Canterbury’s wine region produces some of New Zealand’s best drops, so it’s only right you take your sweet time exploring the vineyards.
The family owned and operated Pegasus Bay winery (pictured) is a must for all visiting the Canterbury region. Since the early 1970s the Donaldson family have been producing fine wines, many of which have won them international awards. Visit for a sophisticated lunch and order the baked ricotta with smoked beetroot, black olive, pistachio and basil followed by the potato gnocchi, roasted beetroot, Parmesan veloutè and candied walnut. On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than sitting outside, admiring the grounds and enjoying a strikingly artistic meal accompanied by a sublime pinot noir.
Black Estate was established in 1994 and exudes a refined rustic atmosphere to go with its majestic vineyard views. Stop by for an intimate, refined lunch, where local organic produce is the focus. Try the Akaroa Salmon smoked over pinot-barrel wood shavings with snow peas, quail eggs, torn dill, lemon and olive oil. Of course, a visit wouldn’t be complete without a glass of red or white and the chardonnay is highly recommended. Black Estate is popular with locals and visitors alike, so be sure to book well in advance.
Located 50 kilometres north of Christchurch, Waipara Hills is a relaxed spot for a wine tasting. You’re spoilt for choice here but you can’t go wrong with a crisp riesling or pinot gris. Got time for a light meal? Sit outside on a fine day and admire the charming outdoor setting surrounded by manicured gardens. The House Platter is hard to pass up and is spilling over with cumin gouda, cheddar, quince, chorizo, olives, fromage, pickled vegetables, salami and breads. With plenty of spacious seating, Waipara Hills is perfect for larger groups.
Just off State Highway 1, five minutes north of the township of Waipara, you’ll find the Greystone vineyard nestled in the picturesque Omihi Hills. Drop in here for tastings of the winery’s exceptional range of plonk. Standouts include the sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and deliciously full-bodied rosé. If you have time, be sure to explore the vineyard up close and personal with footpaths and bike tracks aplenty.
Prefer to be guided through the Canterbury region? Check out these options.
For an intimate experience opt for these personally guided tours in which group sizes don’t exceed eight and packages are tailored to suit. Departing from Christchurch, you will briefly tour the CBD touching on the rebuild of the city before heading out to the wineries and vineyards.
Natural High bike tours
If you’re feeling particularly active, explore Waipara Valley on two wheels. Equipped with a mountain bike and helmet, you’ll explore the region at heart-pumping pace on a scenic off-road trail. Natural High also offers tours departing directly from Christchurch.