vineyard Restaurant and finish out your day unwinding at Tresillian or True & Daring for a final wine tasting of the day.

Mid-Canterbury Food & Wine Trail

Set against stunning scenic backdrops, a journey on the Mid-Canterbury Trail will reward you with fresh flavours, unbelievable wine and world-class dining. You’ll taste handmade chocolates along with your local Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir and get smaller tastes of local honey and locally-produced goods. The climate in Mid-Canterbury is the perfect ripening environment for grapes, so there are an abundance of wineries to visit as you pass through.

In the small country towns and villages there are people with a true passion for creating stunning wine and food from the fertile land of Mid-Canterbury. Try CharRees Vineyard for a Cellar Door tasting, and then pair delicious New Zealand wine with a superb dinner at The Lake House Restaurant or The Last Post or Terrace Downs. Whichever restaurant you choose, you will not leave disappointed.

South Canterbury Food & Wine Trail

The newest member on the food and wine scene, South Canterbury is a picturesque area full of rich, fertile lands amidst rolling hills and incredible mountains and lakes. There are sumptuous desserts around every corner and local fruits that make the region’s nickname, “the food bowl,” make perfect sense. The flavours that come out of restaurants and wineries here really emphasise the fresh, natural environment the food comes from.

If you are able to get a guided tour of the region, you’re guaranteed to see and taste the best of the best as the local operators will provide friendly service specifically for small groups looking to enjoy the delicious, locally-produced food and wine. Try starting at Opihi Vineyard & Café or the Point Bush Estates Winery & Vineyard to start off your time in South Canterbury.

A visit to Christchurch wouldn’t be complete without a hearty dose of their exceptional food and wine selections. Bring a hearty appetite, a fresh palate and an open mind to make the most of Christchurch’s dining experience. Consider comprehensive travel insurance as an option to ensure all parts of your holiday—active and relaxed—are out of harm’s way.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Nadia Morgan.