The Best New Zealand Tours Starting in Christchurch
The Best New Zealand Tours Starting in Christchurch

The 10 Best New Zealand Tours Starting from Christchurch šŸ”ļø [2022]

© Pxhere

The Top Bus and Coach Tours of New Zealand and the South Island From Christchurch

Got a cheap airfare to Christchurch or just want to explore the South Island? Make the most of it by joining one of the awesome New Zealand tours that start from Christchurch. You can travel around the South Island with like-minded travellers, arriving back in Christchurch to catch your flight home or explore the entire of New Zealand starting in Christchurch and ending in Auckland. Either way, there’s a tour to suit everyone, from budgeting backpackers to seniors seeking luxury. Check out some of our favourite options in this guide to the best New Zealand tours starting from Christchurch.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in The New Zealand Tours Starting in Auckland, The New Zealand Tours Starting in Queenstown and The New Zealand Tours Starting in Wellington. Plus, find out more about exploring by bus in Travel by Bus in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide.

5 Tips for Starting a New Zealand Tour From Christchurch

  1. Allow a day or two before and/or after your tour to allow for your travel time to New Zealand, as well as get over the jet lag and explore Christchurch – see 10 Christchurch Must-Dos
  2. See if your tour includes airport transfers, as most tours depart in Christchurch city which is around 20-minute drive from the airport – see Public Transport in Christchurch
  3. Be sure to budget for meals throughout your trip, including your first and last nights in Christchurch where many of the tours don’t have meals included – see How Much Does a Trip to New Zealand Cost?
  4. See if your chosen tour company has a Facebook Group. That way, you can organise to meet fellow travellers in Christchurch before your tour departs
  5. Note that not all tours that start in Christchurch end in Christchurch. Either choose a tour that loops back to Christchurch or arrange your flight out of New Zealand from one of the other international airports.

For more tour advice, check out the 15 Tips to Make the Most of Your Bus Trip.

Haka Tours© Haka Tours

Haka Tours – Southern Lick

Explore the South Island in one week with Haka Tours! Their Southern Lick tour is a small-group tour for 18-39-year-olds hitting the highlights of the South Island in a minibus and the TranzAlpine train. The tour conveniently begins and ends in Christchurch, hitting Franz Josef Glacier, adrenaline-pumping Queenstown and much more. Each day includes breakfast, accommodation in a dorm-style room and a few surprises along the way.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 7 days
Age Range
: 18-39-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 16
Accommodation: Hostels and lodges
Meals: All breakfasts

Destinations

Find out more about this tour by comparing Haka Tours on Tourradar. Plus, see more tours of the South Island in one week in The Best 7-Day Tours of the South Island.

The Best New Zealand Tours Starting in Christchurch© Contiki

Contiki – Sweet As South

A trip for young travellers, Contiki offers a nine-day loop of the lower South Island on the Sweet As South tour. Highlights include checking out the awesome scenery of the Franz Josef Glacier, getting the adrenaline pumping in Queenstown, cruising in Milford Sound and hiking in the glorious Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. All breakfasts and a few meals are included, as well as accommodation in hotels and lodges shared with fellow passengers. You’ll also get three full days in Queenstown.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 9 days
Age Range
: 18-35-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 50
Accommodation: Hotels and lodges
Meals: Eight breakfasts and three dinners

Destinations

Find out more about this tour, including its price, by comparing Contiki on Tourradar. Plus, check out more tours for younger travellers in The Best Backpacker Bus Tours in New Zealand.

The 5 Best New Zealand Tours Starting From Christchurch šŸ”ļø [2022]© Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel – New Zealand South Island Adventure

A more active tour of New Zealand from Christchurch taking you to more destinations on the South Island, the New Zealand South Island Adventure tour with Intrepid Travel is well worth considering. The small-group tour lasts 12 days starting in Christchurch and ending in Queenstown. While there are plenty of highlights on the itinerary, including a Milford Sound cruise, it’s the off-the-beaten-track locations that are sure to stick with you, such as the historic mining towns of Reefton and Westport, the less-visited but no less impressive Fox Glacier and even the sub-antarctic Stewart Island!

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 12 days
Age Range: 15-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 12
Accommodation: Hotels, motels and cabins
Meals: 11 breakfasts

Destinations

Find out more about this tour, including prices, by comparing Intrepid Travel on Tourradar. For more small-group adventures, head to The Best Small-Group Tours in New Zealand.

Luxury Gold© Luxury Gold

Luxury Gold – The Long White Cloud

A bus tour doesn’t mean you have to rough it. Luxury Gold offers a 19-day tour of New Zealand from Christchurch with a wealth of inclusions for optimum comfort and ease. The Long White Cloud tour starts in Christchurch and ends in Auckland, taking you across both islands at a slightly slower pace than other tours featured on this list. During your travels, you’ll enjoy four and five-star hotels, most meals including dinner with wine, and a selection of usually paid activities, like the TranzAlpine, a jet boat ride, sea kayak at Milford Sound and much more.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 19 days
Age Range: 5-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 40
Accommodation: Hotels
Meals: 18 breakfasts, one lunch and 12 dinners

Destinations

Find out more about this tour by comparing Luxury Gold on Tourradar. Plus, see more tours of the whole country in The Best 20+ Days Tours of New Zealand.

