Visit Geraldine, South Canterbury, NZ

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  • Geraldine, in South Canterbury, is a charming town nestled in the foothills of the Southern Alps, straddling the Waihi River. A nearby large, braided river, the Rangitata, is famed for its salmon fishing.

    Geraldine is known as a boutique shopping village, with many galleries, shops and cafes. Local craft workshops include a pottery, glassblowing studio and sculpture workshop. It is home to two museums, two golf courses, and a number of public gardens.

    The town is also a great place for outdoor activities. Many walking trails and mountain bike tracks are easily accessible. In winter, many skiers choose to base themselves in Geraldine, as there are ten ski areas within two hours’ drive.

    Accommodation in Geraldine (NZ)

    Geraldine has many accommodation options, which range from traditional motels, bed & breakfast establishments and holiday parks to self-contained luxury apartments, eco-lodges, farm-stays and holiday homes for rent.

    Transport around Geraldine

    Geraldine is located on the Inland Scenic Route (State Highway 79), which connects it with Peel Forest (20 minutes) and Pleasant Point (30 minutes). It is only 10 km from the Coastal Pacific Route (State Highway 1), which connects with Timaru (40 minutes south) and Ashburton (45 minutes north).

    Inter-city coach services connect Geraldine with Timaru, Ashburton and other main towns, while local shuttle buses make connections with outlying village such as Pleasant Point and Peel Forest.

    For charter aircraft travel, the Rangitata Island Airfield is located 25 minutes’ drive from the town.

    For transport within and around Geraldine, there are mountain bikes and other rental vehicle for hire, as well as shuttle services to particular tourist destinations, such as lodges and ski fields.

    Tourist Activities around Geraldine

    Geraldine’s visual charm is obviously contributed to by its river and the dominating hills and mountains of the Southern Alps. A less obvious cause is the fertility of its soils, which results in thriving gardens, especially of rhododendrons and daffodils.

    A summer fete is held in November each year. In the same month is held an Arts & Plants festival. Geraldine’s other major annual festival is March’s Bike Challenge, which attracts around 500 riders, from families to competitive cyclists.

    Geraldine is known as a boutique shopping village, with a great range of shops, including art and craft galleries, clothing, outdoor equipment, and gift shops. The town has a pottery, glassblowing studio and sculpture workshops that are open to the public. A Famers’ Market (April to October) and craft market are held each weekend.

    Sightseeing options within the town include a historicalmuseum, a museum of vintage cars and machinery, short walks along the riverside, and a number of public gardens.

    The Rangitata River, about 20 minutes’ drive north, is renowned as New Zealand’s best for salmon fishing. Rainbow and brown trout can also be caught. Rafting, kayaking and jet-boat excursions along the river are popular. There are also walking, mountain biking and horse trekking routes.

    Nature walks and mountain bike trails further afield include those in the Raukapuka Recreational Reserve and Talbot Forest Scenic Reserve. Trips to the remnant native forest of Peel Mountain are popular, along with tours of the upper Rangitata River valley, which appeared in the Lord of the Rings film as “Rivendell”.

    There are two excellent golf courses to play at Geraldine, and a further 16 courses are within an hours’ drive.

    Geraldine makes a good base for skiing in winter. There are ten ski areas within two hours’ drive. The nearest ski areas are Mount Dobson, Tekapo (Round Hill) and Fox.

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