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Really good tour, but a little bit more time in Christchurch would help.
We had a great time on this tour - the Antarctic Centre was one of the highlights of our entire trip, our kids loved it. We had a fantastic tour guide who was extremely informative - he gave a running commentary for the whole trip which was really interesting. We had a short tour around the earthquake affected areas of Christchurch, and then on to the Antarctic Centre. The reenactment of an Antarctic blizzard was very fun but very cold!!.
Just a word of warning - It's a 1.5 bus trip from Akaroa to Christchurch along very windy roads. If you suffer from motion sickness, you should definitely take medicine before the trip, make sure you sit towards the front and bring a sick bag in case you throw up on the trip as happened on our tour!.
Highly recommended! The trip from Akaroa which was a very pretty seaside village, worth investigating on its own to Christchurch was about an hour over the top of a volcanic rim and very pretty, while the Christchurch City Tour was very interesting and showed the determination and resourcefulness of the city in rebuilding after the massive earthquake almost six years ago. An absolute highlight was the International Antarctic Centre with a ride in a Haglund snow mobile and the 4D movie experience, together with the snow experience room and a close encounter with the penguins. Both the coach driver and the Antarctic Centre guide were very informative and a credit to the tourism industry on NZ. We loved it.
This is a full day tour. The drive to and from Christchurch was worth it with spectacular views. The Antarctic Center was really amazing - do not miss it, and the ride on the Haggelund vehicle memorable. The tour of Christchurch was quite detailed. We are till talking about the memorial white chairs in the city, 1 for each person who died in the earth quake. We highly recommend this trip that was very enjoyable and quite informative.
Loved this excursion. The ride to Christchurch from Akaroa is spectacular and the city tour of Christchurch was really interesting. There is still much construction going on and still more demolition needed. The reconstruction appears to be extremely well planned. The building and architecture are beautiful. We are just sorry that we didn't have several days to spend in this beautiful city. We equally enjoyed the Internstional Antarctic Center. We would highly recommend this excursion.
This trip is fantastic! We had been before and knew that our 11 year old grandson would love it. He did --- definitely his favorite excursion during our 17 day cruise. Christchurch was interesting more from the perspective of the damaging earthquake that it 6 years ago --- so much of the city has yet to be re-built. But the International Antarctic Research Center is the BEST part of the tour. From riding in the Hagglund, to the penguin exhibit they were molting, to donning a parka and standing in an Antarctic blizzard, to viewing the 4-D movie plan to sit in the front row---it's all terrific. Of all the excursions we have been on around the world this rates in the top 5. It's a MUST.
Amazing tour, great sites, Antarctica center was fantastic, guide was very knowledgeable on sites in Christchurch.
andrew a Australia
The antarctic tour was just fab
The trip to the International Antarctic Centre was terrific. We were pleased to go to Christchurch but felt so much for the people who suffered the earthquake 5 years ago. Would have loved more time in Botanical Gardens and Museum.
Mike was our tour guide and was informative and drove safely and courteously given our bus was on the slow side. Lots of driving to get to Christchurch. The views where spectacular through Banks Peninsula LHS of bus better going to Christchurch. Lots of car parks where high rise building once stood in Christchurch but hard to visualise and comprehend the destruction that occurred. Mike relayed his personal story which made you realise the dramatic effect and impact it had on so many, and you pass by the location where most people lost their lives in one building which makes you reflect on the devastation.
However, the stop in Christchurch is fleeting at best and more like a toilet stop unfortunately so not a lot of time to explore on your own. A stop at the church that is still damaged whilst they decide what to do with it reminds you of how it must have looked shortly after the quake.
After a drive through Christchurch with the couple of stops, we were off to the airport - as that's where the Antarctic Centre is. Fantastic experience but again not enough time to enjoy it. We did the big ticket items there as a group Penguins/Ride/Cinema/Blizzard but had at best 40 mins to eat, shop and explore on our own - for a place like this, you'd need a couple of hours to fully explore. Not sure I'd go back there having done it the once either...Kids would really enjoy it but they wouldn't enjoy the long ride on the coach to get there IMO.
On the way back, Mike stopped for a few opportune photo stops which were magnificent.
Glad we made the effort to go to see Christchurch as was one our list of to do's in NZ. The Antarctic centre is a great attraction highly recommend to do it at some stage but whether I'd do it if the intention was to see Christchurch is debatable as it was a long day with little time actually in Christchurch - maybe there isn't that much to do there at the moment either?
Had a brilliant day! All organisation was excellent but the highlight of the trip was the Antarctic Centre.
Excellent tour..a wonderful drive into Christchurch from the port. Well worth the drive as you see such lovely scenery. The Antarctic Centre was great especially the blizzard storm at -18 degrees. Recommend this tour.
We were very lucky to be the only two people on the tour so had complete attention from the guide, he was brilliant from beginning to end.
Tour was good except not enough time factored in for lunch break in the day. The International Antarctic is a must. Very good item in the intinerary. The drive to Christchurch from Akaroa is spectacular. Plenty to see, would have liked more time in Christchurch.
The bus ride was way too long. Due to the earthquakes, the port was a long way. 3 hours on the bus is what ruined this tour.
Late leaving the port on our tour due to inefficient tender system from cruise ship. No fault of the tour company. We left minus 2 passengers but the tour operator transported them to Christchurch and met us at the Antarctice Centre! Picturesque drive both ways to and from Christchurch. Arctic Centre visit was cut short due to loss of time waiting at port - definitely worth 2-3 hr visit. Drive through Christchurch again was hurried but we were time pressured. Our driver was full of information. Great day out.
Long day of touring. Beautiful drive to Christchurch but too much time viewing earthquake damage. Would have loved more time in Botanical Gardens and Museum both of which were wonderful. Antarctic center interesting adventure. Wish we had more time there too.
The trip to the International Antarctic Centre was fantastic and we wished we could have stayed there much longer. We were pleased to go to Christchurch but we felt so much for the people who suffered the earthquake 5 years ago. The damage was extensive.
We knew lunch was not included in this excursion, but still expected them to have a break where we could buy it somewhere. They did not give us a chance to eat until after 3 in the afternoon. There was a stop around 10 in the morning where we could have purchased some sandwiches had we known there'd be no lunch stop, but we were not warned. Many people cannot go this long without eating without getting physically ill. Any tour operator should know better than to let people go hungry that long.
Also, there was no commentary on the bus ride. I assume we saw Banks Peninsula - we saw some gorgeous views - but nobody identified it as such.
Great tour! The Antarctic center was amazing!
The tour involved a long bus ride but the driver made it very interesting. The Antarctic Center was a great experience. There was a little coordination problems at the start of the tour but it did not significantly detract from the experience.
learned new things
Unfortunately we got a late 1/2 hr start due to some folks being tardy for the tender. The tour operator opted to wait for 4 people and hold up 16 others. This put the driver in a squeeze to get everything on the itinerary completed and get back to the ship before the last tender. Antarctic Center was well worth the ride and to see the remnants of the damage to Christchurch was interesting.
this tour was wonderful. the antarcic center is not to be missed.
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