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6 Essential Pitstops for Your South Canterbury Road Trip

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Quirky South Canterbury towns worth stopping by!

Away from the hustle and bustle of the New Zealand cities, South Canterbury is where you will find those more-Kiwi-then-Kiwi towns.

From the flat farming regions of the Canterbury Plains to the alpine environments, the drive through this part of the South Island provides a perfect example of the quickly-changing landscape. You’ll make stops at stunning lakes and Lord of the Rings scenery, but when it’s time to making that all essential pitstop, make sure you grab a proper Kiwi coffee and walk about the small isolated towns of South Canterbury. It won’t take you long to explore, but even a quick walk up and down the street will make it apparent where the passions of the locals lie, which is something different in each town. That’s just one more thing we love about a New Zealand road trip!

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1. Timaru

The old whaling station is a charming little town featuring a dramatic cliff beach, century-old buildings, and the beautiful Caroline Bay. The bay has been voted one of the Top 10 beaches in New Zealand! If you are not into swimming or walking the dunes, get yourself to the Caroline Bay Carnival for a refreshing ice cream and classic rides.

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2. Geraldine

The tiny town of Geraldine – only 3,500 inhabitants, surroundings included – makes it a perfect pitstop on your way to Aoraki Mt Cook. Embrace the atmosphere of a traditional New Zealand country town. While in the area, take the time to explore Rangitata for some tumultuous white water rafting and the Peel Forest for its ancient trees and native birds.

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3. Temuka

The rural town of Temuka is home to one of the largest dairy factories in the Southern Hemisphere, which is located at Clandeboye. The town is small and easy to explore, making it a perfect place to stretch your legs after driving. For those that can’t stand a minute without taking a picture, the Victorian buildings will be great subjects for your new Instagram shot.

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4. Pleasant Point

Small does not event begin to describe how tiny the settlement of Pleasant Point is. But it’s the locals that put “Pleasant” in the name, with a friendly atmosphere and they are incredibly helpful. The main attraction of the town is its steam train maintained by a group of volunteers passionate about New Zealand’s railway history.

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5. Mackenzie District

The whole Mackenzie district encompasses a large area including Failie, Twizel, Aoraki Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo. The latter two are a must-do in New Zealand with Aoraki Mt Cook being the tallest mountain in the country and Lake Tekapo having one of the bluest lakes in the country. Plus, the area is an International Dark Sky Reserve opening the doors to the most mesmerising night skies. So there you have it: four pitstops in one!

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6. Waimate

The town is well-known in New Zealand for its fertile lands producing some delicious berries. The locals are so passionate about it that they even organise an annual Strawberry Festival. Aside from the berry craze, Waimate’s main landmark is its wallabies farm – the largest in New Zealand. Why even bother going to Australia?

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