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Christchurch Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Christchurch Nature & adventure

Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch

1. 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 before returning to Christchurch.

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

2. 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.

Mt Cook, Tasman Glacier & Alpine Centre Day Trip

3. Mt Cook, Tasman Glacier & Alpine Centre Day Trip

Set off from Christchurch on a small-group day trip for jaw-dropping scenery and an amazing alpine experience in incredible surroundings. Travel in the comfort of a modern minibus, soaking in the breathtaking scenery of the Southern Alps. Discover sites such as the Ben Ohau Range, Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, and even multiple sites from "Middle-Earth". Savor a delicious lunch at the famous Hermitage Hotel. Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre's 3D theatre, museum, and Digital Dome Planetarium. Educational and entertaining, you will explore the history of the Mount Cook region through spectacular 2D and 3D experiences. Learn about one of the world’s greatest explorers, pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary.  Enjoy the close proximity and spectacular views of New Zealand’s highest peak in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, located in Te Wāhipounamu UNESCO World Heritage area. For the more adventurous, you can undertake an included side trip to the Tasman Glacier. Alternatively, relax at Mt Cook Village where you can spend more time at the Alpine Centre, the Hermitage’s Retail Centre, or at the Department of Conservation’s Visitor Centre before being picked up later for the return journey to Christchurch.

Christchurch: Orana Wildlife Park Admission

4. Christchurch: Orana Wildlife Park Admission

Experience the ultimate animal adventure at Orana Wildlife Park. Set in 80 hectares, within 15 minutes drive of Christchurch airport, Orana is New Zealand’s only open-range zoo. Discover over 400 animals, representing more than 70 species. Arrive at the park from 10 AM in the morning. Regular animal feed presentations occur daily, commencing at 10:45 AM, and are accompanied by a presentation from a wildlife guide. It is recommended to arrive at the park early and follow the presentation schedule which will lead you around the entire zoo. As you explore the grounds, enjoy a range of amazing wildlife experiences including hand-feeding the giraffes and meeting rhino up close. Stroll through the aviaries to observe kiwi, and other stunning native birds including kakariki, whio, tui, and mischievous kea. See a range of native reptiles and meet friendly domestic animals in the Farmyard area. Also, enjoy the antics of gorillas, tigers, cheetah, Tasmanian devils, monkeys, meerkats, and more. Either ride through the park on the complimentary Safari Shuttle, join a guided walkabout tour, and/or meander around the park at your own leisure. The park contains a children’s adventure playground, 2 large picnic areas, a café, and a wildlife-themed gift shop for you to explore at your own pace.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Day Entry Ticket

5. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Day Entry Ticket

Get up close and personal with New Zealand native wildlife at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. The wildlife park and nature reserve is located 5 minutes drive from Christchurch Airport and 20 minutes drive from Christchurch CBD. Set in a natural environment with a great variety of wildlife species, Willowbank is suitable for all ages. Learn about New Zealand's endangered wildlife and Willowbank's continuing involvement in conservation. Walk through the massive kea enclosure to meet the worlds only alpine parrot, check out the world's only living dinosaur (tuatara), one of the rarest birds in the world (takahe) and a rare bush parrot (kaka). Be sure to visit the specially constructed viewing facility where you are guaranteed to see kiwi with no glass to hinder your view! Relax at the onsite cafe and bar, before, during or after exploring the reserve. Take a break overlooking the deer paddock. During winter, enjoy the ambience of the roaring open fire! 

Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

6. Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

Leaving Christchurch via the "Great Alpine Highway", you'll cross the flat farmland of the Canterbury Plains towards the mountains. Halfway across the plains you will discover the small rural town of Darfield, where you will enjoy a short stop which will allow you to sample some of the local delicacies from the famous Darfield Bakery. Your next stop is Springfield, just 20 minutes down the road. Complete with its giant doughnut statue it's well worth a photo, and your guide will explain just how the town ended up with this giant doughnut. From Springfield the road winds its way up over Porters Pass at 900 meters, before continuing past Lake Lyndon and arriving at Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti. This area is an amazing labyrinth of giant limestone boulders that sit in the Craigieburn Basin, surrounded by mountains. The area is rich with cultural and recreational significance and has a Tōpuni status of a "symbolic cloak of protection”. It is also known internationally as a world-class climbing, bouldering, photography, and film-making destination. Your guide will show you around and explain the geography and cultural significance of the area, before sitting you down for a picnic lunch. Following lunch you will have free time to explore the boulder fields in your own time, before meeting back at the car park at 2:00PM. From there, your return journey back to Christchurch takes approximately 1.5-2 hours.

Akaroa: 3-Hour Guided Sunrise Sea Kayaking Safari

7. Akaroa: 3-Hour Guided Sunrise Sea Kayaking Safari

Experience the best of Akaroa's marine reserve on a 3-hour guided kayak safari in a small intimate group with your own local nature guide. Venture into an eco-paradise and have the chance for endangered wildlife encounters along the way. Stop at a remote beach for refreshments, a swim, or just to explore. No experience is necessary for this adventure. It’s easy and fun and suitable for anyone 12 years of age and older! The early morning trip can make for spectacular conditions and encounters. We are always the first operators on the water and usually have the whole harbour to ourselves with other tour boats only starting as we are finishing our tour. What you’ll actually see on the safari depends on a number of factors, but often guests report seeing cormorants diving, gannets feeding, and NZ fur seals and White flippered penguins playing. We get regular encounters with the protected and endangered Hector Dolphins which can only be found in NZ. Your tour will begin with a comprehensive safety briefing, your guide will then lead you through the turquoise waters and provide brief stops on the water to share information about interesting events, and facts about the wildlife, flora and fauna.

