Christchurch is a beautiful city with plenty to occupy visitors, but greater Canterbury is a stunning area you shouldn’t miss. An ideal way to get around the region is with a Hertz Christchurch Airport car rental. Here are a few suggestions for day trips from Christchurch.
Kaikoura’s idyllic coastline is second to none and just a short drive up the coast from Christchurch – less than three hours. A must do is a chartered trip out on the water, whether you’re hoping to spot whales or reel in some fish. The area is renowned for its rich marine life. Seals, whales, dolphins, albatrosses and more all co-exist in this region. Grab a seafood meal at one of the local restaurants to make the most of the fresh fare available. Crayfish is one of the specialties and shouldn’t be missed.
For a relaxing sojourn, make the trip to Hanmer Springs – just a couple of hours north of Christchurch – and stay overnight. It’s a tiny resort settlement, population less than 1000, nestled in the foothills of the Southern Alps. Pampering is the name of the game in Hanmer, but there’s also plenty to satisfy the adventuring types. Enjoy the hot water springs, thermal pools and spa, take a horse trek around the area, hike through the forest, go bungy jumping, jetboating or have a round of golf. On the way back, stop in at the wineries in Waipara for a glass or two of vino.
About an hour from Christchurch, Akaroa is famous for its French origins. It’s an old whaling town, the oldest in the South Island, with a homey and welcoming seaside feel. Make the most of the great seafood, wine, and the Barry’s Bay cheese factory. Plus there’s dolphin and penguin watch trips if you’re feeling lucky and are eager to encounter some of the wildlife. The world’s smallest and rarest Hector’s dolphins are found in the area, and a cruise is your best bet at spotting one.
The quaint port town of Lyttelton played a key role in the settlement of Canterbury. It is linked to Christchurch by a tunnel that runs through the Port Hills – the country’s longest. The Lyttelton harbour is actually an ancient volcanic crater that eases into steep slopes that offer some breathtaking views. You might like to catch the gondola up to the height of the Port Hills. There are restaurants, shops and cafes to suit every taste. Try to visit on a Saturday to coincide with the buzz of the big farmers market. Go cruising along the harbour and take in the sealife and birdlife.