Sweeping plains and rolling meadows, stunning mountain backdrops, world-class restaurants bursting with fresh local food, and an abundance of elegant and expressive wine – Welcome to the North Canterbury Wine Region in the Hurunui.

A short 45-minute drive from Christchurch and you’ll find yourself at the heart of this local gem, with its relaxed but indulgent country atmosphere, it’s easy to spend a few extra days exploring this part of the region, and the bottom of your wine glass.

The North Canterbury Wine Region spans nearly 200-kilometres of the eastern coastline, with the magnificent Alps to the west and the sweeping Pacific Ocean to the east.

The majority of wineries have cellar doors sales, where you can taste the wine and pick out your favourites.

Black Estate Winery, recently judged best winery restaurant in New Zealand at the annual Cuisine Good Food Awards, is an ideal spot to stop for lunch and sample its selection. For those who over-indulge, you can even stay the night at its unique bed and breakfast accommodation, which offers mountain views and free bikes to explore the vineyards.

The Waikari/Hawarden area is nestled alongside Waipara Valley, with the entirely self-sufficient Pyramid Valley Wines. The picturesque rural winery uses organic and biodynamic techniques for an innovative wine experience.

Just 10-kilometres south of Hanmer Springs, you’ll come across Waiau River Estate. Enjoy food and wine, served with stunning views over the Waiau River valley and out towards the Southern Alps.

And complete the loop by heading to Cheviot and stopping in at Mt Beautiful, where you can sample their premium North Canterbury wines, along with platters of local food.

For a more relaxed and scenic experience, the The Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail will take you through several world-class vineyards, cellar doors and historic farms along a gentle cycle way. Most accommodation providers offer bikes free for use, making it the perfect way to sample the regions produce and wine offerings while leaving the car behind. The views across the valley to the main divide are truly remarkable.

Visitors to the North Canterbury Wine Region will also find plenty of food options to delight their taste buds. The region has a wide range of eateries – from cafés and family-friendly outlets to award-winning high-end restaurants.

The district also has a strong farming sector so is home to a large number of food producers offering a range of quality fare, including beef, venison, olives, olive oil, breads, honey and truffles.

The North Canterbury Wine Region truly is the ultimate in relaxation and indulgence for connoisseurs and amateur wine lovers alike. Just make sure you schedule in enough time to get to taste it all!