Christchurch, despite the earthquakes, remains a resilient city of expansive parks, botanical gardens and gorgeous beaches. Hikers and mountain climbers are drawn to the towering mountain peaks and glaciers of Mount Cook National Park and the serene valleys and tracks of Arthurs's Pass. Lake Tekapo is a renowned stargazing spot while the whales and seals are the stars to gaze at in Kaikoura. The quaint coastal town of Akaora remains the gem of the banks peninsula to the east of Christchuch.The Canterbury region is one of contrasting natural beauty and vibrant city life. Two national parks, the Canterbury plains, eye-catching turquoise lakes, beautiful sandy beaches, pretty coastal villages, whale watching, and the 'garden city' of Christchurch are all waiting to be discovered.