The Canterbury Plains stretch from the Conway River in the North, South of Kaikoura to the great Waitaki River in the south. The flat plains stretch from the Pacific Ocean in the east to Southern Alps in the west, broken only by the volcanic Banks Peninsula.
A wonderful way to take in the best of the region is to drive down the coastline from the Marlborough region. I’d recommend stopping in Kaikoura at Hapuku Lodge, famous for its abundant marine life, whale watch or even swim with pods of wild dusty Dolphins.
Christchurch City, a victim of many earthquakes, has an excellent museum showcasing this. You can also travel by train along Arthur’s Pass, where a lot of Lord of the Rings was filmed. From Christchurch city, you’ll find the sparkling Pacific Ocean, the majestic Southern Alps and an ancient volcanic peninsula all within driving distance.