The Canterbury Plains are bounded by the foothills of New Zealand's Southern Alps (the country's longest and highest mountain range), and the east coast of the South Island. They are located to the south of the city of Christchurch.
Their northern extremes are at the foot of the Hundalee Hills in the Hurunui District, and in the south merge into the plains of North Otago beyond the Waitaki River. Christchurch is flat and just a few metres above sea level, so good views are possible from many places. But to understand the amazing geographical contrast of Christchurch and its surrounds, there's nothing like floating in a balloon.
Put yourself in the hand of Hal Tapley, owner of Up Up and Away and you will have the experience of a lifetime. There is no other place in the world where it is possible to fly from the centre of the city to view the sun rising out of the ocean towards snow-capped mountains.
For about four-and-a-half hours, you will help prepare the balloon, before floating for an hour, where you'll be overwhelmed by what you see and have tonnes of photo opportunities.
Parks, rivers and buildings fade into the distance as you float towards the patchwork of the Canterbury Plains' farmland, the Southern Alps to the west and endless blue ocean to the east. After landing in a farmer's field, you will celebrate with a glass of chilled champagne or juice.
Ballooning is suitable for all sorts of people, and children over the age of five may join their family in a safe environment. Another plus is that because the flights start so early, there's still plenty of time to enjoy other Christchurch delights for the rest of the day.
Jack Tapley, the company mascot, is an integral part of the operation. The busy Jack Russell terrier performs duties he acts as the welcoming committee, security, cork chaser and general entertainment!
Up Up and Away offers transfers to and from central Christchurch accommodation.
Christchurch on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island.
Balloon Adventures Up Up and Away costs about $240 for adults and $205 for children between the ages of five and 11. Transfers from central city accommodation, one-hour flight, glass of champagne after the flight, and a certificate are included. They run weather permitting.
Europcar has car hire starting at $35 a day.
Best Western is offering two nights' stay for the price of one at selected properties throughout New Zealand. This is valid for stays until December 21, 2008 and the first 100 callers will receive a bottle of wine and chocolates. Blackout days apply and this offer is subject to availability. Quote "Getaway New Zealand".
Air New Zealand has special fares to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin or Hamilton. You'll have to be quick they are only available until 11.59pm September 27, 2008 AEST and conditions apply.
One-way fares from:
- Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne $229
- Adelaide $359
- Perth $509
Prices correct at September 25, 2008.
For further information
Ph: 1300 131 390
Ph: 1300 WESTERN
Tourism New Zealand
Air New Zealand
Check out our celebrity Getaway blog or our photo gallery for more Getaway adventure pics.