Top attractions in Canterbury, New Zealand
Our most recommended Canterbury, New Zealand Cruises & Boat Tours
1. Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise
Experience an award-winning nature cruise of Akaroa Habor. Discover wildlife like dolphins, seals, penguins, and other seabirds. Gaze upon giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa's fascinating past. Travel on a modern catamaran, which is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour. There's lots of room on the two decks for unimpeded viewing and plenty of covered seating for shade and shelter. Inside, for your convenience you'll find a bar and washrooms. Each cruise is fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and the history of the harbour. As Akaroa Harbour was a live volcano millions of years ago, there are many spectacular ancient lava flows to be seen. One cliff has a sheer 500-foot face and a fascinating history, while Nikau Palm Gully is the southernmost limit for these tropical palm trees. There is also the incredib...
Everything was good, but as a disabled person, it was difficult to get on/off the boat. When I did get on, the only real option for me to sit was at the stern (outside) and I didn't see as much of the sea life as others. It was a bit chilly at times and it would've been very difficult to get inside. However, the other people in my group (7 of them) really enjoyed the trip and probably would've given you 5 stars.
2. Christchurch: Vintage Tram, Punt and Gondola Ride Combo
Experience Christchurch from different perspectives with a combined city tour by vintage tram, punt along the River Avon and cable car ride aboard the Christchurch Gondola. Climb aboard a classic, flat-bottomed boat for a delightful punt along the River Avon. Venture through the city center propelled by a boatman dressed in Edwardian costume. Set off from Worcester Street Bridge and listen to the live commentary about how the city was rebuilt after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and remains fast-growing. See the beautiful alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch and its suburbs on board the Christchurch Gondola cable car. Explore the history of the region in the unique Time Tunnel experience, and pause for refreshments at the Red Rock Café. Marvel at the Southern Alps and Kaikoura Mountains, and get 360-degree views of the plains, mountains, city and harbor from the glass-enclosed cabin....
Buying this combination made life easier and loved that we could chop and change.
3. Akaroa: Swimming with Wild Dolphins 3-Hour Experience
Swim with the endangered Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s rarest and smallest oceanic dolphin. On New Zealand’s ultimate dolphin experience, you’ll have the chance to see and swim with Hector's dolphins close up, in the wild. Check-in at Akaroa’s main wharf and meet the friendly crew who will provide you with a warm wetsuit, mask, snorkel, booties, gloves, and a hood if necessary. Climb aboard the jet-powered catamaran and cruise out into the sheltered harbor. The highly trained crew will give you a safety briefing and explain how to interact responsibly with the dolphins. With only 12 swimmers permitted per vessel, you’ll have a greater chance of seeing the dolphins up close. Gear up and slip into the tranquil harbor waters to join the dolphins their natural habitat. The covered vessel has no propellers, making it safer for you and the dolphins. Warm up in the heated cabin or take a ho...
Very well organsied, great safety briefing and clear instructions. We swam with about 8 dolpins and a Royal Albatros landed in the water near our group which was an extra bonus to see such a large majestic bird so close.
4. 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 (...
5. Kaikoura: 2.5-hour Albatross Encounter and Wildlife Cruise
Enjoy this once in a lifetime bird watching experience just 15 minutes of the coast of Kaikoura. Within just a small area, meet one of the greatest varieties of seabirds and pelagic bird life you'll find anywhere in the world. Up to 12 species of albatross alone can be viewed at various times of the year. Equip yourself with your bird identification list, your expert local guide and driver will take you on a journey from the Port out into the open ocean. Enjoy the opportunity to watch the birds come in close to the boat for a unique feeding experience. Throughout the tour, your guide will take you to various different spots to ensure you see as many species as possible. As you make your way back to Kaikoura, come in close to the shore and marvel at the picturesque New Zealand coastline. If you’re lucky, you will have an opportunity to see beautiful fur seals basking in the sunshine.
This experience was everything we hoped it would be and more. We saw lots of birds, many really close up. Our guide, Gary, was very knowledgeable and amazed us with immediate identification of all the birds we saw. The bonus was seeing lots of young seals on a rock and a very large pod of dolphins..We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and would highly recommend it.
6. Hanmer Springs Jet Boat Adventure Tour
Marvel at the Alpine landscapes of Hanmer Springs, and experience the adrenaline thrills of a jet boat adventure. Located approximately 90 minutes from Christchurch, the mountain town is a Mecca for fans of adventure activities, such as quad bikes, bungy jumps, white water rafting, and much more. Make your way to the jet boat base for a safety briefing. Then, travel the narrow gorges, braided shallows, and white water rapids by jet boat. Your time on the water will last at least 30 minutes, but allow one hour for the whole experience (including thorough safety briefing). Soak up the spectacular scenery as you travel the entire length of Waiau Gorge. Hold on tight as you experience the famous Hamilton jet spin!
