Christchurch is the largest city of the South Island. Sprawling out across the Canterbury Plains, Christchurch was incorporated as a city in 1862. It was named after the Oxford College attended by John Robert Godley, leader of the settlers arriving in the first four ships to Christchurch. It is a charming city, a garden city with many parks within its boundaries. The city has a backdrop of the Southern Alps and long, ocean beaches are only a short drive away.
- Airlie Beach
- Kingfisher Bay (Fraser Island)
- Norfolk Island
- Penneshaw (Kangaroo Island)
- Perth (Fremantle)
- Phillip Island
- Thursday Island
- Whitsunday Island
Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
Cruise the scenic Lyttelton Harbour, an extinct volcanic crater and the gateway to Antarctica, on an approximately 2-hour discovery cruise aboard your tour catamaran. Full commentary is provided by your local knowledgeable skipper.
You will get up close to the water and go in search of one of the world's rarest and smallest dolphins - the Hector's or New Zealand dolphin. You will also go on a journey to discover coastal marine birdlife such as breeding spotted shags, white fronted terns and numerous species of gulls. As well as the natural wildlife, you will see evidence of the harbour’s violent, volcanic past.
Lyttelton also has a fascinating history, and your skipper will point out the many significant sites including those of the early Maori and European settlers. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee as you hear the stories from the historic Lyttelton Township, the legends of Ripapa Island and more.
Please note: This tour includes limited walking and is mostly seated. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off transportation, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. All guests must be able to board the boat from the jetty via a small gangway with handrails. Casual clothing which should include a light jacket and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Enjoy a cup of tea in a beautifully restored heritage tram while the city sites go by. Ride the Caterpillar, an electric open-sided trolley that meanders through the Botanic Gardens.
Board your motorcoach for a 30-minute narrated drive to Christchurch where you will have the chance to experience a unique Christchurch activity which is not to be missed. Enjoy a journey in style through the changing face of Christchurch’s city centre on board the beautifully restored heritage restaurant tram, the only one of its kind in New Zealand. Incorporate a delicious morning tea with a sightseeing tour showcasing Christchurch’s inner city vibrancy and heritage – truly a mix of the old and the new. Your friendly and knowledgeable driver/guide will provide information about the city, its landmarks and local sights. Cathedral Junction, the Gothic-style Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum and New Regent Street are just some of sights to be seen from the comfort of your tram.
Continuing your Christchurch experience, you will join the ‘Caterpillar’, an electric open-sided trolley bus that will take you on a guided tour through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Admire these wonderfully impressive gardens with their mixture of seasonal colours and array of plant life. You will have the opportunity to view some of the best examples of native and exotic flora in New Zealand as well as New Zealand’s only World Peace Bell.
At the end of your guided tour enjoy some free time before reboarding your coach for the return drive to your ship in Lyttelton.
Please note: Walking on this tour is mainly at guests’ discretion during free time. Casual clothing which should include a light jacket and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Practice yoga and mindful mediation at a retreat overlooking magnificent Purau Bay to increase self-awareness, gain clarity of mind and nourish the spirit.
After boarding a ferry at the pier, you will cruise across Lyttelton Harbour, taking in the beautiful sights such as Quail Island along the way. Named for a now-extinct native quail, the island is also known as Otamahua, Maori for “place to gather sea bird eggs.”
Soon after cruising into Purau Bay, you will arrive at Shunyata, a nurturing retreat that offers therapies intended to open the heart to the beauty of life. Your experience at Shunyata will start with a yoga session on an outdoor deck that overlooks the shimmering sea.
Through deep breathing and slowly moving from yoga posture to posture, you will endeavor to become more self-aware and attuned to your connection to the world. While there are many different forms of yoga, they all promote physical and emotional well-being. Your instructor will help you achieve the benefits of yoga in a personal manner.
Afterwards, you will practice meditation and mindfulness to further enhance your relaxed state of mind and physical bliss. The goal is to gain clarity and become more aware of what you’re experiencing moment to moment, without judgments or any thoughts about past or future concerns. It can be a transformative experience, as you will discover meditation techniques that can be applied later, after you return home.
Following mediation, you will enjoy a healthy lunch and then return to the pier.
Explore the highlights of Christchurch during this scenic and relaxing half-day tour of the city and countryside.
Depart the pier in Lyttelton for the drive around Lyttelton Harbor, an extinct volcano, then on to idyllic Governors Bay, traveling through the countryside, with its picturesque bays, panoramic views of rolling hills and sheep grazing in the green fields. New Zealand is known for its sheep industry, as your first destination will show you.
You'll arrive at Manderley Farm, one of many farms in this area of Canterbury, greeted by a friendly hello and morning tea. After your refreshment, experienced farm hands will then lead you to the sheep-shearing shed where you'll get to see a demonstration. Another key member of the sheepherding team is the dog. You'll marvel at the considerable talents of these four-legged herders as they perform a lively display of their abilities for you. See top New Zealand sheep dogs gather a mob of sheep from nearly hills herding them down for their master for your photo opportunity. These champion sheep dogs will take whistle commands from half a mile distance with speed and agility. Ross will talk about his life experiences farming the hills over the last 30 years.
Next, you will proceed for a drive along the shores of Lake Ellsmere, and through the small township of Tai Tapu en route to Christchurch. While driving through the city, you will see some of the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake. You will be able to see how Christchurch is preserving some of its iconic heritage buildings and hear about the exciting vision to rebuild and restore the inner city. You will then return to Lyttelton via the Lyttelton Tunnel.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of easy to moderate walking/standing. There may be some natural surfaces to negotiate at the farm. Due to accessibility issues at the farm, the tour is not recommended to wheelchair guests. Casual clothing which should include a light jacket; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
The Christchurch City Highlights tour covers all the 'must see' central city sights while enjoying spectacular views.
