Best places for day tours from Christchurch

What are the best places to visit on day tours from Christchurch? Arthurs Pass, Kaikoura, Akaroa, Hanmer Springs. Our tips for the best day trips.

What are the best places for day tours from Christchurch, New Zealand.

Christchurch is the gateway city to the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. Known as the garden city it really is like one big park. What are the places to visit in one day from Christchurch, either on a tour or independently? Here are our ideas:

Day tour from Christchurch option 1, Arthur's Pass:
Combined with the TranzAlpine this makes a great day trip destination. Right here I have to make a disclaimer: We operate a day tour to Arthurs Pass from Christchurch (Arthurs Pass Hiking and TranzAlpine one day tour)and of course we think this is the best for folks looking to spend some time in the great New Zealand outdoors with a local tour guide.

But we realize our tour may not be for everyone, there are also tours which include the TranzAlpine, jetboat and a farm show on the way back to Christchurch. You could also travel out and back by TranzAlpine which gives you around 5 hours in Arthurs Pass, perfect for some walking or hiking.

Day tour from Christchurch option 2, Kaikoura:
Famous for it's marine life, this is where you can do whalewatching, a dolphin or seal swim or even an albatross encounter. This is an amazing place with mountains nearly 3000m just inland from the coast. The scenic drive from Christchurch is stunning and there is also the TranzCoastal train which runs daily as well.
Recommened is a seafood lunch at one of the local restaurants, crayfish (rock lobster) is the local speciality.

Day tour from Christchurch option 3, Akaora:
The closest of the day tour destinations from Christchurch, an hour and a half or so by road. No rail connection. Akaroa is famed for it's french history, but in my honest opinion, more is made of this than is worthy. Short of a few French street names and a French flag there is little which looks like France (I only worked for 5 summers as a walking guide in France so I wouldn't really know though).
Saying that, it is a beautiful little seaside town which feels far away from the troubles of the world. The seafood and wine is excellent and many people enjoy the harbour cruise and dolphin swimming (the rare Hector's dolphin). Popular stops along the road are Barry's Bay cheese factory and French farm winery.

Day tour from Christchurch option 4, Hanmer Springs:
Well known hot springs in the little alpine village of Hanmer Springs under 2 hours from Christchurch, a popular day or overnight destination for locals. Tip: Be aware of local school holidays or weekends as the pools can get busy. You will always get in but it's a bit of a different experience to having the pools almost to yourself.
Lots to do in Hanmer, walking, horse trekking, jetboat, rafting, golf. Kind of like a smaller version of Queenstown. Beautiful autumn colours in season. now rated the best tour in Christchurch by TripAdvisor!

We are really happy to say that our walkers have now rated our Arthur's Pass Hiking & TranzAlpine tour as the best in Christchurch. It's always a buzz to read feedback from people who have enjoyed our tour and thanks to TripAdvisor there is now there is now the perfect forum for this.

Read recent reviews of our Arthurs Pass Hiking and TranzAlpine one day tour on TripAdvisor

"The tour was led by genuinely lovely and interesting people. Whilst I am sure the tour has been done many times before, it didn't feel like a formulatic day. Nothing felt hurried, there was no pressure but no hanging around for no reason either. Really well paced. Thank you, it was a great first day in NZ" Peppy, UK.

"It was a very scenic track that wasn't busy, well paced walk. Very nice and funny guides who gave just the right amount of information. We really liked the group size - much better to travel with a small group. Lunch was great - absolutely fantastic muffins. Nice to stop on the way back at some scenic lookouts too. To sum up: the two main things were the great guides and the great route" Glenn, USA.

"Casual Kiwi atmosphere, friendly & knowledgable tour guide, great scenery. Thanks for the awesome tour, this day was the highlight of my South Island holiday" Kay, NZ.

Our Christchurch day tour includes: Christchurch central city accommodation pick up and drop off service, full commentary in private vehicle journey to Arthur’s Pass, free use of our rain jackets, walking poles & backpacks, detailed explanation of flora, fauna, history and geology while walking, lunch (including hot drinks), morning or afternoon tea, visit to Otira viaduct lookout and the Arthurs Pass National Park Visitor Centre. For customers who travel by TranzAlpine, assistance boarding, TranzAlpine information sheet, transfer from Christchurch accommodation to station.

Please take a look at our site for more info and drop us a line if you have any more questions.

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