Day trips through the heart of Canterbury

3 Day Trips

Highlights

  • Port Hills
  • Banks Peninsula and Akaroa
  • Arthur's Pass

Proximity

  • By car: Starting from Christchurch

Christchurch the gateway to the South Island's natural delights. Here are some of the top day trips you can take around the Canterbury region.

Port Hills

Christchurch - Canterbury
Christchurch, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Julian Apse

Proximity

Highlights

  • Walking and cycling trails
  • Panoramic views

TOP EXPERIENCES IN CHRISTCHURCH

Find out more

Just a short drive from Christchurch City, the Port Hills are a mountain biker's mecca. And more than that, they are full of walking and cycling tracks where, even on a busy day, you will often find yourself taking in the surrounding views on your own. Running, walking or cycling close to the summit affords you views right across the Canterbury Plains or over the harbour of Lyttelton. Views of the Canterbury Plains are bounded to the south by Lake Ellesmere and the Pacific Ocean and to the north by Brighton and Sumner Beaches and the huge bay stretching up to Motunau. On a clear day you can distinctly see the seaward Kaikoura Mountains.

Akaroa and Banks Peninsula

Christchurch - Canterbury
Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa, Christchurch - Canterbury

By ChristchurchNZ

Proximity

  • By car: 1 hr 20 min from Christchurch
  • By bus: 2 hr 50 min from Christchurch
  • By : Visit Christchurch iSITE for tours

Highlights

  • Dolphin, penguins and seals
  • Kayaking and boat cruise
  • French heritage town

LEARN MORE ABOUT AKAROA

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Originally an island formed by two volcanic cones, Banks Peninsula is brimming with natural beauty. You can explore the network of trails in this area on foot or by bike, heading into the native bush to the sound of birdsong.

The seaside township of Akaroa, whose harbour was created by a crater, oozes charm. It’s the most French town in New Zealand, with outstanding restaurants and fine cheeses – at Barrys Bay Cheese you can watch the action through the gallery window. Beyond cuisine, Akaroa’s other big pull is its heritage and history – simply wander the streets on foot and you’ll find yourself amongst colonial buildings and the Akaroa Museum. If you have time, take a harbour cruise to view dolphins, penguins and seals.

Arthur's Pass

Christchurch - Canterbury
Devils Punchbowl, Arthurs Pass, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Julian Apse

Proximity

  • By car: 2 hr from Christchurch
  • By train: 2 hr 40 min from Christchurch
  • By : Visit TranzAlpine for tickets and timetables

Highlights

  • Walking and hiking trails
  • Scenic train journey
  • Mountaineering

LEARN MORE ABOUT ARTHUR'S PASS

Find out more

Located in the heart of the South Island, Arthur's Pass is the highest pass in the Southern Alps. Wide rivers, picturesque beech forests and cheeky wildlife abound as you make your way deep into the heart of the National Park. One of the best ways to experience this stunning area is via the TranzAlpine Railway. Traveling from the expanse of the Canterbury Plains over majestic alpine landscapes to the wild West Coast makes this one of the world's great train journeys.

Driving in New Zealand

Important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

View Christchurch day trips below

Where to Next?

Day trips on the West Coast →

Day trips from Queenstown →

Day trips through the heart of Canterbury →