See areas affected by the Canterbury earthquakes and learn about the exciting rebuild that is now taking place in Christchurch and enjoy an informative commentary from your guide while you see the Arts Centre, Christchurch Cathedral, Re:Start Container Mall and much more!
You will spend time wandering through the stunning Mona Vale Gardens, one of Christchurch’s most famous and spectacular gardens, along the Avon River, surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna. Flowerbeds adorn the perfectly manicured lawns, as well as rhododendrons, azaleas and many more exotic trees planted in the gardens.
Next, travel out to the quaint seaside village of Sumner. Here, you will have time to explore the beach while taking in the beautiful views of the sea towards the Southern Alps.
Before heading back to Lyttelton, make your way up the Port Hills and stop at the Sign of the Takahe, where you will enjoy spectacular views of the city, mountains and ocean.
Please note: Casual clothing which should include a light jacket and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Join this journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts High Country Station -- a farm in the breathtaking Southern Alps of New Zealand; visit one of the most stunning and recognizable Lord of the Rings locations; and learn all about Christchurch. But you don’t have to be a Lord of the Rings fan to enjoy this amazing day out.
Take a scenic journey over the farmland of the Canterbury Plains to the country town of Rakaia, where you will stop for morning tea. Head inland from Mt Somers towards the heart of the Southern Alps with a photo stop at Lake Clearwater. On a clear day, this spectacular alpine lake features fabulous views over the lake to the mountain chain that forms the backbone of the South Island. This is the stuff of lasting memories.
Continue to Mt Potts Station, home of Edoras, where you will experience firsthand why this remote and beautiful location was chosen for filming the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. Immerse yourself in the natural, unspoiled beauty of the high country with its sparkling clear lakes, glistening blue rivers, rugged mountain ranges and fresh crisp mountain air. Enjoy free time to explore this magical landscape and you might want to have your photo taken with Lord of the Rings replica swords.
Travel a short distance to Mt Somers Village for a rustic lunch stop before you relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery en route back to Lyttelton via the city of Christchurch, for an orientation tour coving the 'must see' central city sights before heading back to Lyttelton.
Please note: Casual clothing which should include a light jacket and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Your tour begins with a 30-minute narrated drive to the Air Force Museum of New Zealand. Located in Christchurch on the site of the former Air Force Base at Wigram, the museum offers a unique and memorable visitor experience with hands-on exhibitions and programmes. The Museum holds the national collection of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. You will discover the historic aircraft and hear captivating and moving stories of the men and women of the New Zealand Air Force as you are guided through the Museum galleries.
Following your visit, you will be transferred to one of New Zealand’s most popular award-winning tourist attractions. The International Antarctic Centre offers a fun, exciting and interactive experience of Antarctica. It is located in a unique working Antarctic campus, home to the New Zealand, United States and Italian Antarctic programmes. Visitors can enjoy ‘Antarctica’ - the snow and ice experience, survive an Antarctic Storm, learn about life in modern day Antarctica and Scott Base and see the Little Blue Penguins. You can also take a cruise down to Antarctica in the new 4D Extreme Theatre and experience riding in a genuine all terrain amphibious Antarctic vehicle – the Hagglund.
At the conclusion of your Antarctic experience, enjoy a short drive through Christchurch’s inner city and learn how the city is recovering from the devastating 2011 earthquake, before returning to the ship in Lyttelton.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3-hours of moderate walking/standing over mostly flat surfaces. Participating in interactive activities is at guests' discretion. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off transportation and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Casual clothing which should include a light jacket and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Embrace your spirit of adventure on an exhilarating journey into the high country of the Southern Alps, which you'll experience by custom built 4x4 touring vehicle, jet boat and motor coach.
Your day begins with a coach ride directly into the Canterbury Plains, the largest area of flat land in New Zealand. Lying between the mountains and sea, the fertile farmland looks like a patchwork quilt of earthen colours that reflect the crops grown here, which include wheat, herbs and sunflowers, punctuated by pastures of grass for grazing. It is truly an agricultural paradise.
However, the scenery changes dramatically as you enter the high country and drive on to Rubicon Station on the banks of the spectacular Waimakariri river gorge. Once here you will enjoy discovering Rubicon and Mt Torlesse Station in a 4x4 touring vehicle. What a joy to drive around the acres of rugged high country, framed by the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps and river gorges. Make sure to bring along your camera as there will be several photo stops along the way to capture the spectacular scenery.
After enjoying the exciting 4x4 adventure you will stop for lunch. After lunch the excitement continues with a lighting fast jet boat ride and be treated to an entirely different view of the magnificent high country. Zipping up the Waimakariri River, you’ll ride up the steep-walled gorge to Stair Case Viaduct. It's a thrill to see the natural beauty of the area from this perspective, even more so on a jet boat capable of making 360-degree spins.
Following this exhilarating adventure, you'll board a motor coach and drive back to the pier in Lyttelton.
Please note: Although this tour does not involve much walking, it is geared towards the adventurous traveller. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or who utilize a wheelchair. Wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring a jacket in the event of rain or cooler weather. This tour cannot operate when the Waimakariri River is flooded; you will be notified regarding same by 7 a.m. on the day of the tour.