Christchurch & Akaroa - Cruise Overview

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Bordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch is situated on the edge of the Canterbury plains which stretch towards the Southern Alps.

Despite the impact of significant earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, Christchurch continues to be an innovative, fun and fast-changing city. The city centre is compact with the central feature being the Avon River. From gardens to galleries, markets to museums, there is a taste of Christchurch's unique culture at every turn.Cruise ships anchor in Akaroa - a quaint French inspired village nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Akaroa is approximately 90 minutes drive from Christchurch.

Popular onshore activities in Christchurch and Canterbury

  • The beautiful township of Akaroa mixes French colonial architecture with art galleries and modern cafés offering delicious French cuisine. Akaroa is also home to the world’s smallest and rarest species of dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin - see it on a boat cruise around Akaroa Harbour.
  • Tour Christchurch city on a classic 1960’s London Open Top Double Decker bus with Hassle Free Tours. You'll view some of the areas affected by the 2010/11 earthquakes, and hear about the exciting vision to restore the inner city. While you're here, take a small wooden boat down the Avon River and enjoy the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
  • View penguins, learn about the icy continent, experience 4D Theatre and ride an all-terrain Hagglund Antarctic vehicle at the International Antarctic Centre.
  • Take a ride on the iconic TranzAlpine train journey to Arthurs Pass in the stunning Southern Alps.
  • Jet boat on the Waimakariri River or take a white water rafting trip to the Rangitata River.

Getting around

Cruise ships anchor in Akaroa. Tenders will transport you to Main Wharf which is located on the south side of Akaroa township within easy walking distance of shops and cafes.

Akaroa is 82km from Christchurch, shuttles and buses to Christchurch leave from the Main Wharf and take approximately 90 minutes each way. Central Christchurch is accesible by foot and public bus services offer a comprehensive transport network around the city.

The Christchurch i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, located next to the Canterbury Museum, is a good place to obtain maps of the city and find out about attractions and activities.

On foot

Akaroa is a small township and is easily explored by foot. Once in Christchurch city, it is also easily explored on foot due to its compact and flat nature.


Taxis are available for hire from the Main Wharf in Akaroa. In Christchurch, phone Gold Band Taxis on (03) 379 5795 or visit

Car Rental

We recommend booking rental cars in advance. Find a rental car in Christchurch.

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