Each district within the Canterbury region has dramatically contrasting scenery, with the jagged peaks of the magnificent Southern Alps rising sharply from the vast flat expanse of the Canterbury plains. Canterbury is dotted throughout with grand homesteads, fine churches and the evidence of early industry, and traces of Māori presence can also be seen.
Originally built around 1864 by labourer Bentley Coton for himself and his wife Sarah Jane, Cotons’ Cottage is a cob house museum in a rural setting that tells a story of a 19th century small-holding in Canterbury. The Hororata Historical Society opens the Cottage and the nearby Museum on-site on fine Sunday afternoons.
Visual signals were important features of any port, necessary for communication between ship and shore, in pre-radio times. The Timeball Station sustained devasting damage during the Canterbury earthquakes but the site remains significant to New Zealand's history, and that of international maritime history.