Best of Christchurch

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Christchurch
Base yourself in Christchurch to explore both the city (home to one of the biggest public parks in New Zealand) and diverse attractions along the South Island. Follow a Christchurch Must See tour to three of the main attractions, starting with the International Antarctic Centre, which recreates the atmosphere of Antarctica to provide an interactive experience of the Southern Continent, including historical exhibits, penguins, sled dog meet and greets, and rides in a snow vehicle — an educational nod to Christchurch’s status as the launching point for international Antarctic expeditions. You’ll also visit the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, where you can feed and pet native and introduced wildlife; and the Air Force Museum at Wigram, New Zealand's original Air Force base and home to 28 fully restored aircraft. 

Previous kimkim travelers have experienced a classic British-inspired tradition with an Edwardian punting trip on the Avon River, a gentle boat tour where you’ll be poled on a small flat-bottom boat through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Get airborne with a hot air balloon experience over the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps, or ride the TranzAlpine railway, one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, on an Arthur’s Pass and Otira Gorge day tour.
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Lake Tekapo
Map of Self-Drive New Zealand: Lakes, Mountains & Glaciers - 8 Days
Self-Drive New Zealand: Lakes, Mountains & Glaciers - 8 Days

Explore the beauty of New Zealand's South Island at your own pace with this self-drive tour. You'll start in Christchurch and drive through incredible villages on your way to Queenstown. Next, you'll explore breathtaking national parks before taking one of the world's greatest train journeys back to Christchurch. Get your adrenaline rush in along the way by bungee jumping, heli-skiing, mountain biking, and more!

Aoraki/Mount Cook
Map of New Zealand: Fjords, Glaciers, & Mountains Self-Drive Tour - 10 Days
New Zealand: Fjords, Glaciers, & Mountains Self-Drive Tour - 10 Days

This 10-day road trip through New Zealand takes you through fjords, glaciers, and mountains abound. Begin in Christchurch on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, then take the beautiful drive to Mt Cook National Park to embark on two excursions to discover Tasman Glacier and the surrounding peaks. Next is another eventful drive—with stops along the way—to Te Anau, including a visit to a glowworm cave and a day cruise through stunning Milford Sound. Explore Queenstown and board a dinner cruise, visit Wanaka and Franz Joseph Glacier, and drop off your car before riding the exhilarating TranzAlpine Scenic Train back to Christchurch.

The South Island's Lake Wanaka
New Zealand South Island Road Trip: Lakes, Mountains & Glaciers - 7 Days

This week-long itinerary takes you on a scenic road trip through the South Island’s most spectacular landscapes. Starting in the bustling city of Christchurch, set off across the Canterbury Plains to skirt the turquoise lakes of Tekapo and Pukaki and reach the towering Mount Cook. After two nights exploring the adventure capital of Queenstown, head north along the rugged West Coast to the magnificent Franz Joseph Glacier. For the final leg of your journey, take a break from driving and return to Christchurch via one of the most breathtaking train journeys on earth.

Sydney Harbour
Map of Best of New Zealand & Australia: Queenstown, Cairns, Sydney & More - 15 Days
Best of New Zealand & Australia: Queenstown, Cairns, Sydney & More - 15 Days

This fun two-week tour allows you to experience some of the highlights of New Zealand's South Island, as well as Australia's east coast. Begin in Christchurch, then travel across the mountains to explore mountains, glaciers, fiords, and the 'Adventure Capital of New Zealand', Queenstown. Traveling across to Australia, snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, visit one of the oldest rainforests in the world at the Daintree National Park, have fun at a theme park on the Gold Coast, see the highlights of Sydney, and marvel at the unparalleled natural beauty of the Blue Mountains. This tour fits a lot of varied sights and experiences into two action-packed weeks. 

