Christchurch
Nature & Adventure

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Our most recommended Christchurch Nature & Adventure

Christchurch Gondola Ride

1. Christchurch Gondola Ride

Take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola to see the beautiful Alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch city and suburbs. The gondola ride is 10-minutes each way at normal speed and each cable car stops to allow you to board and disembark safely.  Marvel at the Southern Alps to the west, and the Kaikoura Mountains to the north. To the south lies the beautiful harbor of Christchurch, and to the east is the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy 360-degree views of the plains, mountains, city, and harbor from the glass-enclosed gondola. At the summit, you can browse the souvenir shop or visit the cafe. Experience authentic Kiwi flavors as you take in the spectacular views. If you are feeling more energetic, explore one of the many walking trails like the hike to the Crater Rim. Travel back in time at the Time Tunnel experience to learn about the development of the region. The automated ride is a definite highlight with children and adults alike!

Christchurch: Vintage Tram, Punt and Gondola Ride Combo

2. Christchurch: Vintage Tram, Punt and Gondola Ride Combo

Experience Christchurch from different perspectives with a combined city tour by vintage tram, punt along the River Avon and cable car ride aboard the Christchurch Gondola. Climb aboard a classic, flat-bottomed boat for a delightful punt along the River Avon. Venture through the city center propelled by a boatman dressed in Edwardian costume. Set off from Worcester Street Bridge and listen to the live commentary about how the city was rebuilt after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and remains fast-growing. See the beautiful alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch and its suburbs on board the Christchurch Gondola cable car. Explore the history of the region in the unique Time Tunnel experience, and pause for refreshments at the Red Rock Café. Marvel at the Southern Alps and Kaikoura Mountains, and get 360-degree views of the plains, mountains, city and harbor from the glass-enclosed cabin. Once at the summit, purchase souvenirs in the "Shop at the Top" or go for a hike on one of the many walking trails, such as the trek to Crater Rim, formed by the volcanic activity that created Port Hills. Journey by vintage tram and see the “Garden City” at your own pace with a full-day hop-on and hop-off ticket. Explore the regenerated city center to see innovative architecture, such as a shopping complex made out of shipping containers. Listen to a fascinating commentary from your driver as you take a full circuit in just 50 minutes, or jump on and off at leisure at 17 strategic stops. Discover the vast urban space of Hagley Park, explore the boutique stores of New Regent Street and much more!

Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo

3. Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo

Climb aboard the Christchurch Gondola cable car and enjoy spectacular 360-degree views across the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps as you glide across the slopes of Mount Cavendish in the Port Hills. See as far as the city and harbor as you ride up to the summit 445 meters above sea level. Make use of the facilities at the top, such as the Time Tunnel ride, a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the region. Revive your spirits at the Red Rock Café before or after going for a walk or bike ride along the many nature trails. Take a unique sightseeing tour of the inner city aboard an antique tram as the driver provides a live and entertaining commentary. A full circuit takes 50 minutes and includes 17 stops, where you can hop on and off as often as you wish. Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Cathedral Junction, Canterbury Museum, and much more.  

Christchurch: Orana Wildlife Park Admission

4. Christchurch: Orana Wildlife Park Admission

Experience the ultimate animal adventure at Orana Wildlife Park. Set in 80 hectares, within 15 minutes drive of Christchurch airport, Orana is New Zealand’s only open-range zoo. Discover over 400 animals, representing more than 70 species. Arrive at the park from 10 AM in the morning. Regular animal feed presentations occur daily, commencing at 10:45 AM, and are accompanied by a presentation from a wildlife guide. It is recommended to arrive at the park early and follow the presentation schedule which will lead you around the entire zoo. As you explore the grounds, enjoy a range of amazing wildlife experiences including hand-feeding the giraffes and meeting rhino up close. Stroll through the aviaries to observe kiwi, and other stunning native birds including kakariki, whio, tui, and mischievous kea. See a range of native reptiles and meet friendly domestic animals in the Farmyard area. Also, enjoy the antics of gorillas, tigers, cheetah, Tasmanian devils, monkeys, meerkats, and more. Either ride through the park on the complimentary Safari Shuttle, join a guided walkabout tour, and/or meander around the park at your own leisure. The park contains a children’s adventure playground, 2 large picnic areas, a café, and a wildlife-themed gift shop for you to explore at your own pace.

