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How to Spend 3 Days in Christchurch

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How to Spend 3 Days in Christchurch
The city of Christchurch makes a great base for exploring New Zealand’s central South Island coastline and the region of Canterbury. With three days in the area, you have time to discover city sights, explore the great outdoors, and even head to the Southern Alps. Here are some ways to experiencing the region’s most popular attractions in three days.

Day 1: Christchurch Meander
On your first day in town, take some time to explore town with a hop-on hop-off tour on a historic tram and see central city highlights, including Cathedral Square, Victoria Square, Christ's College, and the Bridge of Remembrance. In the afternoon, go punting on the Avon River, which runs through the botanic gardens, then take a gondola ride up the Port Hills and enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the Canterbury Plains and Banks Peninsula.

In the evening, combine dinner with sightseeing on the Tramway Restaurant, an eatery on wheels that offers a unique trip back. Alternatively, head to a Maori village for a traditional “hangi” dinner and a dance performance that illuminates centuries of New Zealand’s indigenous history.

Day 2: Outdoor Adventure
There are plenty of outdoor activities within easy reach of the city, and options range from white-water rafting to horse trekking, eco-cruising, and fishing. Take in the patchwork scenery of the local farmland from the sky on a helicopter tour, or get your adrenaline going on a rafting trip on the Waimakariri River, which boasts a variety of rapids. Alternatively, book a guided tour of the Waipara wine trail to go tasting at some of Canterbury’s many wineries, or take a jet boat trip through Waiau Gorge and relax with a soak in the Hanmer Springs thermal pools. 

If you’re looking for a family-friendly adventure, you can take a trip into the heartland to visit a working sheep farm and see a sheep shearing demonstration, see the blue penguins at the International Antarctic Centre, or learn about kiwis at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. 

Day 3: Day Trips from Christchurch
Christchurch is brilliantly positioned for day trips to a variety of locations. Fans of The Lord of the Rings can journey to Edoras, while history buffs can head to the historic town of Akaroa, the only French settlement in New Zealand; some Akaroa tours include a harbor cruise and the chance to see the region’s Hector’s dolphins.

To get into the mountains, take a quick ski trip to Mt. Hutt, which offers stunning views of snow-clad peaks and the Pacific Ocean. Alternatively, head to Mt. Cook, New Zealand's tallest mountain; tours to the mountain take you through the spectacular scenery of the Canterbury Plains, MacKenzie Basin, Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, and the Tasman Glacier. 
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Christchurch Tours & Activities (12)
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Waipara Wine Trail Afternoon Tour from ChristchurchDay Trips

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Waipara Wine Trail Afternoon Tour from Christchurch

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Visit four boutique wineries of North Canterbury on a half-day wine-tasting tour with optional lunch. Departing Christchurch, you’ll taste a quality selection of wines in the up-and-coming Waipara wine region, including stops at Pegasus Bay, Waipara Hills, Torlesse Wines and Waipara Springs. Learn from a knowledgeable guide about Waipara’s unique terroir as you sip a range of superior reds and whites.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
From  
US$60.22 
US$66.91
US$6.69 savings
From  
US$60.22 
US$66.91
US$6.69 savings
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes

Lord of the Rings - Journey to Edoras from ChristchurchFull-day Tours

Lord of the Rings - Journey to Edoras from Christchurch

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Visit Edoras of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ fame on this full-day excursion by 4WD vehicle to the peak of New Zealand’s Mt Sunday. Get a look at exclusive photos of Edoras under construction and learn from a knowledgeable LOTR guide about its transformation from tranquil countryside to mythical capital city of the Rohan people. Pose with replica props from the popular trilogy, such as Aragorn’s sword, Gimli’s axe and the flag of Rohan. Includes round-trip hotel transport from Christchurch plus a picnic lunch with sparkling wine.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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US$213.40 
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Arthur's Pass National Park with TranzAlpine Train Tour from ChristchurchDay Trips

Arthur's Pass National Park with TranzAlpine Train Tour from Christchurch

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Travel by TranzAlpine railway to Arthur's Pass National Park, riding across the Canterbury Plains, then winding through Waimakariri Gorge and into the heart of the Southern Alps on this day trip from Christchurch.  An informative guide takes you on a minivan tour of Arthur's Pass, including short rain forest walks past rivers to mountain vistas at Castle Hill. Enjoy a hotel lunch and light refreshments before the return trip via Waimak Gorge. This small-group tour is limited to eight participants, ensuring a more personalized experience.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$398.95 
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through ChristchurchDining Experiences

Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch

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Enjoy a 4-course dinner aboard the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant and travel in heritage style through the city center, round-trip from Cathedral Junction. Relax and enjoy views of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Avon River from your window-side table. The journey in this elegant restaurant on wheels includes a welcome drink upon arrival, with tea and coffee to accompany your gourmet meal, served by professional waitstaff.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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US$82.66 
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Explore Mount Cook from ChristchurchDay Trips