Matamata
Map of New Zealand: From South Island to North Island - 7 Days
New Zealand: From South Island to North Island - 7 Days

Enjoy one week in New Zealand, from the South Island to the North Island. Begin in Christchurch on a fun sightseeing tour. Then, pick up your rental car and make a stop for a soak in Hanmer Springs, followed by a whale watching tour in Kaikoura. Next, drive from Picton, with a wine tasting stop along the way, and hop the Interislander Ferry to Wellington to tour the museum and native species. Head to Taupo for an incredible jet boating excursion to Huka Falls, tour the geothermal region of Rotorua by floatplane, visit a lush movie set in Matamata, and take a grand finale cruise around Auckland Harbour.

Discover the wild coastline of the Otago Peninsula on this 21-day road trip
New Zealand: Ultimate South Island Self-Drive - 21 Days

This unforgettable 21-day road trip carves a figure-eight through New Zealand's spectacular South Island. From Christchurch, travel through the Mackenzie Country to Mount Cook, then on to Otago and Dunedin. Explore Fiordland National Park's remote Doubtful Sound before heading north to Queenstown and the West Coast Glaciers, then cross the Southern Alps to enjoy a night in Arthur's Pass National Park. After exploring the Marlborough wine region and the golden sands of Abel Tasman National Park, end your trip with a scenic train journey back to Christchurch.

Discover New Zealand's diverse flora and fauna on this road trip
New Zealand's South Island: Luxury Self-Drive Tour - 15 Days

Experience the wilderness and wildlife of New Zealand's South Island on this 15-day self-drive itinerary. By day you'll drive through breathtaking landscapes and embark on outdoor adventures, while nights are spent in a series of secluded luxury lodges. Setting off from Christchurch, enjoy alpine walks in Mount Cook National Park, discover rich marine life on the Otago Peninsula, and cruise through the remote Doubtful Sound in Fiordland National Park. After adrenaline sports in Queenstown and an unforgettable trek across the Franz Josef Glacier, the scenic TranzAlpine train whisks you back to Christchurch.

Pukaki Lake in Queenstown
Map of New Zealand Self-Drive Tour: Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Franz Joseph & Queenstown - 8 Days
New Zealand Self-Drive Tour: Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Franz Joseph & Queenstown - 8 Days

Explore the highlights of New Zealand's North and South Islands on this self-drive adventure. Start in cosmopolitan Auckland before passing by the expansive cave system of Waitomo on your way to Rotorua. Here, you'll visit Tolkien's "Shire" and dip in thermal pools. Then, you'll fly over to South Island, where you'll drive yourself around Christchurch, explore the Glacier Region, and end in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world.

Milford Sound
Map of Highlights of New Zealand's South Island: Kaikoura, Mt. Cook, Queenstown & More - 12 Days
Highlights of New Zealand's South Island: Kaikoura, Mt. Cook, Queenstown & More - 12 Days

The 12-day itinerary includes some of the South Island's greatest experiences. It begins in Nelson, at the top of the South Island, and ends in Queenstown, near the bottom. Between these two towns you'll get the chance to try some of New Zealand's finest wine in its largest wine-producing region, Marlborough; spot whales in Kaikoura; see glaciers and glacial lakes at Mt. Cook; cruise on iconic Milford Sound; try adventure sports in the adrenaline capital of New Zealand, Queenstown; and much more.

A road along Hawea Lake in New Zealand's South Island
Map of Ultimate New Zealand Road Trip: Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Queenstown, Christchurch, & More - 14 Days
Ultimate New Zealand Road Trip: Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Queenstown, Christchurch, & More - 14 Days

Spend two weeks in New Zealand on this eventful road trip. From Auckland, drive through the Coromandel Peninsula to Whitianga. Then, stop in Tauranga before hitting geothermic Rotorua, followed by Art Deco-inspired Napier. Drive through gorges and vineyards toward Wellington, and ferry to Picton prior to arriving in Nelson. Cruise through beautiful Te Anau before closing out the journey in Christchurch.

Other popular travel destinations in New Zealand
North Island · South Island · Auckland