Top 5 day trips from Christchurch

Story by: Shannon Aldridge     Date: 6 September 2021    Image by: Canva

3 minutes reading time New Zealand

Christchurch is a great city to plant yourself for a few days while visiting the South Island of New Zealand. It is also a great city to locate yourself if you want to venture out on day trips but remain at the same accommodation. Here are some awesome day trips to take while you base yourself in Christchurch city.


Akaroa is just over an hour’s drive from Christchurch and is a French settlement with a relaxed pace and great vibe. From Akaroa, you can embark on some day hikes, swim with the native Hector’s dolphins, and visit the native white flippered penguins. The bank’s peninsula region has some wildlife native to the area, some in very small numbers, so if you have an interest in native wildlife this is a must-visit location.

Kaikoura, New Zealand


Kaikoura is a coastal village a few hours north of Christchurch. It boasts swimming with the dolphins and whale watching expeditions, which are must-do experiences in New Zealand. The Kaikoura Whale Watch and Dolphin Swim are run by the local Maori (indigenous people of New Zealand) and they provide a respectful cultural experience that stands out as a wonderful kiwi tourist attraction.

Hanmer Springs, New Zealand

Hanmer Springs

Located 2 hours north of Christchurch is the quaint alpine village of Hanmer Springs, not only does this village offer relaxation in the mineral springs and rock pools. But you can explore the outdoors, by hiring some bikes or hiking the area. Reasonably close to the Hanmer is also the Hanmer Springs Bungy jump and jet boating if you are compelled to get a tad more adventurous!

Arthurs Pass, New Zealand

Arthurs Pass

Arthurs Pass is a scenic trip inland from Christchurch if you are keen on hiking and the outdoors. While there are hikes to do close in Christchurch, Arthurs Pass provides that alpine escape whilst still being very accessible. It is also extremely isolated and riddled with hiking tracks. If you came to New Zealand to explore the outdoors, but want to base yourself in Christchurch Arthurs Pass is a great option for a day trip by train, bus, or car.

Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand

Quail Island

Quail Island is a different kind of adventure for a day trip, only a 15-minute drive or 30 minutes on the local bus to Lyttelton from Christchurch. You can explore the quaint township of Lyttelton while waiting for the boat to take you to the Island. Only two boats a day run to and from the Island so it takes some planning, but well worth the trip. The island is set in the middle of Lyttelton Harbour, previously a leper colony and quarantine island, it is now home to a wide range of New Zealand native plants and wildlife. The whole island takes approximately 2 hours to walk around. With highlights including the shipwreck cove, the native flora and fauna, the leper graveyard, the beaches, and the panoramic view of the harbor. This island is a highlight if you stay a bit longer in Christchurch, it is an inexpensive day trip to make.

Christchurch is a wonderful city to explore, with great up-and-coming activities since rebuilding itself after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. It is also the main airport location, so make sure to stop there for a bit longer to make the most of the city and surrounding attractions.

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