Christchurch: Guided Crater Rim Walk in Banks Peninsula

8. Christchurch: Guided Crater Rim Walk in Banks Peninsula

Enjoy a full-day guided walk on Banks Peninsula, an amazing outdoor playground for everybody visiting Christchurch. No more than a 30-minute ride from Christchurch city, enjoy an exhilarating walk around the Crater Rim Track surrounding the caldera of the ancient volcano. Marvel at the amazing views of the rugged Pacific coastline stretching across Pegasus Bay to the often snow-covered Southern Alps as well as the picturesque Lyttelton harbor and wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean. The walk provides the opportunity to see and experience New Zealand at its very best. You can choose between a shared walking tour or a private guided walking tour. Begin your journey with pickup from your accommodation from your guide. On the drive to the site of the walk, listen to your guide's entertaining tales of the history of Christchurch and learn about the people who live here. Hot drinks will be provided at a local café as you prepare your hiking equipment with your guide, and receive a lunch box and refreshments before the walk commences. On the walk, immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings of New Zealand and feel the refreshing wind in your hair. There are plenty of photo opportunities along the way, and the chance to hear more about the history of the area during your walk. Take a pause from the walk to enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch at a picturesque location, here the tour often stops at a little bay which can only be reached by foot or by boat. Marvel at the abundant local bird and marine life in the area while you enjoy your meal. After lunch, join your guide on the walk back to your transportation for a relaxing drive back to your accommodation in Christchurch.

Christchurch: Packhorse Hut Guided Walk and Scenic Drive

9. Christchurch: Packhorse Hut Guided Walk and Scenic Drive

Departing Christchurch City, this tour follows the story of Harry Al and his grand vision to create a splendid walking tour from Christchurch to Akaroa in the early 1900s. Although Harry died before the track could be completed, the section from Christchurch to Packhorse Hut captures the stunning scenery and dramatic landscape of Banks Peninsula and Lyttleton Harbour. After being collected from town, your tour travels up through the affluent suburbs of Cashmere. A short stop at "the Sign of the Tahakhe" is an excellent place to snap a picture overlooking Christchurch, before you drive up to the second stop at the Sign of the Kiwi. Following the Sign of the Kiwi its a short drive along Summit Road to the Sign of the Bellbird, where your guide will provide morning tea. After morning tea your tour continues along the summit for another 15 minites before reaching Gebbies Pass. An 11-kilometer hike will then comprise your return journey, during which you will stop at Packhorse Hut for lunch. After completing the walk the return journey follows the coastal road around Lyttleton Harbour, passing through the small settlement of Gavernors Bay before heading up over the port hills and back to Christchurch.

Christchurch: Akaroa & Banks Peninsula Wild Penguin Eco-Tour

10. Christchurch: Akaroa & Banks Peninsula Wild Penguin Eco-Tour

Enjoy a full day adventure taking in the breath-taking scenery of the rugged Banks Peninsula coastline and farmlands. Stopover at scenic lookouts and visit quaint Little River Gallery as well as the award-winning Barrys Bay Cheese factory at Duvauchelles.  The highlight of the day is encountering wild Penguins at Flea Bay, Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. Discover the penguin colony in their natural habitat at remote Pohatu (the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand). Your tour includes a catered lunch, refreshments, and expert guided tour of the penguin colony by a local family of conservationists. Learn about the area’s rich history, native flora and fauna, and Pohatu’s unique penguin conservation program. Be greeted by the farm's friendly pet sheep and see White-Flippered penguins as the people of Pohatu monitor nesting sites.  If visiting between mid-November and mid-February, you may even be lucky enough to see rehabilitation efforts such as supplemental feedings and swim therapy. Pohatu have been conserving the Little Penguins for over 30 years and have 4 conservation awards for their efforts in penguin conservation, protection, and monitoring. Spending time with Pohatu even helps the preservation of these beautiful birds for future generations. 

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Frequently asked questions about Christchurch

What top attractions are a must-see in Christchurch?

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Christchurch?

The best day trips and excursions from Christchurch are:

Darfield

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What people are saying about Christchurch

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 100 reviews

Although there were just 2 of us on this trip, it was great fun. Sarah P, the guide, was excellent, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable about the area and bouldering and tailored the trip to our needs. Lunch and drinks were provided by Sarah and we sat in amongst the boulders in the shade to enjoy it. This trip was one of the best I have been on. Highly recommend it. Thank you Sarah, you were awesome.

Great trip with several nice stops along the way where you had plenty of time to take pictures. Unbelievably beautiful nature and a very knowledgeable guide who told us a lot along the way. The trip can certainly be recommended.

The day was made special thanks to the enthusiastic, considerate and knowledgeable driver/guide. Varied and stunning landscape with spectacular highlights being the blue Lake Tekapo and magnificent Alps. A great experience.

we had an amazing day following the animal feedings.. the staff were lovely & friendly.. it was amazing to see & even help feed the animals to get so close

Our tour is amazing. Anuch is very informative about the tour. I highly recommended it to all of who love nature and outdoor.