What to Do in Geraldine: Canterbury’s Adventure Capital!
Most would describe Geraldine as a quaint rural town, but we stand by claiming this Canterbury town as the region’s “adventure capital”! Some of New Zealand‘s most epic canyoning and white water rafting can be done here, as well as outdoor adventures on foot. But for those of you who prefer a bit of R&R on your travels, Geraldine has plenty to offer, from art galleries to a whopping three vintage vehicle museums! See what else you could be getting up to here with this list of things to do in Geraldine.
1. Walk in the Talbot Forest Scenic Reserve
Walk along the trails of the ancient native forest right within walking distance of Geraldine town. See huge trees like totara, kahikatea and matai on a network of four short walks of about 10 minutes each – all at the Talbot Forest Scenic Reserve. There is a picnic area to spend more time in this lush reserve.
Location: Tripp Street.
2. Go Canyoning in the Kaumira Canyon
The Kaumira Canyon becomes your playground in this epic adventure activity with Big Rock Adventures. The 8-hour tour gets you scrambling, swimming and climbing through the river, jumping off waterfalls, ziplining and much more! It’s not for the faint-hearted, so if you’re into real adventures then consider this one. See more canyoning trips in New Zealand with our 7 Impressive Canyoning Locations in New Zealand.
Location: Meet in Geraldine town centre.
3. Explore the Orari Gorge Track
An excellent place for camping and hiking, the Orari Gorge Reserve features a beautiful regenerating forest. The Orari Gorge Track is a 1h30min loop walk climbing a hill to an open viewpoint and then back down through the forest.
Location: Yates Road, approximately 14km (9 miles) north of Geraldine.
4. Go White Water Rafting on the Rangitata River
One of the most adrenaline-pumping white water rafting trips in New Zealand is based just out of Geraldine along the Rangitata River. This grade 5 rafting trip with Hidden Valleys takes you over heart-flipping (and sometimes raft-flipping) rapids along narrow river gorges. It’s a picturesque area that you will get a chance to embrace during some quieter sections of the river. Note that trips are only available from September to May.
Location: 750 Rangitata Gorge Road, Peel Forest, 30km (18.6 miles) north of Geraldine.
5. Visit the Geraldine Vintage Car & Machinery Museum
Petrolheads and history enthusiasts will love this fascinating museum in town. There are more than 2,000 vehicles to check out at the Geraldine Vintage Car & Machinery Museum, including 101 vintage tractors from 1912 onwards. Check out heritage farm equipment, as well as a 1929 Spartan Biplane. The museum is open daily from 9.30am to 4pm.
Location: 178 Talbot Street.
6. Discover More Vintage Finds at the Route 79 Museum
If the above museum wasn’t enough, Route 79 Museum provides more vintage pieces of interest. Not only is there an eclectic private collection of cars, tractors and motorbikes, but there are artillery pieces and wall displays too. The museum is open Thursday to Monday with hours roughly from 10am to 4.30pm.
Location: 10 Craig Road, just off State Highway 79, approximately 3km (1.9 miles) from Geraldine town centre.
7. … And MORE Vintage Finds at the Roger Mahan Heritage Centre
Your final vintage car museum in Geraldine is the Roger Mahan Heritage Centre, but this one is only available on Saturdays or by appointment.
Location: 195 Main North Road, Orari Bridge, approximately 3km (1.9 miles) from Geraldine town centre.
8. Have a Browse of the Geraldine Museum
A free museum that won’t take too much of your day to explore, the Geraldine Museum showcases the lives of the town’s early pioneers through photographs, movies, feature boards and artefacts. The museum desk is run by passionate volunteers who are happy to provide interpretive services, should you want to make the most of the experience. The Geraldine Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 3pm and Sunday from 12.30pm to 3pm.
Location: Cox Street.
9. Check Out the Local Art Galleries and Geraldine Sculpture Trail
Geraldine is a town of creatives where many of their works are on display in multiple art galleries, as well as on murals and open-air sculptures on display along the Geraldine Sculpture Trail. The McAtamney Gallery features contemporary works, while Merivale Fine Arts features stunning works of landscapes around the country. It’s also worth popping into the Susan Badcock Gallery to see the artist’s latest works. What we love the most about the Geraldine art galleries is that they are all a stone’s throw away from each other.
Location: Art galleries can be found on Talbot Street, while the Geraldine Information Centre, 38 Waihi Terrace, can advise on the Geraldine Sculpture Trail.
10. Check Out the Geraldine Farmers’ Market
Like any rural New Zealand town, Geraldine has a farmers’ market. Between September and April, the Geraldine Farmers’ Market takes place every Saturday morning. Browse a wide range of artisan products, from preserves to smoked meats and baked goods to crafts. There will be the opportunity to grab a coffee and mingle with the locals.
Location: St Marys Churchyard, 77 Talbot Street.
[CLOSED] Go Horse Trekking in the Peel Forest
Get a real country experience and trek through gorgeous forest, river and mountaintop terrain with Peel Forest Horse Trekking. There’s a horse suitable for everyone and a tour to go with it, from 1-hour treks to multi-day excursions.
Location: 105 Dennistoun Road, 22km (14 miles) north of Geraldine.
[CLOSED] Meet Some Woolly Alpacas
During the summer months, Alpaca Walks is open for 30-minute tours where you’ll get to meet their woolly herd of alpacas. It’s a great option for families and animal-lovers, where you’ll get to pet and feed the alpacas, as well as meet other farm animals. Alternatively, do a 1-hour alpaca walk along the riverside.
Location: 188 Beeby Road, 15km (9 miles) south of Geraldine.
[CLOSED] Stargaze at the Geraldine Observatory
On the edge of an International Dark Sky Reserve, Geraldine offers impeccable stargazing. Amp up the experience by using the high-powered telescopes of the Geraldine Observatory. The observatory is operated by a passionate local astronomer, where you’re sure to learn a great deal about the Southern night’s sky.
Location: 22 Macdonald Street.
More Things to Do Near Geraldine
That’s it for our list of the best things to do in Geraldine but you’ll certainly find more gems nearby! Discover them in the lists below:
- 10 Underrated Places to Visit in Canterbury
- 6 Essential Pitstops for Your South Canterbury Road Trip
- 10 Amazing Things to Do in Methven
Finally, find more activities for your travels in the 51 Best Things to Do in the South Island.