- see

Day Trips From Christchurch

Christchurch Day Trips banner

Deemed as one of the most unique destinations in the world, the spectacular Christchurch is all about scenery and there are plenty of things to see here. But there are also many attractions within a couple of hours of the city to explore. Whether you want to swim with dolphins or relax in thermal pools, you will find something to enjoy in the Canterbury region. Here are a few of VroomVroomVroom's suggestions for day trips from Christchurch.


Find a slice of France hidden away within hours of Christchurch. The beautiful village features boutique shops and delicious local cuisine. Enjoy a picturesque walk through the narrow streets with scenic views over the harbour, and see if you can spot any dolphins swimming in the water.

Akaroa harbour view from hilltop Bank Peninsula, NZ

Travel Time: 1 hr 25 mins

Directions: Follow the State Highway 75 south from Christchurch until you reach Akaroa.


  • Hector's Dolphins:Tourists flock to Akaroa to try and catch a glimpse of the rare Hector's dolphins, that are frequently seen in the harbour. Local tour operators offer cruises where visitors can get the chance to swim with the small mammals. Don't miss your chance to see these dolphins up close!
  • Akaroa's World Famous Mini Golf: Love golf? Now is the best time to show-off your golf skills in this worldly popular mini golf club. The club is open from 10am-4pm every weekend and during school days (and on request).
  • Paua Bay Hillcountry Farm: You can also experience and learn more about farming when you visit Paua Bay Hillcountry Farm on Banks Peninsula.

Arthur's Pass

If it's stunning natural scenery you are after, Arthur's Pass makes for a great day trip from Christchurch. The region is known for its stunning scenery. The journey from Christchurch will take you across rivers and beautiful mountain ranges as you head into one of the country's original national parks.

Castle hill in Arthurs Pass, South Island, NZ

Travel Time: 2hrs

Directions: Follow State Highway 73 north-west from Christchurch passing through Sheffield and crossing the Waimakariri River.


  • Avalanche Peak Trail: A great stop for any avid hikers, many trails begin from this point offering incredible views over the mountains. The famous Avalanche Peak Trail also begins from Arthur's Pass, however it is only recommended for experienced hikers. Winter sports enthusiasts will also find plenty to do in the area.
  • Otira Viaduct Lookout: Just 10 minutes past Arthur's Pass village, find out yourself why this considered a compulsory stop for many.
  • Devils Punchbowl Waterfall: Situated in Arthur's Pass National Park, the Devils Punchbowl Falls is a major attraction which can be seen even from the highway.

Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs is a popular day trip destination from Christchurch, with fantastic thermal pools that are ideal for spending a relaxing few hours away from the city. Spend some time swimming in the different rock pools or visit the Hanmer Springs spa.

Waiau river at Hanmer Springs town, NZ

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Directions: Use State Highways 1 and 7 to head north from Christchurch toward Hanmer Springs.


  • Around Hanmer Springs: The springs are surrounded by beautiful landscapes, just two hours from Christchurch. There are plenty of activities in the region for those looking for an adventure. You may want to check out Backtrax Quad Bike Discovery as they run tours through the magnificent alpine scenery. If you like to overcome your fear of heights, Thrillseekers Canyon Centre provides bungee jumping from the Waiau ferry bridge.
  • Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa: If you want to relax , you will love this therapeutic complex of open-air sulphur and rock pools ranges.
  • Hanmer Springs Area: If you enjoy open spaces as well as a relaxed atmosphere away from the queues, this friendly small club field is the right spot for you. Please note that typical season is from late June to mid-September.


For close-up wildlife encounters, Kaikora is a must-see destination. Home to whales, seals and dolphins, visitors can opt for a wildlife cruise. A particularly popular thing to do in the area is visit the peninsula's seal colony. The coastal town also features plenty of scenic coastal hikes.

Kaikoura township, South Island, NZ

Travel Times: 3hrs

Directions: Follow State Highway 1 north to reach Kaikora. Take note that the highway is only open on daytime. If it is already closed, you can access Kaikoura via the Inland Road (Route 70) or you can also take State Highway 7.


  • Around Kaikura town: There are plenty of things to see and do in this town. Don't miss to visit Fyfee House, Kaikoura Winery, raft the Clarence river, learn to fly at the Kaikoura Aero Club and eat fresh seafood.
  • Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway: Hiking the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway is an experience. Another must-do is the track Mount Fyffe.
  • Arts and Culture: The region also offers an insight into Maori history and culture. Along with taking a Maori tour of the area, visitors can also head to the Kaikora Museum, and discover more about the history of the area.

Other popular road trips in New Zealand