Geraldine is situated at the foothills of the Southern Alps in the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is about 140 km south of New Zealand’s second-largest city, Christchurch, and inland from the provincial centre of Timaru, which is 35 kilometres to the south. It is a great place to explore the mountains and lakes of the area, including Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo. Geraldine has a country village atmosphere, with majestic old forests, early settlers cottages and little arts and crafts corners.
The climate is moderate with the warmer months of summer (December to February) about 15-25° C. During the winter months (July to August) the nights are often below zero and the days are mild, about 9-15° C.
Geraldine is in the heart of a prosperous farming area with dairy cows, sheep, cattle, deer, cropping and fruit growing in abundance. Almost 3,500 people live in the town and its surroundings areas. It is the headquarters for the nearby state forests and has modern shopping amenities such as a book shop, hardware shop, dairies and more.
Geraldine’s reputation as a home to gifted artists and artisans is growing all the time and many of these talented people have their work on sale in the town itself or from nearby studios. Some of the creations come in edible form too – Geraldine’s cheesemaker, chocolatier and the internationally recognised Barker's fruit products all have outlets in the town. Also on display in a local shop is a recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry. It is at approximately half scale.
A short drive from Geraldine is Peel Forest. This is a very precious and extensive podocarp forest with abundant birdlife, and with many reminders of the region’s early European pioneers. Follow the road beside the Rangitata River (a world-class white-water rafting and salmon fishing river, which also provides vital irrigation to surrounding districts) into the upper Rangitata River valley for some of the most spectacular alpine and high country scenery in New Zealand. It is not difficult to see why The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson chose this superb valley as an important location in his films.
Check out these sites for more information about Geraldine and the surrounding area: