Canterbury, New Zealand
Outdoor Activities

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Our most recommended Canterbury, New Zealand Outdoor Activities

Kaikoura: Whale Watching Cruise

1. Kaikoura: Whale Watching Cruise

Take a whale watching cruise off the Kaikoura coast, and see giant sperm whales in their natural environment. Enjoy up-close encounters with a range of other wildlife, including fur seals, pods of dolphins, and the endangered wandering albatross. Your experienced crew will provide scientific information and indigenous knowledge about these amazing creatures throughout the tour. Set sail in a modern catamaran, equipped with engines that minimize underwater noise and nonpolluting toilets. Large outdoor decks offer great viewing and photo opportunities, and the air-conditioned interiors are fitted with comfortable seating and plasma screens displaying award-winning marine wildlife animations. Passenger numbers are kept well below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure a more personal experience.

Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

2. Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

Enjoy a memorable sea-kayaking experience from Akaroa with two departure options. No experience is necessary because the trips are run in settled safe conditions by an experienced and knowledgeable guide.  Depart from Akaroa for a scenic drive in a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu Flea Bay. Learn about the region from your local guide and, during the afternoon trip, stop for photo opportunities along the way. Then, it is time to gear up and climb into the double kayaks. Your safety is the top priority and the experience can be mind-blowing with the right sea conditions. Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Flea Bay Island and the impressive island arch can be reached in settled sea conditions. Marvel at the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguins, seals, various seabirds, and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin.

Christchurch Gondola Ride

3. Christchurch Gondola Ride

Take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola to see the beautiful Alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch city and suburbs. The gondola ride is 10-minutes each way at normal speed and each cable car stops to allow you to board and disembark safely.  Marvel at the Southern Alps to the west, and the Kaikoura Mountains to the north. To the south lies the beautiful harbor of Christchurch, and to the east is the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy 360-degree views of the plains, mountains, city, and harbor from the glass-enclosed gondola. At the summit, you can browse the souvenir shop or visit the cafe. Experience authentic Kiwi flavors as you take in the spectacular views. If you are feeling more energetic, explore one of the many walking trails like the hike to the Crater Rim. Travel back in time at the Time Tunnel experience to learn about the development of the region. The automated ride is a definite highlight with children and adults alike!

Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch

4. Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch

Experience dramatic glacier lakes, snow-capped mountains, and beautiful alpine walks on a small-group day trip from Christchurch. After pick-up from your hotel, journey to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, located a 4 hours' drive through spectacular and breathtaking landscapes. Visit the historic town of Geraldine. Then discover the heart of Mackenzie Country, the captivatingly turquoise Lake Tekapo, the iconic Church of Good Shepherd, and the well-recognized statue of Sheepdog. Travel through Lake Pukaki and admire stunning views of Mt. Cook from a distance. Enjoy a short scenic hike in the National Park to view the 23.5kms long Tasman Glacier which is the longest glacier in New Zealand. On your return journey, visit the Alpine Lavender Farm and capture some beautiful moments in the pristine environment.

Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Flight

5. Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Flight

Receive an informative briefing of the Sperm Whales and other wildlife of Kaikoura, ready for your 30-minute flight experience. Learn about its unique geology, and what you can expect to see during the flight. Spend a special half hour viewing these majestic creatures from a unique vantage point.  Head directly out over the Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary to start looking for Kaikoura's wildlife. This whale watching flight showcases the year-round whales and dolphins, as well as the stunning coastline and peninsula. Focusing on the mighty Sperm Whale, this is a once-in-a-lifetime flight to view these animals, as well as other whale and dolphin species that migrate through Kaikoura's waters.  All aircraft are high-winged, which allows each person their own window seat and optimal, unobstructed viewing and photography opportunities. Your tour finishes back at the terminal where there is a gift shop and refreshments available.

From Queenstown: Mount Cook Small Group Adventure

6. From Queenstown: Mount Cook Small Group Adventure

At 3724m, Aoraki/Mt Cook is by no means among the world’s tallest but with the nearby Mt Cook village just 750m above sea-level, the mountain can be viewed without any acclimatization whatsoever, and so this tour is perfect for people of all levels of fitness. The guided tour begins with pickups in Queenstown and Frankton, before you then travel through the stunning Kawarau gorge to Cromwell. After making a comfort stop in the quaint township of Omarama (where you have the option to taste one of the best creamy chicken pies in New Zealand), you climb your way through Lindis Pass, one of only 3 alpine roads through the otherwise impassable Southern Alps. As you exit the Pass, you may catch glimpses of the mighty mountain itself; but before arriving there is much more to see, including what many consider one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Lake Pukaki is one of the bluest lakes you will ever see, and is framed by the backdrop of Aoraki and its brothers in the Southern Alps. The location of several scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lake Pukaki is a destination in and of itself. You soon pass the delta where the mountain’s various rivers, creeks and streams converge to form the lake, and the mountain continues to grow steadily in stature and grandeur until the shear scale of the view makes you feel powerless. Arriving at the alpine village of Mt Cook and the Hermitage - home of the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre - you now have the freedom to explore in whatever way suits your energy levels and budget. Please select the activity you would like to include during the booking process, which are at an additional charge.

Kaikoura: Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour

7. Kaikoura: Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour

Begin your adventure in the town of Kaikoura where you will meet your professional guides. Receive a short safety briefing and paddling lesson before being allocated all the necessary equipment for the tour. Head out on the waters of the beautiful ocean surrounding the city. Kayak along the Kaikoura coastline, where you will take in the magnificent views of sheer cliff faces, craggy rocks, and mountain ranges while searching for chance encounters with Dusky Dolphins and Blue Penguins. Experience the excitement of watching cute fur seals ducking, weaving, and diving around your kayak. During your tour, you will have the opportunity to paddle gently along with these beautiful animals as they swim around the Kaikoura Peninsula hunting for their favourite feed of octopus. This tour is suitable for all ages and abilities while operating year-round, and doesn't require any previous kayaking experience. Encounter a diverse range of wildlife on the New Zealand coastline and see some of the country's most beautiful animals.

Arthur's Pass: TranzAlpine Train and Castle Hill Day Tour

8. Arthur's Pass: TranzAlpine Train and Castle Hill Day Tour

Experience the South Island's remarkable natural landscapes by taking a journey on a train from Christchurch to Arthur's Pass, which is considered one of the world's greatest train journeys for the scenery it passes. Enjoy breathtaking views of Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps, ice-fed Waimakariri River, lush beech forests, and stunning landscapes. Explore walking tracks in Arthur's Pass National Park with spectacular mountain views & pristine waterfalls. Capture mirror images at Lake Pearson & wander through the majestic limestone boulders at Castle Hill. A perfect day trip for nature lovers, hikers, and adventure seekers.

Hanmer Springs Jetboat & Quad Bike Combo

9. Hanmer Springs Jetboat & Quad Bike Combo

Take in the magnificent scenery, then hold on while you experience the famous Hamilton jet spin. This beautiful alpine river features narrow gorges, braided shallows and white water rapids. Travel over 30 kilometres of exciting jetboating and spectacular scenery. Your journey on the water lasts at least 30 minutes and you should allow 1 hour for the whole experience including the safety briefing. The focus above all else is safety, customer service, and value for money. Fun and thrills in the beautiful natural environment of Hanmer Springs. Put yourself in control of a four-wheel quad bike. Challenge the terrain, with river crossings, mud, dust, dirt and excitement. This guided Quad Bike tour will show you some of the real back country New Zealand as you pass through farmland, sheep trails, rivers, sand and bush. You can choose to ride your own bike or ride tandem with another person (subject to age restrictions). Your guide will give you the freedom to challenge yourself within the safety boundaries. Perfect for families, groups or individuals. Two hours of adventure in the beautiful natural mountain environment of Hanmer Springs. 

Mount Cook: Top of the Tasman Glacier Hike

10. Mount Cook: Top of the Tasman Glacier Hike

Explore the immense beauty of the upper snowfield of the Haupapa/Tasman Glacier. It will be from there that your 23-kilometer journey begins. As you fly in to 2,200 metres (7200 feet) aboard your ski plane, marvel as the rock and ice debris transform to glistening white. Get ready to explore the glacier by walking, hiking and snowshoeing, you may even see an iceberg in the glacier lake. If you have never tried snowshoeing in New Zealand, this is the time to give it a go. Snowshoeing is a great way to confidently make your way across snow-covered terrain. Once on the glacier, you will be provided with snowshoes, adjustable walking poles, harnesses, and any additional equipment you may need. After your gear is fitted, you are ready to explore the ice formations in this ever-changing environment. You will be in the heart and birthplace of New Zealand mountaineering, and at the conclusion of your experience, you will be returned safely back to your point of origin.

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What people are saying about Canterbury, New Zealand

That the most wonderful time. Ben our guide was an absolute gem & made the whole experience thoroughly enjoyable. We saw seals, penguins & many varieties of sea birds. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable & I certainly learnt a lot. Would thoroughly recommend it to anyone visiting Akaroa

Its an incredible experience to see the whale especially when they dive. Great tour with lots of interesting facts to learn along the way. Highly recommended

A great trip, our guide was really knowledgeable. We saw lots of seals and some penguins. The drive over was also spectacular.

It was great to go on a weekday when it wasn't as busy. We were lucky enough to see 2 whales as well as a great albatross.

This was well worth it. Got a lot of good information and such a thrill seeing a whale so close