Christchurch
Safaris & Wildlife Activities

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Our most recommended Christchurch Safaris & Wildlife Activities

Christchurch: Orana Wildlife Park Admission

1. 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.

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

2. 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

3. 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: Akaroa & Banks Peninsula Wild Penguin Eco-Tour

4. Christchurch: Akaroa & Banks Peninsula Wild Penguin Eco-Tour

Enjoy a full day adventure taking in the breath-taking scenery of the rugged Banks Peninsula coastline and farmlands. Stopover at scenic lookouts and visit quaint Little River Gallery as well as the award-winning Barrys Bay Cheese factory at Duvauchelles.  The highlight of the day is encountering wild Penguins at Flea Bay, Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. Discover the penguin colony in their natural habitat at remote Pohatu (the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand). Your tour includes a catered lunch, refreshments, and expert guided tour of the penguin colony by a local family of conservationists. Learn about the area’s rich history, native flora and fauna, and Pohatu’s unique penguin conservation program. Be greeted by the farm's friendly pet sheep and see White-Flippered penguins as the people of Pohatu monitor nesting sites.  If visiting between mid-November and mid-February, you may even be lucky enough to see rehabilitation efforts such as supplemental feedings and swim therapy. Pohatu have been conserving the Little Penguins for over 30 years and have 4 conservation awards for their efforts in penguin conservation, protection, and monitoring. Spending time with Pohatu even helps the preservation of these beautiful birds for future generations. 

Akaroa: 3-Hour Guided Sunrise Sea Kayaking Safari

5. Akaroa: 3-Hour Guided Sunrise Sea Kayaking Safari

Experience the best of nature on a 3-hour guided kayak safari from Akaroa town. Venture into an eco-paradise and view wildlife along the way. Stop at a remote beach for refreshments, a swim, or just to explore. After a briefing session at 07:30 the tour heads out on a gentle paddling excursion. After about an hour, you’ll stop for a break at the beach. No experience is necessary for this adventure. It’s easy and fun and suitable for anyone 12 years of age and older! The early morning trip can make for spectacular sightings. The guides say that these are the best trips of the day, as there’s no one around, and it’s just you and nature and your silent kayak. What you’ll actually see on the safari depends on a number of factors, but often guests report seeing cormorants diving, gannets feeding, and fur seals and flippered penguins playing. There have even been sightings of the rare, small Hector’s dolphin. Included in the tour at no additional cost are photos that your guide will take, refreshments, a personal picnic blanket, a remote beach stop for a swim or relaxation, and brief stops on the water to hear about interesting events, and facts about the wildlife and points of interest.

From Christchurch: Lyttelton Harbor Morning Kayaking Tour

6. From Christchurch: Lyttelton Harbor Morning Kayaking Tour

Discover the wonders of Lyttelton harbor on a group kayaking tour. Travel from Christchurch before dawn to view hard to reach coastline. See the local wildlife wake for the day. Have hot drinks and a beachside brunch. Be picked up from your accommodation in Christchurch. Sit back and relax as you drive to Lyttelton harbor. Gear up and push off from the shore. Enjoy the calm morning air, and depending on the time of the year, watch the sunrise from the water. Weave along the coast quietly to ensure that wildlife is undisturbed. Get close to rock formations and empty beaches. Go out to quail island and learn about its rich history and wildlife. Stop at a pristine beach for a delicious brunch. Warm up with hot drinks before heading back to Christchurch.

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What people are saying about Christchurch

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 12 reviews

Such a great day out was lovely myself (mum) and little miss (4yo) on a Wednesday as it wasn't that busy the staff are very approachable and informative we got a good look at all the animals and we got to see the cheaters as they sometimes are hard to see which was amazing bring on the day you can watch the lions eat up close and we will be back in a heart beat. ❤️

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!

Great day. Great weather. Sad the ground was so dry and no grass growing. All staff were great. It would be neat to be able to buy a little picture book with details about the park to take away

Really enjoyed with family. Cooked bbq on site very conveniently and kids was overwhelmed with play ground and mini bus ride. Very interesting and educational watching all the animals.

Totally loved it …interactive lots of animals we hadn’t seen before like kea… we had an awesome time and would definitely recommend.