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Christchurch

Shore Excursions

Our most recommended Christchurch Shore Excursions

Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

1. 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.

Christchurch: Sea Kayaking Excursion

2. Christchurch: Sea Kayaking Excursion

Your guide will collect you from your accommodation or at the designated pickup point. Make your way to Lyttleton Harbor as you drive over the Port Hills via Dyers Pass. Enjoy stunning views of the mountains and coast. Your sea kayak journey begins and ends at Charteris Bay just three minutes from Christchurch’s city center. Your guide will teach you some basic paddle strokes and how to steer your boat before heading off. Paddling towards the head of the harbor, explore the many small bays and rocky cliffs along the way. Find secret sandy beaches while hearing stories about the area from your local guide. Leaving the coast, head out to Quail Island, the largest of the three islands in the harbor and learn about its rich local history. Paddle past a ship’s graveyard, with it's the three partially sunken steamships. Lunch is provided on Quail Island or one of the many small beaches in the local area. On Quail Island, you'll have some free time to explore the island or relax by the beach. If time allows, you will be able to circumnavigate the island and visit the sea cliffs and caves at the Northen far end of the island before heading back to Charteris Bay.

Christchurch: Packhorse Hut Guided Walk and Scenic Drive

3. Christchurch: Packhorse Hut Guided Walk and Scenic Drive

Departing Christchurch City, this tour follows the story of Harry Al and his grand vision to create a splendid walking tour from Christchurch to Akaroa in the early 1900s. Although Harry died before the track could be completed, the section from Christchurch to Packhorse Hut captures the stunning scenery and dramatic landscape of Banks Peninsula and Lyttleton Harbour. After being collected from town, your tour travels up through the affluent suburbs of Cashmere. A short stop at "the Sign of the Tahakhe" is an excellent place to snap a picture overlooking Christchurch, before you drive up to the second stop at the Sign of the Kiwi. Following the Sign of the Kiwi its a short drive along Summit Road to the Sign of the Bellbird, where your guide will provide morning tea. After morning tea your tour continues along the summit for another 15 minites before reaching Gebbies Pass. An 11-kilometer hike will then comprise your return journey, during which you will stop at Packhorse Hut for lunch. After completing the walk the return journey follows the coastal road around Lyttleton Harbour, passing through the small settlement of Gavernors Bay before heading up over the port hills and back to Christchurch.

Christchurch: Godley Head & Lyttelton Guided Walking Tour

4. Christchurch: Godley Head & Lyttelton Guided Walking Tour

The day begins with departure from Christchurch, heading through New Zealand's second-longest road tunnel until you arrive in Lyttelton. Enjoy some free time here to explore the historic port town, which is steeped in Antarctic exploration history. Leave Lyttelton via the exceedingly steep and narrow side streets, stopping briefly at the historic Timeball Station and the lookout on Evens Pass. Follow Evens Pass over the Port Hills and down onto Sumner Beach, where your guide lays out a refreshing morning tea. A short drive from Sumner Village brings you to Taylors Mistake Beach. From here, set out on the walking tour of Godley Head, which follows a well-formed loop track of approximately 8 km (3-hours). From Taylors Mistake Beach, the coastal track climbs a small hill before traversing above scenic cliffs. Descend onto a small rocky section of the coast, home to the rare White Flippered Penguin (only found in 2 places New Zealand). The visit to the penguin colony is optional. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, lunch is provided at Boulder Bay or at Godley Head. After lunch, spend some more free time discovering the remnants of the WW2 defenses. The location offers excellent photographic opportunities with uninterrupted views of Lyttelton Harbor, Banks Peninsula, and Christchurch City. On the return journey back to Taylors Mistake Beach, your guide explains the use of the military outpost at Godley Head and New Zealand's involvement in WW2. Finally, the drive back from Taylors Mistake to Christchurch passes through Sumner Village and along the estuary before reaching the inner city block where you will be dropped back at your hotel or the city center.