Christchurch Gondola and Punt on the Avon River

5. Christchurch Gondola and Punt on the Avon River

See Christchurch from different perspectives with a combined punt along the Avon River aboard a classic flat-bottomed boat, and a ticket for the Christchurch Gondola cable car.  Travel with a guide dressed in Edwardian costume, who will provide a live commentary as they punt you along the river. Depart from the Worcester Street Bridge landing site and discover how the city is fast-growing and rebuilding after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Blankets are provided on cold days, so don't let the weather put you off. Take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola cable car, and see the beautiful Alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch city center and its suburbs. Explore the history of the region in the unique Time Tunnel experience, and pause for reflection at the Red Rock Café. Marvel at the Southern Alps to the west, and the Kaikoura Mountains to the north. To the south lie the beautiful harbor of Christchurch, and to the east is the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy 360-degree views of the plains, mountains, city and harbor from the glass-enclosed cabin. Purchase souvenirs in the "Shop at the Top" once you reach the summit, or go to the Red Rock Café for some refreshments. If you are feeling more energetic, take one of the many walking trails, such as the hike to Crater Rim, formed by the volcanic activity that created Port Hills. Travel back in time at the unique Time Tunnel experience, and learn about the development of the region.

Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch

6. Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch

Experience dramatic glacier lakes, snow-capped mountains, and beautiful alpine walks on a small-group day trip from Christchurch. After pick-up from your hotel, journey to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, located a 4 hours' drive through spectacular and breathtaking landscapes. Visit the historic town of Geraldine. Then discover the heart of Mackenzie Country, the captivatingly turquoise Lake Tekapo, the iconic Church of Good Shepherd, and the well-recognized statue of Sheepdog. Travel through Lake Pukaki and admire stunning views of Mt. Cook from a distance. Enjoy a short scenic hike in the National Park to view the 23.5kms long Tasman Glacier which is the longest glacier in New Zealand. On your return journey, visit the Alpine Lavender Farm and capture some beautiful moments in the pristine environment.

Arthur's Pass: TranzAlpine Train and Castle Hill Day Tour

7. Arthur's Pass: TranzAlpine Train and Castle Hill Day Tour

Experience the South Island's remarkable natural landscapes by taking a journey on a train from Christchurch to Arthur's Pass, which is considered one of the world's greatest train journeys for the scenery it passes. Enjoy breathtaking views of Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps, ice-fed Waimakariri River, lush beech forests, and stunning landscapes. Explore walking tracks in Arthur's Pass National Park with spectacular mountain views & pristine waterfalls. Capture mirror images at Lake Pearson & wander through the majestic limestone boulders at Castle Hill. A perfect day trip for nature lovers, hikers, and adventure seekers.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Day Entry Ticket

8. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Day Entry Ticket

Get up close and personal with New Zealand native wildlife at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. The wildlife park and nature reserve is located 5 minutes drive from Christchurch Airport and 20 minutes drive from Christchurch CBD. Set in a natural environment with a great variety of wildlife species, Willowbank is suitable for all ages. Learn about New Zealand's endangered wildlife and Willowbank's continuing involvement in conservation. Walk through the massive kea enclosure to meet the worlds only alpine parrot, check out the world's only living dinosaur (tuatara), one of the rarest birds in the world (takahe) and a rare bush parrot (kaka). Be sure to visit the specially constructed viewing facility where you are guaranteed to see kiwi with no glass to hinder your view! Relax at the onsite cafe and bar, before, during or after exploring the reserve. Take a break overlooking the deer paddock. During winter, enjoy the ambience of the roaring open fire! 

Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

9. Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

Leaving Christchurch via the "Great Alpine Highway", you'll cross the flat farmland of the Canterbury Plains towards the mountains. Halfway across the plains you will discover the small rural town of Darfield, where you will enjoy a short stop which will allow you to sample some of the local delicacies from the famous Darfield Bakery. Your next stop is Springfield, just 20 minutes down the road. Complete with its giant doughnut statue it's well worth a photo, and your guide will explain just how the town ended up with this giant doughnut. From Springfield the road winds its way up over Porters Pass at 900 meters, before continuing past Lake Lyndon and arriving at Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti. This area is an amazing labyrinth of giant limestone boulders that sit in the Craigieburn Basin, surrounded by mountains. The area is rich with cultural and recreational significance and has a Tōpuni status of a "symbolic cloak of protection”. It is also known internationally as a world-class climbing, bouldering, photography, and film-making destination. Your guide will show you around and explain the geography and cultural significance of the area, before sitting you down for a picnic lunch. Following lunch you will have free time to explore the boulder fields in your own time, before meeting back at the car park at 2:00PM. From there, your return journey back to Christchurch takes approximately 1.5-2 hours.

Christchurch: Rock Climbing with Guide, Lunch, and Transport

10. Christchurch: Rock Climbing with Guide, Lunch, and Transport

The tour starts with a short scenic drive on the way up to the climbing area, known locally as a “crag.” Only 15 minutes from Christchurch, the road passes through the second longest road tunnel in New Zealand and into the historic port town of Lyttelton. You’ll have some time here to explore the quirky little town that has been the launching port for many Antarctic exploration voyages. Leaving Lyttelton, the road ascends steeply up Evans Pass affording views of Lyttelton Harbour and the busy port below. Just 15 minutes from Lyttelton, near the top of the Port Hills, is Cattlestop Crag and other pop-up climbing areas. Your guide will set up some suitable rock climbs for the group and, before anyone starts climbing, you'll have a safety briefing and learn you how to use the equipment. Once everyone has got the hang of the system, your guide will continue to set up appropriately challenging climbs. With over 2,000 climbing routes in Christchurch, there are plenty of options no matter what your level of experience. Take a break to enjoy picnic-style lunch overlooking Christchurch or Lyttelton depending on the climbing area used. After lunch, your guide will set up an abseil for you to try lowing yourself down from the top of a cliff. After the abseil, your guide will take you to another crag in the local area for another abseil or more climbing. Leaving the crag at around 4 PM, you’ll get back into Christchurch around 4:45 PM where your guide will drop you back at your hotel or at the meeting point outside Canterbury Museum.

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What people are saying about Christchurch

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 100 reviews

It was a great combi to take all 3 activities. The kids loved it. We started off with the Punting. The guide was knowledgeable and it was a relaxing ride down the river. We later drove to the Gondola base station. The views were breath taking. Do note it can get cold on the top. Taking the tram was fun and we got on and off several stations. Key is starting early at 10am to make sure you can cover all 3 activities in 1 day.

Amazing experience! The scenic train has audio commentary on the scenes along the journey. The weather was great in the morning, unfortunately it was raining and became cloudy in the afternoon. Our guide, Anuj, was really friendly and helpful. We stopped by several scenic spots after hiking at the National Park. Recommended day trip!

Definitely something to add to your travel list! Tour guide was amazing and was very informative and patient with us. Definitely take walking shoes. Views were absolutely breathtaking!

View from the top of gondola is amazing! Punting on the Avon river was so lovely, they even gave blankets and hot water bottle to keep us warm. Extra touch really appreciatedx

Easy, scenic, worthwhile experience. As long as the weather is good. We had a beautiful sunny day so we’re very lucky.