Pigeon Bay, New Zealand
Cleaving inland, the sparkling emerald waters of Pigeon Bay lap rolling velveteen hills and reflect wide-open skies; amid these wild surrounds, you’ll discover working coastal farms and slick architecture – think sleek Grand Designs-style glass structures and cedar-clad cabins. There’s not a Hobbit-house in sight (for those who remember NZ as the set for much of Lord of the Rings…). Take to the water in a kayak or sailboat or stick to dry land to enjoy farm-to-fork dining, hilly hikes and bike rides past untouched scenery. The coastal location keeps things breezy during the sultry summer months, but if you want to hit the nearby slopes and take advantage of New Zealand’s exceptional heli-skiing you’ll need to visit in the winter between June and August.
When to go
Pigeon Bay’s balmy summer months stretch from October to April. Outdoor exploration (hiking, biking and more) is possible all year round.
PlanesChristchurch International Airport (www.christchurchairport.co.nz) is the convenient option, with international flights arriving from all over the world. Domestic options include Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.com) and Qantas (www.qantas.com.au). Pigeon Bay is around 90 minutes by car from Christchurch International.
AutomobilesPigeon Bay is New Zealand at it’s most rural – so a car is advantageous to explore the surroundings (but not essential). Allow an hour and a half’s drive from Christchurch International Airport. The drive is a sightseeing expedition in itself, taking you across the patchwork hills of Canterbury Plains to the Banks Peninsula before steadily climbing to the peak of Hill Top, where views of Akaroa Harbour unfurl in front of you. If you decide to go without your own motor, there are other options: local taxi firms are a little hard to come by, but there are shuttle services operated by the hotels that will get you where you want to be.