Canterbury Coast NZ

One thing about the South Island of New Zealand: no matter where you are, you’re never all that from the ocean or the mountains. Empty ocean beaches with stunning dark grey sand and high mountain peaks covered in white snow, with rolling green hills filling all the space in between and the occasional sleepy town. Perfect really.

From a grassy hilltop on the Banks Peninsula, looking out over a fence to an empty paddock and one of the many narrow inlets that surrounded the Peninsula, evidence of it's volcanic origins, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

From a grassy hilltop on the Banks Peninsula, looking out over a fence to an empty paddock and one of the many narrow inlets that surrounded the Peninsula, evidence of it’s volcanic origins.

A norfolk pine on the waters edge with the sparkling blue waters of Akaroa Harbour, once a volcanic crater and now surrounded by grassy green hills, Akaroa, New Zealand

A norfolk pine on the waters edge with the sparkling blue waters of Akaroa Harbour, once a volcanic crater and now surrounded by grassy green hills.

The red door of the lighthouse, on a small cliff over looking the blue Akaroa Harbour filled with piers and small boats and surrounded by grassy green hills, Akaroa, New Zealand

The red door of the lighthouse, on a small cliff over looking the blue harbour filled with piers and small boats and surrounded by grassy green hills.

Deciduous trees in the township and small houses nestled at the base of the hills which when not covered in green grass and sheep are coloured by yellow gorse and pine plantations, Akaroa, New ZealandBeside the bright blue water of the harbour sits the small and humble 135-year-old historic Onuku church, with a rough red wooden fence around it and painted Maori carvings, Akaroa, New Zealand

Deciduous trees in the township and small houses nestled at the base of the hills which when not covered in green grass and sheep are coloured by yellow gorse and pine plantations; Beside the bright blue water of Akaroa Harbour sits the small and humble 135-year-old historic Onuku church, with a rough red wooden fence around it and painted Maori carvings.

A small light house looks out over the rocky harbour, once the crater of a volcano and now filled with blue water, small boats and piers, Akaroa, New Zealand

A small light house looks out over the rocky Akaroa Harbour, once the crater of a volcano and now filled with blue water, small boats and piers.

The red-roofed shelter at the end of Daly's Pier, with ornate street lights and small boats floating on the water, Akaroa, New ZealandSmall aluminium boats pulled up onto the shore beneath the trees, Akaroa, New Zealand

The red-roofed shelter at the end of Daly’s Pier in Akaroa, with ornate street lights and small boats floating on the water; Small aluminium boats pulled up onto the shore beneath the trees.

Looking past the trunk of a large pine tree to the blue water of the harbour with it's rocky shoreline, small boats and piers, Akaroa, New Zealand

Looking past the trunk of a large pine tree to the blue water of Akaroa Harbour with it’s rocky shoreline, small boats and piers.

A red boat pulled up onto the shore out of the bright blue water, behind a wooden fence, Akaroa, New Zealand

A red boat pulled up onto the shore out of the bright blue water, behind a wooden fence.

A comfortable-looking green armchair sits in the sunshine on the deck out the front of the beautifully carved Onuku wharenui, Akaroa, New Zealand The small township nestled into the hillside surrounded by rolling grassy hills and with the harbour filled with small boats and piers, at its feet, Akaroa, New Zealand

A comfortable-looking green armchair sits in the sunshine on the deck out the front of the beautifully carved Onuku wharenui; The small township of Akaroa nestled into the hillside surrounded by rolling grassy hills and with the harbour filled with small boats and piers, at its feet.

Pine trees in the sand dunes, on the quieter side of the Banks Peninsula, with the white specks of sheep dotting the steep grassy cliffs rising above the bay behind, Okains Bay, New Zealand

Pine trees in the sand dunes at Okains Bay, on the quieter side of the Banks Peninsula, with the white specks of sheep dotting the steep grassy cliffs rising above the bay behind.

The wide sandy beach with green hills beneath a big blue sky, Okains Bay, New ZealandA old blue and white caravan sits amongst the pine trees near the beach, curtains drawn and closed up for the winter, Okains Bay, New Zealand

The wide sandy beach at Okains Bay, with green hills beneath a big blue sky; A old blue and white caravan sits amongst the pine trees near the beach at Okains Bay, curtains drawn and closed up for the winter.

A grey stormy sky over the beach makes the sea look even bluer and the hills look even greener, Okains Bay, New Zealand

A grey stormy sky over the beach at Okains Bay makes the sea look even bluer and the hills look even greener.

An old disused corrugated iron petrol station with doors to nowhere in this small and sleepy beach town on the Banks Peninsula, Okains Bay, New Zealand

An old disused corrugated iron petrol station with doors to nowhere in the small and sleepy beach town of Okains Bay on the Banks Peninsula.

A misty beach with dark grey sand covered in driftwood, with a small patch of blue sky peeking through the early morning cloud up the coast, Kekerekgu, New ZealandA curious and attentive seal on the brown rocks, Kaikoura, New Zealand

A misty beach with dark grey sand covered in driftwood, with a small patch of blue sky peeking through the early morning cloud up the coast at Kekerekgu; A curious and attentive seal on the brown rocks outside Kaikoura.

The iconic Nin's Bin, selling crayfish from an old caravan, with the coastal highway at it's front and the ocean at its back and the sun setting somewhere over the hills, Kaikoura, New Zealand

The iconic Nin’s Bin, selling crayfish from an old caravan, with the coastal highway at it’s front and the ocean at its back and the sun setting somewhere over the hills.

Only a couple of hundred meters from the ocean along the East Coast, a wooden fence defines the edge of a green grassy paddock with white snowy mountain peaks above, Kererengu, New ZealandA small wooden boat in a rock garden with the ocean and a cloudy blue sky behind, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Only a couple of hundred meters from the ocean along the East Coast, a wooden fence defines the edge of a green grassy paddock with white snowy mountain peaks above; A small wooden boat in a rock garden with the ocean and a cloudy blue sky behind.

A blue ute drives down the scenic coastal road as the sun sets, Kaikoura, New ZealandThe ever-present cabbage tree, with rolling grassy green hills and pure white snowy mountain peaks, Kererengu, New Zealand

A blue ute drives down the scenic coastal road outside Kaikoura as the sun sets; The ever-present cabbage tree, with rolling grassy green hills and pure white snowy mountain peaks.

All images and text ©Jess Gibbs 2013

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