Christchurch Akaroa Arthurs Pass New Zealand


Christchurch’s Hagley Park and the Botanic gardens endorse its reputation as the 'Garden City', providing an oasis of tranquillity close to its heart. Combine relaxation and sightseeing by punting on the river and later dine in the riverside cafes along Oxford Terrace.

Restored trams travel an inner city circuit taking in the neo gothic buildings of the former Canterbury University that is now the Arts Centre where you will find studios and galleries showcasing local and regional products. Nearby, the modern structure of the Christchurch Art Gallery is a shining example of the city’s contemporary architecture.

Nowhere in New Zealand is very far from the sea and so it is for Christchurch. The city centre is just 10 kms from the beaches of New Brighton and Sumner. Set amongst the patchwork quilt of pastoral land that defines the Canterbury Plains the city is built on mainly flat land, apart from the hills to the east that separate the city from the Port of Lyttelton and Banks Peninsula beyond. The plains provide the terrain and conditions for magnificent early morning hot air balloon rides that afford panoramic views from the Canterbury coast to the Southern Alps.

On the Port Hills you can take a ride on the Mount Cavendish Gondola, where from the summit, there are views over the city to the Kaikoura Coast to the north, also over the jagged rim and flooded crater of the extinct volcano that formed Lyttelton Harbour . From Lyttelton you can take a scenic harbour cruise to view historical sights and wildlife.

Visit Akaroa on Banks Peninsula, located 80 kilometres from Christchurch. Here you will find the picturesque harbourside town of Akaroa, whose early settlers were of French origin and where you will still find references to this past in such things as street and business names. From Akaroa you can cruise on the harbour and swim with dolphins. To get the most from a day on Banks Peninsula take a guided day trip. Or for a peaceful retreat from the city, at the start, end or during your stay in New Zealand, Akaroa is an ideal spot for a stopover.

Arthurs Pass:

Travelling west from Christchurch the Southern Alps rise up dramatically from the plains and within an hour you are in a different world. Soaring peaks, rocky braided rivers and alpine lakes lead you to the Arthurs Pass National Park.

Visit Arthurs Pass as a guided day tour from Christchurch for an informative and diverse experience. Alternatively self drive or take the Tranz Alpine Train, disembarking at the Arthurs Pass Village which allows a couple of hours hiking before reboarding the train on its return trip to the city. To really immerse yourself in this stunning alpine environment stay in high country accommodation, as a side trip from Christchurch or en route to the West Coast.

Other day trips from the city include the Tranz Alpine Rail Trip to Greymouth and return, Whale Watching in Kaikoura, and Hanmer Springs Thermal/Alpine Resort.