Christchurch: Rock Climbing with Guide, Lunch, and Transport

5. Christchurch: Rock Climbing with Guide, Lunch, and Transport

The tour starts with a short scenic drive on the way up to the climbing area, known locally as a “crag.” Only 15 minutes from Christchurch, the road passes through the second longest road tunnel in New Zealand and into the historic port town of Lyttelton. You’ll have some time here to explore the quirky little town that has been the launching port for many Antarctic exploration voyages. Leaving Lyttelton, the road ascends steeply up Evans Pass affording views of Lyttelton Harbour and the busy port below. Just 15 minutes from Lyttelton, near the top of the Port Hills, is Cattlestop Crag and other pop-up climbing areas. Your guide will set up some suitable rock climbs for the group and, before anyone starts climbing, you'll have a safety briefing and learn you how to use the equipment. Once everyone has got the hang of the system, your guide will continue to set up appropriately challenging climbs. With over 2,000 climbing routes in Christchurch, there are plenty of options no matter what your level of experience. Take a break to enjoy picnic-style lunch overlooking Christchurch or Lyttelton depending on the climbing area used. After lunch, your guide will set up an abseil for you to try lowing yourself down from the top of a cliff. After the abseil, your guide will take you to another crag in the local area for another abseil or more climbing. Leaving the crag at around 4 PM, you’ll get back into Christchurch around 4:45 PM where your guide will drop you back at your hotel or at the meeting point outside Canterbury Museum.

From Christchurch: Lyttelton Harbor Morning Kayaking Tour

6. From Christchurch: Lyttelton Harbor Morning Kayaking Tour

Discover the wonders of Lyttelton harbor on a group kayaking tour. Travel from Christchurch before dawn to view hard to reach coastline. See the local wildlife wake for the day. Have hot drinks and a beachside brunch. Be picked up from your accommodation in Christchurch. Sit back and relax as you drive to Lyttelton harbor. Gear up and push off from the shore. Enjoy the calm morning air, and depending on the time of the year, watch the sunrise from the water. Weave along the coast quietly to ensure that wildlife is undisturbed. Get close to rock formations and empty beaches. Go out to quail island and learn about its rich history and wildlife. Stop at a pristine beach for a delicious brunch. Warm up with hot drinks before heading back to Christchurch.

Christchurch: Guided Cave Stream and Castle Hill Tour

7. Christchurch: Guided Cave Stream and Castle Hill Tour

Your tour starts by following the "great alpine highway" west from Christchurch across the Canterbury Plains. After 45 minutes it will be time for a short break in the small rural town of Darfield. The Darfield Bakery is an excellent example of New Zealand cuisine, and a great place to pick up morning tea. Leaving Darfield and continuing west towards the Southern Alp's over Porters Pass, you will pass Lake Lyndon before arriving at Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti. Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti is one of New Zealand's most spectacular natural wonders. Whilst there your guide will show you around and explain to you why the area holds so much spiritual, recreational, and geological significance. You'll then enjoy a picnic lunch, tea, and coffee, which will be served amongst the boulders by your guide. After some free time, meet your guide back at the carpark for the short drive down to Cave Stream. Once having arrived at Cave Stream, your guide will kit you out with caving gear and provide you with a safety briefing before you head down to the cave entrance. The 600-meter limestone cave follows an underground river and takes most groups 45-60 minutes to complete. Inside the limestone cave, the crystal clear water flows through large chambers and over some small waterfall steps. The cave gets as narrow as a standard hallway, and you can always stand up whilst inside. Hot drinks and afternoon tea will be provided afterwards back at the carpark, before you head back towards Christchurch. On the way back, a short break in Springfield allows for a photo with the giant doughnut, which your guide will explain the background of. Back in Christchurch, you will be dropped off back to either your hotel or the meeting point at the Canterbury Museum in the city center.

Frequently asked questions about Christchurch Shore Excursions

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Other Sightseeing Options in Christchurch

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What people are saying about Christchurch

Overall rating

3.5 / 5

based on 4 reviews

Sarah was a terrific guide. She thought of everything and was very patient with someone who had not been sea kayaking. I also got a free swim that I hadn't planned on. So everything went well.

It was a fantastic experience. Close to Christchurch. The guide was very experienced, informative and made the walk enjoyable.

The days activities were well planned, exciting and, at all times, done in such a way that safety was a priority.

Good customer service. Paced to your own abilities. Highly recommended