Cheap Day Trips from Christchurch
Christchurch, known for its English heritage, is located on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. Flat-bottomed punts glide on the Avon River, which winds through the city center. On its banks are cycling paths, the green expanse of Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The city center is also graced by numerous notable arts institutions. Inner-city streets conceal art projects and pocket gardens, dotted among a thinned-out cityscape featuring remnant stone buildings and the sharp, shiny architecture of the new. Curious travelers will revel in this chaotic, crazy and colorful mix, full of surprises that are inspiring in ways you can't even imagine. With so much to see, do, and taste, Christchurch is a great place to experience or use as a base for exploring other areas nearby, and there are several options for exciting day trips from the city to help you make the most of your time here.
Following hotel pickup in Queenstown, board the luxury coach for a leisurely 5-hour drive to Milford Sound, part of the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park. Departing the shores of Lake Wakatipu, you'll travel through the scenic countryside to Te Anau for a brief lunch break before continuing along the renowned Milford Road. Your driver provides informative narration and lets you stretch your legs during short walks and photo stops en route to your destination. Upon arrival, board the Milford Mariner for your Milford Sound overnight cruise. The purpose-built vessel is designed for the fiords, with an observation lounge and large open decks to view the many landmarks, such as Mitre Peak, accompanied by commentary from the nature guide on board. Keep your camera on hand as you pass waterfalls, rainforests and glacier-carved cliffs en route to the Tasman Sea, and search for South Island marine life such as New Zealand fur seals, Fiordland penguins, and bottlenose dolphins. In the afternoon, the Milford Mariner anchors overnight in the tranquil waters of Harrison Cove. Enjoy kayaking or exploring the shoreline on the tender craft with a guide, or just relax on deck. Then sate your appetite with a delicious three-course buffet dinner, served in the spacious dining saloon. If you'd like, you can purchase a drink at the licensed, onboard bar before retiring to your private single or twin-share en-suite cabin. The next morning, enjoy a cooked breakfast and further cruising before returning to Milford Sound Wharf. After disembarkation, you'll return to Queenstown.
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Start your Waimak jet-boat tour with hotel pickup in Christchurch, travel along the rural roads of the Canterbury Plains to the foothills of the Southern Alps. The snow-fed waters of the Waimakariri River enter canyons and gorges where steep rock faces are lined with native forests. The 30-minute jet boat tour of the Lower Waimak is ideal for those with limited time. Upon reaching the braided Waimakariri River, snap on your provided life jacket, listen to a safety briefing, and hop into the powerful jet boat for a high speed ride. Your expert captain skims over shallow river flats and shingle-bottom streams on an ever-changing course with 360-degree spins and hairpin turns. Allow 1.5 hours from the City Centre and return. If you have more time to spend amid this spectacular alpine landscape take the opportunity to upgrade your tour to include an extended jet-boat ride all the way to the upper Waimakariri Gorge, with access to remote areas that are otherwise out of reach. 60 minutes of true New Zealand jet boating. A Canyon Safari Adventure. Allow 4 hours from the City Centre and return.
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This 2-day Kaikoura wildlife tour includes round-trip coach transport from Christchurch and overnight accommodation in a 5-star hotel. Hear live commentary on board the bus and learn from expert nature guides during two marine cruises. On the first day, enjoy a whale-watching cruise, then board another boat on the second day to observe fur seals and use provided snorkel gear to swim with dusky dolphins. Top off your overnight trip with wine tasting at a North Canterbury vineyard. On day 1, travel by coach through the rolling hill country of North Canterbury, enjoying the beauty of its pastoral scenes, to Kaikoura where mountains meet sea. Kaikoura is world-renowned for the variety of marine mammals which can be seen, not least of all the giant sperm whales and the acrobatic dusky dolphins. On arrival in Kaikoura you will be transferred to a whale-watching tour by boat. This afternoon is free for you to explore Kaikoura. On day 2, join a swim-with-dolphins cruise. You will be fully equipped with wetsuit, mask, snorkel and flippers in order to swim in the sea with dusky dolphins. There will be an opportunity during the day to visit a seal colony where fur seals may be viewed at close quarters. Returning to Christchurch this afternoon, a stop is made at a North Canterbury vineyard where a wine tasting has been arranged for your pleasure.
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Following hotel pickup in Christchurch, settle in for a comfortable 2.5-hour scenic drive by coach. You'll drive through the North Canterbury region of the North Island to Kaikoura, New Zealand's prime whale-watching locale. Climb aboard your boat and meet expert guides who explain the town's whaling history and point out the area's abundant marine life throughout your Kaikoura whale-watching cruise. Hikurangi Trench, located not far offshore, creates an upwelling that draws the showstopper attraction - mighty sperm whales, who ply Kaikoura's waters year-round, as well as migrating blue whales, pilot whales, humpback whales and southern right whales, depending on the season. Be prepared to watch the whales spout, breach and slap their large tails on the water. Keep an eye out for orcas as well as Hector's dolphins, the world's smallest and rarest dolphins. Kaikoura boasts the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on New Zealand's mainland, including seven types of shearwaters, 13 species of albatross and 14 varieties of petrels. Sate your appetite with lunch at a local restaurant, if you select this option in your tour, or purchase your own meal. Relax with views of the imposing snow-capped peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Range. Then re-board the coach to witness New Zealand fur seals at a nearby colony. Stop for wine tasting at a North Canterbury vineyard en route to Christchurch, where your tour ends in the evening when your guide returns you to your hotel.
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