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. On your return journey, visit the Alpine Lavender Farm and capture some beautiful moments in the pristine environment.

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.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Day Entry Ticket

3. 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: 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.

Mt Cook, Tasman Glacier & Alpine Centre Day Trip

5. 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: 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 nature on a 3-hour guided kayak safari from Akaroa town. Venture into an eco-paradise and view wildlife along the way. Stop at a remote beach for refreshments, a swim, or just to explore. After a briefing session at 07:30 the tour heads out on a gentle paddling excursion. After about an hour, you’ll stop for a break at the beach. 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 sightings. The guides say that these are the best trips of the day, as there’s no one around, and it’s just you and nature and your silent kayak. What you’ll actually see on the safari depends on a number of factors, but often guests report seeing cormorants diving, gannets feeding, and fur seals and flippered penguins playing. There have even been sightings of the rare, small Hector’s dolphin. Included in the tour at no additional cost are photos that your guide will take, refreshments, a personal picnic blanket, a remote beach stop for a swim or relaxation, and brief stops on the water to hear about interesting events, and facts about the wildlife and points of interest.

Christchurch: 20-Minutes City Helicopter Flight

8. Christchurch: 20-Minutes City Helicopter Flight

Discover the city of Christchurch from above on a scenic helicopter flight. The city is known for its English heritage and fondly referred to as the Garden City due to its abundance of parks and trees. Observe the lush banks of the serpentine Avon River and the beautiful botanical gardens, which are a delight to see from above. Your expert pilots will inform and entertain you with all the latest facts and points of interest such as the Cathedral, new landmarks including the library, and the vision for the future of this thriving city. Enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Banks Peninsula which is formed from three now dormant volcanoes, where you will also see the busy Port of Lyttelton. On the return leg enjoy a bird’s eye view of the estuary and coastline before you return via the seaside suburbs of Sumner and Redcliffs.

From Wellington: 11-Day South Island Tour with Accommodation

9. From Wellington: 11-Day South Island Tour with Accommodation

Set off on an adventure-filled 11-day tour to discover and explore New Zealand's South Island. Hike the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, explore Queenstown, and create your own Greenstone jewelry. Day 1: Wellington to Kaikoura Meet your driver in Wellington and begin your adventure across the South Island. Board a ferry to travel across the Cook Strait. After disembarking, go for a wine tasting in the Marlborough region and visit the Kaikoura Seal colony. Day 2: Kaikoura to Christchurch Begin your day with a hike along the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. Enjoy panoramic views of Kaikoura before heading to Christchurch to discover hidden gems on a city street art trail. Day 3: Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Drive to Lake Tekapo to marvel at the stars in the Dark Sky Project. Visit The Church of the Good Shepherd, one of the most-photographed places in New Zealand. Finish the day with a hike up Mount John for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Day 4: Mount Cook Spend the day at Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park under the shadow of Mt. Cook, the country's highest mountain. Hike the Hooker Valley Track to Hooker Lake, enjoying the scenery, before returning to Lake Tekapo. Day 5: Lake Tekapo to Queenstown Travel to Queenstown to enjoy a delicious buffet dinner with panoramic views of Queenstown at the Skyline Stratosphere Restaurant (not included). Day 6: Queenstown Spend the day exploring Queenstown on your own. Visit the sights, go shopping, or relax at a cafe. Day 7: Glenorchy Head out to Glenorchy on a day trip from Queenstown. Cruise past the late, soaking up the views, and onto Glenorchy. Enjoy several short walks, taking in the scenery, before returning to Queenstown. Day 8: Queenstown to Wanaka Head to Wanaka to enjoy panoramic hikes. From November to May, hike Roys Peak, a 6-hour roundtrip trek, for breathtaking views over Lake Wānaka. For the rest of the year, enjoy the Mt. Iron hike with 360-degree views of The Pisa range. After your hike, visit the famous Wanaka tree. Day 9: Wanaka to Franz Josef Visit Thunder Creek Falls in Mt. Aspiring National Park. Next, head to Lake Matheson to enjoy its famous mirror views of Aoraki/Mount Cook. Spend the night in Franz Josef. Day 10: Franz Josef Design and carve your own Greenstone jewelry in a West Coast workshop (included) before enjoying the Glacier Valley Walk in Franz Josef. Day 11: Franz Josef to Christchurch Take a scenic hike across Arthurs Pass, and enjoy stunning views. Walk the Castle Hill track and admire the Devil's Punchbowl waterfalls before finishing your tour in Christchurch.

Christchurch: Helicopter Winery Tour and Tastings

10. Christchurch: Helicopter Winery Tour and Tastings

Make a grand entrance by helicopter, landing between the vines to indulge your senses at the three unique wineries of North Canterbury. Your wineries may include George Road Wines, Greystone Vineyard, Black Estate, Waipara Hills Winery, Waipara Springs, Bone Line, and Pegasus Bay. Enjoy tasting their distinctive flavors and award-winning blends. George Road Wines produce Syrah, Pinot Gris, and Rosé wines.  Greystone is a certified organic-owned and operated vineyard. You will taste their special releases, aged wines, and other treats only available at our cellar door.  Black State is a flavorsome experience consisting of 3 North Canterbury organic wineries and restaurant that delivers delicious organic and spray-free cuisine.  Waipara Hills Winery has a fine reputation for crafting rich aromatics with vibrant, complex flavors. Experience the best wines of the region on a 4-hour tour. 

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Frequently asked questions about 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

We highly recommend this tour if you come into port at Lyttleton or are in the Christchurch area. Nicole did a great job of communicating what we could expect well in advance of the tour and flexing our pick up time based on the weather forecast. That’s customer service!! She packed a lovely picnic lunch and water bottles, provided walking sticks and guided us at the pace we were comfortable with, stopping as frequently as we wanted to take photos. She is very knowledgeable about the history of the area. Wonderful way to spend time in port!

It was the best excursion I could do through GYG! Our guide, Anujk, was top notch! The fact of being in a small group (instead of 50 million people as for other excursions) was very appreciable and pleasant and allows us to create links more easily. The landscapes were breathtaking and our guide (who was also our driver) had an impeccable driving. We did not see the 10h pass!

This tour was absolutely wonderful, so worth all the travelling! Our tour guide was so friendly and knowledgeable which made the travelling part of the journey. All the stops are thought ahead and you have plenty of time in each place to enjoy it all! A perfect way to see what the South Island has to offer!

Great organization, great pilot who gave us an unforgettable experience. It's expensive, of course, but totally worth it.

A well planned, enjoyable day. Guide was wonderful, kind and informative.