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.