Wild Kiwi© Wild Kiwi

Wild Kiwi – Southern Voyager

Finally, hit the road from Christchurch to Christchurch with fellow 18-35-year-olds on the Wild Kiwi Southern Voyager tour. Relax in luxury Mercedes vehicles fitting up to 18 people for that small-group experience. Top destinations are included in the itinerary, like Milford Sound, Franz Josef and Queenstown. You also don’t need to worry about breakfast, as that’s covered throughout your trip, however, there is only one dinner included.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 7 days
Age Range
: 18-35-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 18
Accommodation: Hostels
Meals: All breakfasts and one dinner

Destinations

Find out more about this tour by comparing Wild Kiwi on Tourradar. Plus, see a complete review in What is it Really Like to Travel With Wild Kiwi?

The 5 Best New Zealand Tours Starting from Christchurch šŸ”ļø [2022]© Inspiring Journeys

Inspiring Journeys ā€“ Southern Drift

Convenient, laid-back and just plain fun, the Southern Drift tour with Inspiring Journeys is an excellent way to explore the South Island. The 12-day New Zealand tour starts and ends in Christchurch, taking a range of passengers, from young teens to seniors, to the South Islandā€™s main bucket list destinations. Weā€™re talking about Franz JosefMilford Sound and Queenstown, as well as a few surprises along the way. Hotel accommodation is included. Meanwhile, Inspiring Journeys is just about the only escorted tour actually staying in Milford Sound. Some activities are also included, as well as most meals.

For more tours starting in Christchurch, check out The Best New Zealand Tours Starting in Christchurch.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 12 days
Age Range
: 12-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 20
Accommodation: Hotels and lodges
Meals: 11 breakfasts, one lunch and 11 dinners

Destinations

Find out more about this tour, including the price, by comparing Inspiring Journeys on Tourradar.

The 5 Best New Zealand Tours Starting from Christchurch šŸ”ļø [2022]© Backyard Roadies

Backyard Roadies ā€“ 10 Day South Island Adventure

One of the most affordable fully guided small-group tours in New Zealand, Backyard Roadiesā€˜ 10 Day South Island Adventure gets you seeing the major highlights. Travel with like-minded young travellers and enjoy included activities, such as kayaking in Franz Josef and a Milford Sound cruise, as well as optional add-on activities. Unlike many other small-group tours for 18-35-year-olds, most accommodation is twin-share or private double rather than moving from dorm room to dorm room.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 10 days
Age Range
: 18-35-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 12
Accommodation: Lodges and hostels
Meals: Nine breakfasts, two lunches and five dinners

Destinations

Find out more about this tour and others by comparing Backyard Roadies on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, check out more tours for 10 days in The 10 Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand.

The 5 Best New Zealand Tours Starting from Christchurch šŸ”ļø [2022]© Trafalgar

Trafalgar ā€“ Southern Spectacular

Enjoy an in-depth tour of the South Island across 10 days with this Southern Spectacular tour with Trafalgar. The 10-day New Zealand tour loops from Christchurch to Christchurch incorporating the TranzAlpine train journey and a Milford Sound cruise. Stay in upmarket hotels and enjoy a substantial number of meals on this tour that gives you more bang for your buck while having fewer logistics to organise. You also have two full days to experience Queenstown your way.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 10 days
Age Range: 5-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 50
Accommodation: Hotels
Meals: 9 breakfasts, one lunch and eight dinners

Destinations

Find out more about this tour, including the price, by comparing Trafalgar on Tourradar.

The 5 Best New Zealand Tours Starting from Christchurch šŸ”ļø [2022]© Adventure Junkies

Adventure Junkies ā€“ NZ Adventure

Experience the more adventurous side of New Zealand with Adventure Junkies! Their NZ Adventure tour is an ultra small-group tour taking up to 10 people to some of the highlights of the South Island. The tour starts in Christchurch and ends in Queenstown, taking adrenaline junkies to go white water rafting on a grade 5 river, stunning forests for hiking, kayaking in Milford Sound, and your choice of adventure in Queenstown. Other inclusions are accommodation, and both breakfast and lunch daily.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 10 days
Age Range
: 18-65-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 10
Accommodation: Apartments and motels
Meals: All breakfasts and all lunches

Destinations

Find out more about this tour by comparing Adventure Junkies on Tourradar. Plus, check out more tours from Christchurch in The 5 Best New Zealand Tours Starting from Christchurch.

The 5 Best New Zealand Tours Starting from Christchurch šŸ”ļø [2022]© Adventure South

Adventure South ā€“ West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail

Enjoy a cycle tour with like-minded travellers on the Adventure South West Coast Wilderness Trail tour. This five-day South Island adventure starts and ends in Christchurch and includes a scenic drive through Arthurā€™s Pass National Park to the West Coast. Youā€™ll then enjoy a guided cycle tour of the West Coast Wilderness Trail between Greymouth and Punakaiki. The tour includes meals, transport, bikes and entry to the West Coast Treetops Walkway.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 5 days
Age Range: 16-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 14
Accommodation: Hotels and motels
Meals: Four breakfasts, four lunches and three dinners

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour and prices by comparing Adventure South on Tourradar.

More About Bus Tours of New Zealand From Christchurch

That’s it for our list of the best tours of New Zealand starting from Christchurch. If these tours of the South Island from Christchurch were not really your thing, how about the tour listings in these articles?

Finally, compare all of your bus travel options in our complete guide, How to Travel by Bus in New Zealand.

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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