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Day Trips From Christchurch

Christchurch Day Trips

There is plenty to see and do in Christchurch, but there are also many attractions within a couple of hours of the city. 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. 

Road signs in Akaroa


Travel Time: 1 hr 25 mins

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

Main Attractions: Akaroa Harbour, swimming with Hector's dolphins, Akaroa Lighthouse.

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. 

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!

Arthur's Pass Highway

Arthur's Pass

Travel Time: 2hrs

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

Main Attractions: Avalanche Peak, Devils Punchbowl Waterfall, Otira Viaduct, Temple Basin Ski Area.

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.

Arthur's Pass is 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.

Hanmer Springs Aerial

Hanmer Springs

Travel Time: 2 h

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

Top Attractions: Thermal pools, Hanmer Springs Ski Area, Marble Point Winery, Conical Hill.

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. 

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.  The more adventurous travellers can try a jet boat ride, or even just enjoy kayaking on the river.

Kaikoura mountain view


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.  

Attractions: Point Kean, Fyffe House, Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, Maori Leap Cave, Peninsula Seal Colony.

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.

The region is 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.

What day trips would you recommend from Christchurch? Let us know in the comment section below.