Get out of the city centre and explore what makes New Zealand truly unique. We've lined up the best day trips that are less than 3 hours drive from Christchurch. Get ready to be inspired!
1 hour and 20-minute drive
The shortest distance from Christchurch, Akaroa is the place to see the world’s rarest (and smallest) dolphin – Hector’s Dolphin. Sit back and relax on a cruise while you gasp as the dolphins jump out the water metres away. After the cruise, stroll around the French inspired town which is the first and only French settlement in New Zealand and enjoy a hot bowl of mussels cooked in white wine.
Get outdoors and explore the true magic that is New Zealand. Arthur’s Pass is made up of towering mountains, rushing rivers and streaming waterfalls. There are many hikes that you can do at Arthur’s Pass, from an easy 1-hour return walk to Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall to Avalanche Peak which can take up to 10-hours return! Be sure to know your level of skill before trying that one.
One look at the stunning turquoise Lake Tekapo and you’ll instantly feel at peace. Don’t be surprised if you find that you’ve spend two hours just sitting and staring at this marvellous beauty. Once you can tear your eyes away, explore the historic Church of the Good Shepherd that sits on the bank of the lake and makes for the perfect photo op. Be sure to pay a visit to the Tekapo Spring Hot Pools which have an incredible view of the lake and the Two Thumb mountain range.
2 hour and 40-minute drive
North of Christchurch, Kaikoura is the perfect coastal town to spot majestic marine life. From whales, to giant albatross, you won’t go home disappointed. With breathtaking views (don’t be shocked, it’s New Zealand after all) across the beach to the north island, we highly recommend a picnic of local fish and chips or crayfish on the beach. Isn’t it just perfect?
You could spend the whole day exploring the wine region of Waipara Valley. With over 80 wineries and 4 restaurants, the hardest part will be deciding which ones to visit. If you’re visiting in March, be sure to check out the North Canterbury Wine & Food Festival – bringing together the best local food and wine to one place.