Christchurch boasts a plethora of nearby sightseeing and adventure options, offering fantastic day trip outings as well as weekend getaways. It is flanked by hills and harbours on one side, while a historical French settlement and fine alpine sceneries adorn its other sides. Here are our top picks for day trips from Christchurch.
Hanmer Springs offers soothing natural thermal pools amidst serene mountains and thick alpine vegetation. Situated within a two hour drive north of Christchurch, this regional landmark has hot pools, sulphur pools, freshwater pools and aqua therapy pools. Rejuvenate yourself by soaking in the relaxing thermal pools and head out for some adrenaline rushing adventures such as mountain biking, jet boat riding, bungee jumping, horse riding and simple nature walks.
The Waiau River is situated around a 90-minute drive to the North of Christchurch and offers many thrilling adventures. The historical Ferry Bridge here is located above the beautifully flowing Waiau River amidst the backdrop of stunning peaks. It’s a popular site for bungee jumping, wherein one gets to experience a 35-metre free fall. The river is also popular for jetboating, rafting, canoeing and quad biking.
A two and a half hour trip to the north of Christchurch will take you to the town of Kaikoura; a popular whale-watching destination. The place offers a combination of scenic views with exciting year-round opportunities to watch whales, dolphins, fur seals and giant albatross birds in their natural habitat. Travellers can opt for boat, helicopter or plane tours to enjoy this adventure.
A roughly 40-minute drive to the north of the Canterbury region will take you to Waipara Valley; New Zealand’s stunning wine producing region. Join guided tours to explore the world-famous vineyards and wineries. Enjoy cellar door tastings, while learning about the wine-making process. Feasting on sumptuous Canterbury cuisine at the vineyard/winery restaurants is another draw of the region.
Arthur’s Pass is a small village, which can be reached by way of a two-hour drive from Christchurch. The drive and the destination both treat you to the marvellous scenic beauty of New Zealand, complete with gigantic mountains, steep gorges, fast-flowing rivers, waterfalls and dense vegetation. The Arthur’s Pass National Park offers many mountain walking, hiking, biking and skiing opportunities.
Akaroa is a small harbour town, which was originally a French settlement. The picturesque town is around a one and a half hour drive from Christchurch. The drive is pretty scenic and sets the mood just right for enjoying the charming French heritage buildings. Take a harbour cruise or sea kayaking tours to spot rare and exotic wildlife, including Hector’s Dolphins.
The small town of Mount Somers is a gem of a place. The drive to Mount Somers is very scenic. It is the starting point of the famous ‘Lord of the Rings’ scenery in Hakatere Conservation Park. A little further from Mount Somers is the Hakatere Conservation Park, which has many beautiful lakes.