Things to do in
Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area

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Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area: Our most recommended tours and activities

Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

1. Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

Leaving Christchurch via the "Great Alpine Highway", you'll cross the flat farmland of the Canterbury Plains towards the mountains. Halfway across the plains you will discover the small rural town of Darfield, where you will enjoy a short stop which will allow you to sample some of the local delicacies from the famous Darfield Bakery. Your next stop is Springfield, just 20 minutes down the road. Complete with its giant doughnut statue it's well worth a photo, and your guide will explain just how the town ended up with this giant doughnut. From Springfield the road winds its way up over Porters Pass at 900 meters, before continuing past Lake Lyndon and arriving at Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti. This area is an amazing labyrinth of giant limestone boulders that sit in the Craigieburn Basin, surrounded by mountains. The area is rich with cultural and recreational significance and has a Tōpuni status of a "symbolic cloak of protection”. It is also known internationally as a world-class climbing, bouldering, photography, and film-making destination. Your guide will show you around and explain the geography and cultural significance of the area, before sitting you down for a picnic lunch. Following lunch you will have free time to explore the boulder fields in your own time, before meeting back at the car park at 2:00PM. From there, your return journey back to Christchurch takes approximately 1.5-2 hours.

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From Christchurch: Day Trip to Arthur's Pass

2. From Christchurch: Day Trip to Arthur's Pass

Get picked up from your hotel in Christchurch and dropped off at the train station to embark on a stunning ride to Arthur's Pass aboard the TranzAlpine train. Admire the incredible natural scenery from panoramic windows and open air viewing decks before hopping off to meet your guide again. Enjoy lunch at a local cafe and explore the village of Arthur's Pass. Take advantage of your guide's recommendations for some popular walks in the National Park with incredible views. Then drive down to Otira Viaduct which provides impressive views of red flowering rata in summer months. Keep your eyes peeled for the inquisitive Kea (alpine parrot) well known for its cheeky nature. On your return journey, travel by road in a luxurious minivan, making a few scenic stops on the way. Take a coffee break and capture stunning mirror images at Lake Pearson. Then wander through the towering limestone rock formations at Castle Hill Conservation Area that make it one of the best bouldering locations in the world. Stretch your legs one last time at Lake Lyndon, which regularly freezes in the winter months. Return back to Christchurch and get dropped off at your accommodation.

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Christchurch: Guided Cave Stream and Castle Hill Tour

3. Christchurch: Guided Cave Stream and Castle Hill Tour

Your tour starts by following the "great alpine highway" west from Christchurch across the Canterbury Plains. After 45 minutes it will be time for a short break in the small rural town of Darfield. The Darfield Bakery is an excellent example of New Zealand cuisine, and a great place to pick up morning tea. Leaving Darfield and continuing west towards the Southern Alp's over Porters Pass, you will pass Lake Lyndon before arriving at Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti. Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti is one of New Zealand's most spectacular natural wonders. Whilst there your guide will show you around and explain to you why the area holds so much spiritual, recreational, and geological significance. You'll then enjoy a picnic lunch, tea, and coffee, which will be served amongst the boulders by your guide. After some free time, meet your guide back at the carpark for the short drive down to Cave Stream. Once having arrived at Cave Stream, your guide will kit you out with caving gear and provide you with a safety briefing before you head down to the cave entrance. The 600-meter limestone cave follows an underground river and takes most groups 45-60 minutes to complete. Inside the limestone cave, the crystal clear water flows through large chambers and over some small waterfall steps. The cave gets as narrow as a standard hallway, and you can always stand up whilst inside. Hot drinks and afternoon tea will be provided afterwards back at the carpark, before you head back towards Christchurch. On the way back, a short break in Springfield allows for a photo with the giant doughnut, which your guide will explain the background of. Back in Christchurch, you will be dropped off back to either your hotel or the meeting point at the Canterbury Museum in the city center.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area

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What people are saying about Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area

Great trip and great guide. The guide was very knowledgable and surprised us with special features such as snacks for the trip.