Did someone say road trip?
We love Christchurch, but sometimes, it is nice to get out of the city and explore something new and exciting nearby. Wonderfully, Canterbury offers some iconic gems to discover, and on a boring winter day, venturing on one of the greatest New Zealand day trips could be the pick-me-up you need. From scenic mountain drives to observing marine life, we’ve found something for everyone to enjoy. So why not take an epic winter road trip to one of these magical seven spots.
Take a scenic road trip, one hour and 15 minutes drive from Christchurch, to land at the popular town of Akaroa. This spot is New Zealand’s first French settlement rich in culture and heritage. Head to Akaroa Heritage Park where you will experience surreal views of the sea and green hillside. On a winter day, you don’t even need to leave your car to be mesmerised by the scenery via the hilltop route. Embrace the views at Stony Bay Peak, overlooking the bay and town, while you could also look forward to seeing marine wildlife at the Harbour. Artsy folks and kids will enjoy the Giant’s House, which is a quirky house and garden, full of sculptures, mirrors and mosaics. Read all about it here.
2. Hurunui Region
Just one hour and 15 minutes from Christchurch, you can immerse yourself in plenty of activities that are adventurous, indulgent and unwinding. Fitness enthusiasts will love the bike trek through the forest, by the lake, over the beach and mountains. Meanwhile, others can take advantage of the ski slopes in winter, tranquil beach during the summer and plenty of high country walks. For the greatest experience, pop on your winter warmers, and camp overnight in one of the impressive lakeside campgrounds.
3. Mid Canterbury’s Backcountry
Take the scenic route 72 and prepare to go on a journey of discovery in New Zealand’s best kept secret back garden. Delight in snow capped alps, epic walk and bike trails, lakes, endangered birds and majestic views. If you’ve got extra funds, you could take a hot air balloon flight for the most pleasurable experience. Rakaia Gorge River and Walking Track are other spots tourists love to explore. Be sure to cross the swing bridge to walk to the top of Mt Sunday, which was the location of Edoras for the Lord Of The Rings movies. Indeed, one of the best day trips from Christchurch.
Experience the magic of marine wildlife encounters like dolphins, seals and orcas, and specifically giant sperm whales. Just two hours and 20 minutes drive from Christchurch, this incredible coastal town offers plenty of fishing, shopping, delicious food indulgences like crayfish and fantastic hikes like Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. Spoil yourself some weekend soon to this wonderful day trip.
5. Hanmer Springs
Check out our article below on why Hanmer Springs makes the perfect escape.
6. Banks Peninsula
Drive one hour and 19 minutes to this spot, and be surrounded by the ocean amongst the hilltops. Take on some thrilling adventures such as paragliding and kayaking. Peer your eyes for unique hector dolphins, walk the extensive coastline and volcanic landscape, and plenty more. If you have some extra cash, why not splash it on an overnight stay in a luxurious seaside cottage offering you stunning views all year around. For one of the most epic day trips, go when the weather is good.
7. Arthur’s Pass
Take a one hour and 55 minute drive to Arthur’s Pass National Park or else opt for the most picturesque train journey in the world via the TranzAlpine train. Based at the highest point of the Southern Alps, it makes an iconic day trip for both adults and kids alike. Excitingly, there are an array of other fun activities to avail of such as mountain climbing and trail trekking. For train tickets, visit The Great Journeys Of New Zealand website. Although, the car journey is just as beautiful.