Top 7 Views In Canterbury

Editorial Hot List Inspiration

Our guide to the best Instagram shots in Canterbury, New Zealand

We've spent a fair amount of time exploring Canterbury and along the way have taken alot of photos of some of the most spectacular scenery that you'll find anywhere on the planet. We'd therefore like to share (in our opinion) the top 7 views in Canterbury.

1.  Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki is a breathtaking sight and an instagrammer's must visit location.  It's a handy stop on the drive between Christchurch and Queenstown and offers fabulous views of impossibly turquoise water framed by the snow capped mountains of Mount Cook National Park in the distance.

2.  Mount Cook National Park

Continuing past Lake Pukaki and into Mount Cook National Park, you are spoilt for choice for stunning views.  Home to 19 of New Zealand's 20 highest peaks, including the highest, Aoraki (Mount Cook), the drive into Mount Cook Village provides plenty of photo taking opportunites.  There's also plenty of walks from the village itself to capture the mountain scenery. 

3.  Lake Tekapo

Less than an hour's drive to Mount Cook, Lake Tekapo is the second-largest of three lakes in Mackenzie Basin, and just a 45 minute drive from Lake Pukaki and an hour's drive to Lake Ohau.  The lake covers an area of 83 square kilometres.  Drive up the road to the summit of Mount John where there is an astronomical observatory, grab a coffee in the cafe and start snapping away.

4.  Arthur's Pass

Arthur's Pass National Park is at the heart of the South Island, between the West Coast and Canterbury.  Covering over 1,000 square kilometres, it's a park of two halves, with heavy rainforest and gorges to the west, and more accessible valleys and river beds to the east.  As you drive towards Arthur's Pass Village in the park, take your pick of where to pull over and get your phone/camera out.

5.  Christchurch Gondola

Ever wondered what New Zealand's 'Garden City' of Christchurch looks like from above?  Today, thousands of visitors a year take the dramatic journey to the top of Mount Cavendish on the Christchurch Gondola, where they enjoy bird's-eye views of the city's central districts and sweeping panoramas of Lyttelton Harbour, Pegasus Bay and the mighty Southern Alps.

6.  Akaroa

Akaroa is a  french influenced harbour town in the heart of the Banks Peninsula.  Located in the middle of a volcanic crater, the harbour is a popular place for wildlife cruises to spot seals, dolphins, penguins, birds and further out to sea, whales.  The pretty and much photographed lighthouse, dramatic hills in the background and the bobbing boats of the harbour all add up to make it a favourite spot to photograph.

7.  Christchurch Botanic Gardens

When you visit the 'Garden City' of New Zealand, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens provides visitors with 21 hectares of gardens, walking paths, a rose garden, and plenty of plants and flowers.  The jewell in the crown is the Avon River as it meanders through the park populated with punts and tourists enjoying a slow and scenic tour.  It's an obvious choice to include in our list, but deserving none the less.