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Geraldine Area Guide

Historic old town board office,
now a museum. ©
The country village of Geraldine is on the green rolling downs of south Canterbury on the main inland highway to Mount Cook, 130 kilometres
south west of Christchurch.

The heart of town is at the junction of Talbot and Cox Streets, where you'll find the Visitor Centre and the quaint Geraldine Historical Society Museum, housed in the old bluestone Town Board building. Just behind the museum is the Four Peaks Plaza, with a collection of tourist and gift shops, including the Barker's berry fruit shop, which has all manner of jams, juices and wines to sample and buy. Further along Talbot Street is the Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum, with a huge collection of old cars and tractors, and a rare 1929 Spartan Biplane.

The town is bordered to the north west by the peaceful Talbot Forest Scenic Reserve, a good place for a picnic, with its pleasant walking tracks through native forest, and views over the plains and up to the mountains.

Just to the north of Geraldine is the magnificent Peel Forest Park, with its ancient native trees, abundant bird life and scenic waterfalls. Take the 30-minute Big Tree Walk, which leads to a stand of huge 1,000-year-old totara trees, or the one-hour Acland Falls Track up to the 14-metre waterfall. For great views over the Canterbury Plains and out to the coast, walk up Little Mt Peel, a four to six hour return hike.

From Geraldine you can take four-wheel drive tours into Lord of the Rings country, through the Rangitata Gorge, across the snow-fed rivers and up through the remote high-country, where the set of the fortress city Edoras was built on a sheer-sided hill surrounded by mountains of rock and ice. The set was dismantled when filming was finished, but the stunning scenery remains.