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Outdoor activities

Our most recommended Christchurch Outdoor Activities

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.

Christchurch: Gondola Ride

3. Christchurch: Gondola Ride

Take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola to see the beautiful Alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch city and suburbs. The gondola ride is 10-minutes each way at normal speed and each cable car stops to allow you to board and disembark safely.  Marvel at the Southern Alps to the west, and the Kaikoura Mountains to the north. To the south lies the beautiful harbor of Christchurch, and to the east is the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy 360-degree views of the plains, mountains, city, and harbor from the glass-enclosed gondola. At the summit, you can browse the souvenir shop or visit the cafe. Experience authentic Kiwi flavors as you take in the spectacular views. If you are feeling more energetic, explore one of the many walking trails like the hike to the Crater Rim. Travel back in time at the Time Tunnel experience to learn about the development of the region. The automated ride is a definite highlight with children and adults alike!

Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

4. 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: Guided Crater Rim Walk in Banks Peninsula

5. Christchurch: Guided Crater Rim Walk in Banks Peninsula

Enjoy a full day guided walk on Banks Peninsula, an amazing outdoor playground for everybody visiting Christchurch. No more than a 30-minute ride from Christchurch city, enjoy an exhilarating walk around the Crater Rim Track surrounding the caldera of the ancient volcano. Marvel at the amazing views of the rugged Pacific coastline stretching across Pegasus Bay to the often snow covered Southern Alps as well as the picturesque Lyttelton harbor and wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean. The walk provides the opportunity to see and experience New Zealand at its very best. You can choose between a shared walking tour or a private guided walking tour. Begin your journey with pickup from your accommodation from your guide. On the drive to the site of the walk, listen to your guide's entertaining tales of the history of Christchurch and learn about the people who live here. Hot drinks will be provided at a local café as you prepare your hiking equipment with your guide, and receive a lunch box and refreshments before the walk commences. On the walk, immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings of New Zealand and feel the refreshing wind in your hair. There are plenty of photo opportunities along the way, and the chance to hear more about the history of the area during your walk. Take a pause from the walk to enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch at a picturesque location, here the tour often stops at a little bay which can only be reached by foot or by boat. Marvel at the abundant local bird and marine life in the area while you enjoy your meal. After lunch, join your guide on the walk back to your transportation for a relaxing drive back to your accommodation in Christchurch.

Mt Cook, Tasman Glacier & Alpine Centre Day Trip

6. 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: Packhorse Hut Guided Walk and Scenic Drive

7. 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

8. 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: Guided Cave Stream and Castle Hill Tour

9. 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.

Christchurch: Half-Day Crater Rim Walk with Local Guide

10. Christchurch: Half-Day Crater Rim Walk with Local Guide

Enjoy a half day guided walk on Banks Peninsula, an amazing outdoor playground for everybody visiting Christchurch. No more than a 30-minute ride from Christchurch city, enjoy an exhilarating walk around the Crater Rim Track surrounding the caldera of the ancient volcano. Marvel at the amazing views of the rugged Pacific coastline stretching across Pegasus Bay to the often snow covered Southern Alps as well as the picturesque Lyttelton harbor and wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean. The walk provides the opportunity to see and experience New Zealand at its very best. Begin your journey with pickup from your accommodation by your guide. On the drive to the site of the walk, listen to your guide's entertaining tales of the history of Christchurch and learn about the people who live there. Hot drinks will be provided at a local café as you prepare your hiking equipment with your guide, and receive a snack box with refreshments before the walk commences. On the walk, immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings of New Zealand. There are plenty of photo opportunities along the way, and the chance to hear more about the history of the area during your walk.

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What people are saying about Christchurch

A great day, where you see some of the most amazing natural features New Zealand has to offer. Highly recommend this tour if you would like to see amazing lakes, jaw dropping mountain scapes, including Aoraki/Mount Cook, and a rare view of a receding glacier. Stopover points, including Barker's of Geraldine and The Hermitage Hotel, offered a wide range of delicious treats, providing an ideal location for morning tea and lunch. Our tour guide was informative, approachable and safe. This tour should be on everyone's bucket list. A memorable day on the South Island Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Anujk was a great guide! He shared lots of information about Christchurch and Mt Cook/ Lake Tekapo during the trip and we learnt a lot from his sharing. Anujk accompanied us for a short walk to see the ice bergs from the Tasman Glacier. We were lucky to have good weather and could get unobstructed sights for most of our stop points. While lunch is not provided, we got a stop at Geraldine and Hermitage to have some food. Definitely recommend!

It was a fantastic tour with a wonderful tour guide who looked after us from start to finish. He was very knowledgeable, kind and caring and the tour was well paced throughout the day.

wonderful guide anujk and always with the good energy, thank you greetings from Tahiti

The weather was great, the staff were great- had an awesome experience!