The Top Places to Visit Near Christchurch
If you’ve found yourself in the largest city on the South Island, you just also happen to be in a great place to also explore the island. Christchurch is within two hours’ drive of some incredible places, from the Southern Alps scenery of Arthur’s Pass to the wildlife mecca of Akaroa. Plan your self-drive day trip or day tour with this complete guide to the best day trips from Christchurch.
For more trip-planning wisdom, head over to The Complete Guide to Christchurch.
5 Best Day Tours from Christchurch
While this guide mostly focuses on self-drive day trips from Christchurch, here is a quick list of some alternative day tours. If you don’t have your own vehicle or the will to organise your own trip, you have the following day tours from Christchurch to choose from.
- Arthur’s Pass National Park with TranzAlpine Train Tour with Canterbury Trails (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Akaroa Full-day Sightseeing Tour with Leisure Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Jet Boat Day Trip with Leisure Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Lord of the Rings – Journey to Edoras from Christchurch with Hassle Free Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Aoraki-Mt Cook Tasman Glacier & Alpine Centre Scenic Day Tour with Maossie Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
The Best Day Trip from Christchurch for Couples
Leave the city bustle behind and head over the volcanic-formed Banks Peninsula to Akaroa. Originally settled by a French community, the town offers a European flair to accompany its wealth of wildlife experiences, including penguins tours, dolphin swimming tours and more.
Find out more about day-tripping to Akaroa in the 10 Akaroa Must-Dos.
The Best Day Trip from Christchurch for Luxury Travellers
Venture to the alpine resort town of Hanmer Springs for a day of pampering, hiking, mountain biking, wine tasting or whatever your taste. The town offers a wealth of attractions, including something for adventure seekers with its jet boat, white water rafting and bungy jumping experiences.
Check out the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Hanmer Springs for more day-trip ideas.
The Best Day Trip from Christchurch for Families
Travel time by car: 1h10mins one-way
Many Christchurch-dwellers flock to Methven in winter for one of the largest ski fields near the city, Mt Hutt. Year-round experiences in Methven, however, include hiking in the Mt Hutt Forest, hiking or jet boating along Rakaia Gorge, or discovering hidden gems like Washpen Falls.
Plan more of your day trip with the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Methven.
The Best Day Trip from Christchurch for Foodies
Travel time by car: 40 minutes one-way
While not on the radar of many visitors to Christchurch, Oxford offers a pleasant city escape with a good dose of small-town charm and nature. Hike up mountains or scout out waterfalls in the Oxford Forest, explore the mountain biking trails, try the country cuisine and much more!
For more details on what to do, head to the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Oxford.
Arthur’s Pass National Park
The Best Day Trip from Christchurch for Budget Travellers
Travel time by car: 2 hours one-way
Travel time by train: 1h25mins one-way
Related tour: Arthur’s Pass National Park with TranzAlpine Train Tour with Canterbury Trails (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
Dividing Christchurch and the West Coast is Arthur’s Pass in the Southern Alps. Enjoy a scenic drive or train journey to Arthur’s Pass Village which is the start of a myriad of walking trails to various waterfalls entrenched in mountain scenery. You’ll also find plenty of mountain biking trails, as well as the Craigieburn Valley ski area open in winter.
Find out more about exploring Arthur’s Pass National Park on the Department of Conservation’s website.