Before or after the Fringe Games, visitors should embrace opportunities to
sample the wider attractions of Christchurch's surrounds and the scenic
wonders of the South Island.
Within a short distance of Queen Elizabeth II Park visitors can ride
up the Gondola with its 360°
views over the city, Lyttelton Harbour and across the plains to the majestic Southern Alps, or
visit Brighton beach and enjoy a stroll along the pier.
With a whole day to savour, a trip to Kaikoura to see whales, seals and dolphins, to Hamner Springs
to soak in natural thermal pools, or a visit to the French settlers' village of Akaroa would be
the obvious options... but by no means the only ones. Athletes visiting in spring will not want
to miss trying at least one of the eight ski areas just a few hours drive from the city.
Other energetic pursuits ought to incorporate a recreational mountain bike ride or long walk
somewhere high up on the Port Hills (15 minutes' drive from the city) or perhaps a spot of
trout fishing in the many stunning rivers on the Canterbury Plains, or a visit to the
Southern Alps (one of the major mountain areas of the world).
Christchurch is a paradox - a compact yet varied city in a landscape that crams in everything
from plains and ocean to rivers, lakes, hills and mountains. Perhaps it is the setting that
makes physical training and recreation look very similar. It's a country a long way from the
world's large population bases which comes complete with international connections, communications
and infrastructure; a place of contradictions, surprises, innovation and fun.