Cheap Christchurch Day Trip Ideas

Cheap Christchurch Day Trip Ideas

The hardest part about your trip to Christchurch New Zealand will be deciding when to go and what to do. With untold attractions available periodically throughout the year, there is much to see and do. You have to make the decision as to whether to enjoy their caffeine culture, explore the gateway to the Antarctica, tour a vineyard, backpack and bike along nature trails, or absorb the area’s arts and culture. Whatever you choose, don’t forget that using minibus hire in Christchurch will make getting around much easier and trouble-free.


All of these destinations offer an abundance of activities and/or attractions. With so many choices in one location, you will not only have an option as to what to do with your day but may even get to do more than one activity without having to travel to a separate destination.

The Wine Region in Waipara

At only 55 miles there and back (each way) this first day trip saves Christchurch visitors time and money on travel. Here you will find a shuttle to transport those who don’t prefer to walk or bike it throughout the region. Relax in the tasting rooms, stay at the luxury lodge if it’s in the budget, and take in the four wine restaurants and 80 wineries.

Getting there by car is relatively easy, most of the trip being along the SH 1. Based out of Canterbury Wines and lasting approximately 5 1/2 hours, the most popular winery tour includes local tastings at Pegasus Bay, Torless, and Mud House.

If you want to include a little more than wine in your day, visit Hanmer Springs, board the historical train, and partake in some water activities between tastings of food and wine.


There are a couple of different ways to achieve this approximate one hour and 20-minute daytrip (the distance to and from Christchurch, each way). And though you thought you were in Christchurch, New Zealand, you may find yourself feeling like you’ve somehow time travelled to France. And in fact, in New Zealand, it is the only (and first ever) French settlement. Volcano formations that are a million years old. Impressive wildlife collections, hiking trails, and best of all – a visit to the world’s rarest dolphin – are just a few of the things you can do in Akaroa. There is even a recently renovated Akaroa Heritage Museum for culture lovers.

If water and water sports are your passion, the chance to swim with the Hector’s Dolphin should not be passed up. It is, in fact, a main draw here attracting hundreds every year. There is also a cruise tour based on dolphin sightings. Once you get out of the water, enjoy what “Little France” has to offer in the way of on-land activities such as refined wine, its colourful character, the beautiful accommodations, boutique shops, and more. Take a scenic, guided tour or walk and/or bike around by yourself through the playground-like terrain.

Visit the West Coast

Home to world-class scenery, the West Coast is one of the most beautiful New Zealand South Island regions in existence. The trip is an all-day affair, however, because the West Coast is approximately 3 1/2 hours from Christchurch. Though there are several ways of getting there (car and bus included) possibly the best, most enjoyable method is by train. This in itself can be considered a fun and interesting attraction. Take the train one way and bus or car it the other way.

While you’re here, take in as many of the natural attractions as you can. But don’t expect to be able to see them all in one day! There are tours available or you can explore on your own; one of which is Heaphy Track. Popular to-do lists include Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, Hokitika Gorge, and Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. While you’re here you may consider visiting Lake Matheson for picture taking or seeing how many species of wildlife can be spied at the West Coast Wildlife Centre.

Feeling Energetic? Enjoy Hanmer Springs!

Grab your energy drink and be sure to take your vitamins because you’re going to need all the energy you can muster during a day trip to Hanmer Springs. Plan on a good hour and 15-minute drive each way from your accommodations in Christchurch. And though the all-around atmosphere here is relaxing with its impressive mountains and natural thermal pools, those not needing a tranquil day can busy themselves with a number of extremely physically-focused activities.

Here’s a sample of things to do for the fit and enthusiastic individual: Whitewater rafting through grade two rapids; rip through mud and cross rivers while quad biking; or thrill seekers can enjoy jet boating and bungee jumping. When you’re all through exhausting yourself, calm and relax your body in one of the thermal pools. Clearly, at Hanmer Springs, there’s something for everyone.

Arthur’s Pass National Park and Return Via TranzAlpine

If you didn’t know about this daytrip ahead of time, you may have left your skis at home! Though it will take, via a train ride (TranzAlpine), about 2 1/2 hours – particularly for ski enthusiasts – it’s well worth it. In all the world, it is one of the most enthralling train rides available. If you forgot your skis, fear not. You can still hike through the grandeur of Southern Alps, enjoy magnificent photo opportunities, and stop in at Arthur’s Pass.

If you’re feeling kick back, lazy, and un-energetic, hiking and skiing can wait. Visit the local eateries and enjoy the baked goods and a hot cup of coffee. Leisurely strolls to the Old Hero Viaduct or the Devil’s Punch Bowl are just as enjoyable as an invigorating hike or a ski down a mountain slope. (Depending, of course, on who you talk to.)

And don’t worry, if you truly fall in love with this location (and who wouldn’t) you can spend more than one day because there is a remote luxury Alpine lodge (if it’s in the budget) or a simple, eclectic bed and breakfast for overnight stays. And rest assured, the train departs daily.

Wherever you decide to go, whatever you decide to do, what matters is that you take in as much as possible during your visit to Christchurch and its surrounding areas. To make your day trips as stress-free in worry-free as possible, don’t forget to consider using Christchurch minibus hire for your transportation.

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