Explore Mount Cook from Christchurch

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Surround yourself with the snow-capped peaks of Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, on this day trip from Christchurch. Travel by coach past the foothills of the Southern Alps to the Canterbury Plains and the MacKenzie Basin; stop at Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukari; and enjoy views of Tasman Glacier. Enjoy lunch at the Hermitage Hotel in UNESCO-listed Mt Cook/Aoraki National Park. Includes round-trip hotel transport by coach with morning and afternoon tea.
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  • 12 hours
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US$257.60 
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  • 12 hours

International Antarctic Center General Admission TicketAttraction Tickets

International Antarctic Center General Admission Ticket

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Learn about Antarctic landscapes, wildlife and explorers with tickets to the International Antarctic Center in Christchurch, an award-winning experience that combines fun and education. Try to weather a harsh Antarctic storm, then hear about life on the remote Scott Base and spend some quality time with the Center’s adorable Little Blue penguins. Enjoy Hagglund rides and 4D shows, and enter the 'cuddle zone,' where you can meet, snuggle and pet the fluffy Huskies that explorers historically used to pull their Antarctic dogsleds.
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  • 1 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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  • 1 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Akaroa and Banks Peninsula Small Group Tour (Nature Cruise or Dolphin Swim)Day Trips

Akaroa and Banks Peninsula Small Group Tour (Nature Cruise or Dolphin Swim)

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Wander the charming village of Akaroa, and opt for either a harbor cruise or dolphin swim on this small-group tour from Christchurch. Start with a scenic drive through the magnificent Banks Peninsula where you’re treated to summit views of Akaroa Harbour, the Canterbury Plains and the distant Southern Alps. Sample locally made cheeses at a cheese factory, explore Akoroa and enjoy a cafe lunch before a nature cruise or dolphin swim alongside Hector's dolphins. Numbers are limited to eight people for a personalized experience.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$296.90 
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Willowbank Kiwi Tour and Maori Concert Including Hangi Dinner from ChristchurchTheater

Willowbank Kiwi Tour and Maori Concert Including Hangi Dinner from Christchurch

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Enjoy seeing a variety of birds and animals during a guided tour of the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, followed by an entertaining evening with the Ko Tane Maori cultural performance plus a buffet dinner. You’ll enjoy two popular attractions, including a traditional 4-course ‘hangi' meal followed by a short city tour of Christchurch at night. Round-trip hotel transport is included.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
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US$157.23 
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes

Christchurch Sheep Farm VisitDay Trips

Christchurch Sheep Farm Visit

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Visit a working sheep farm in the heart of the Canterbury Region on this day trip from Christchurch. Enjoy New Zealand hospitality with morning or afternoon tea and then watch a sheep shearing demonstration. You can upgrade your tour to include a thrilling jet-boat ride on the Waimakariri River or go wine tasting at Waipara Valley vineyard, where you can sip various vintages. Hotel pickup and drop-off from centrally located hotels is included.
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  • 3 hours
From  
US$90.33 
From  
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  • 3 hours

3-Day South Island Circle Tour from ChristchurchMulti-day Tours

3-Day South Island Circle Tour from Christchurch

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See the highlights of New Zealand's scenic South Island on this 3-day semi-independent tour, round-trip from Christchurch. Traveling by coach and train, you’ll stop in UNESCO-listed Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park and Queenstown, travel up the west coast to Franz Josef Glacier, and visit the Gold Rush town of Greymouth, then board the homeward-bound TranzAlpine train across the Southern Alps and past the Canterbury Plains. Listen to informative onboard commentary and enjoy two nights’ accommodation as you explore the sights independently.
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  • 3 days
From  
US$981.32 
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  • 3 days

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Jet Boat Day Trip from ChristchurchDay Trips

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Jet Boat Day Trip from Christchurch

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Rejuvenate in the natural thermal pools of Hanmer Springs after a thrilling jet-boat ride through Waiau Gorge. Start your full-day trip from Christchurch with the exciting ride at Thrillseekers Canyon, then visit the resort village of Hanmer Springs, where you’ll melt your stress away with a relaxing soak. Have lunch at the on-site cafe and enjoy the convenience of round-trip hotel transport by private vehicle.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
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US$197.38 
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes

Rubicon Valley Horse Treks - 2 Hour River Trail Horse TrekNature and Wildlife

Rubicon Valley Horse Treks - 2 Hour River Trail Horse Trek

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Enjoy a guided horseback ride at a high-country sheep farm in Springfield, outside Christchurch. This horse trek takes you on a riverside trail that is suitable for the entire family. Beginning or more experienced riders can walk, trot or canter past the Waimakariri River Canyon with views of the Southern Alps. Set out in the morning or afternoon in a small group of six people per guide.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$89.22 
From  
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation


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