We were the only ones on the boat that paid full price. Look for specials on line. We paid 3 times what the other 8 paid. It was great fun and an awesome driver.
7. Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo
Climb aboard the Christchurch Gondola cable car and enjoy spectacular 360-degree views across the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps as you glide across the slopes of Mount Cavendish in the Port Hills. See as far as the city and harbor as you ride up to the summit 445 meters above sea level. Make use of the facilities at the top, such as the Time Tunnel ride, a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the region. Revive your spirits at the Red Rock Café before or after going for a walk or bike ride along the many nature trails. Take a unique sightseeing tour of the inner city aboard an antique tram as the driver provides a live and entertaining commentary. A full circuit takes 50 minutes and includes 17 stops, where you can hop on and off as often as you wish. Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Cathedral Junction, Canterbury Museum, and much more.
Both great activities rather busy because of school holididay but overall a great experience
8. Christchurch Gondola and Punt on the Avon River
See Christchurch from different perspectives with a combined punt along the Avon River aboard a classic flat-bottomed boat, and a ticket for the Christchurch Gondola cable car. Travel with a guide dressed in Edwardian costume, who will provide a live commentary as they punt you along the river. Depart from the Worcester Street Bridge landing site and discover how the city is fast-growing and rebuilding after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Blankets are provided on cold days, so don't let the weather put you off. Take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola cable car, and see the beautiful Alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch city center and its suburbs. Explore the history of the region in the unique Time Tunnel experience, and pause for reflection at the Red Rock Café. Marvel at the Southern Alps to the west, and the Kaikoura Mountains to the north. To the south lie the beautiful harbo...
The views from the Gondola were spectacular and an amazing way to see Christchurch for my very first time, very relaxing ride and nice little walk once I was at the top. The Punt on the Avon River was very relaxing and the instructor shared a lot of history and had a good sense of humor. All round was an excellent experience and would love to do it all again.
9. Akaroa Day Tour with Harbour Cruise from Christchurch
Enjoy a day trip to Akaroa, a charming township nestled in an inner harbour bay of Akaroa Harbour on the Banks Peninsula. The tour begins with pick up from your Christchurch hotel. Head out along the road to Akaroa via Lake Ellesmere, Lake Forsyth, and Little River. Pause at the Hill Top to experience panoramic views of Akaroa Harbour before heading into town. The township contains a host of historic buildings, craft and gift shops along with a multitude of idyllic photo opportunities. An optional lunch is available at the popular Bully Hayes restaurant nestled in the naturally picturesque setting of Akaroa Village. After lunch, enjoy a nature cruise that will showcase the delights of Akaroa Harbour. Keep a lookout for dolphins, penguins, and seals! On your return journey to Christchurch, stop at the Barry’s Bay Cheese Factory to sample some fine New Zealand cheese. Your tour conclud...
Picked us up in a comfy van. Very knowledgeable guide with amazing time management. Shout out to Grahams! Get to see some dolphins and seals and truly enjoyed the lunch given. Ordered blue cods and salmons and breads for starters. Perfect weather. Managed to walk around after lunch. All in all, 10/10. Really worth it!!
10. Kaikoura Whale Watching Premium Day Tour from Christchurch
Spend your day getting close to nature on a fully-guided tour to Kaikoura from Christchurch. After pick-up from your Christchurch hotel, travel by road through the rural pastoral scenes of North Canterbury and the wine growing region of Waipara. Arrive in Kaikoura where mountains meet the sea and take in the tranquility of the area. Transfer to a whale watching vessel for an exciting up-close encounter in an area world renowned for its variety of marine mammals. Keep a lookout for the world's largest toothed predator, the Giant Sperm Whale. Marvel at acrobatic Dusky Dolphins and a great variety of marine birdlife. After your whale watching experience, you have time to enjoy lunch; you can upgrade when booking to include a tasty and filling cafe lunch or alternatively bring your own. After lunch, visit a Fur Seal colony on the rocky shores surrounding Kaikoura and see these adorable c...
Bus to the boat was cool, boarding quick and easy, commentary was great and thankful we got to see a whale.
Frequently asked questions about Canterbury, New Zealand
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Other Sightseeing Options in Canterbury, New Zealand
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What people are saying about Canterbury, New Zealand
Very informative guide. Great recommendations. Great views of lake tekapo, lake pukaki & the southern alps. Highly recommend if you have a day to spare and would like to sit back & relax while your guide takes you to & back from Christchurch.
It was such an amazing experience, our guide Anujk was very kind, he has a big knowledge of the places and he made our trip quite comfortable. I highly recommend this activity
Definitely a must do. Even if you only do it once make a booking you wont regret it. It is a unique experience.
Buying this combination made life easier and loved that we could chop and change.
Highly recommend. We had such a Blast. Staff were excellent & really friendly