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Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and the International Antarctic Centre

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Akaroa, New Zealand
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Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and the International Antarctic Centre

From US$109,23

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Up to 7 days in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon6 hours  (Approx.)
Pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

Overview

This Akaroa shore excursion takes you sightseeing in Christchurch via a scenic drive through the Banks Peninsula. See the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and other city highlights before a visit to the International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch's top attraction. Feel arctic winds at the Snow and Ice Experience and observe New Zealand wildlife at the Penguin Encounter. Finish with an all-terrain adventure on a thrilling ride by amphibious Hagglund vehicle.
  • Banks Peninsula and Christchurch tour from Akaroa port
  • Travel from Akaroa through breathtaking scenery to Christchurch
  • Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens
  • See the city sights of Christchurch
  • Entry to Christchurch's leading attraction -- International Antarctic Centre
  • Take a ride on the Hagglund all-terrain vehicle
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship
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Port pickup and drop-off
Hagglund ride
Local guide
Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship
Food and drinks

Departure Point

65 Beach Road, Akaroa 7520, New Zealand

From the Main Wharf in Akaroa, head down to the end where you will see the Akaroa I-Site and a small park on the right-hand side. Next to the Canon statue, a representative will be waiting for you. Please arrive by 10.15am for a 10.30am departure.

Departure Time

10:30 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Your shore excursion begins with pickup at the Akaroa cruise port. Enjoy a scenic drive along the coastal bays and coves of the Banks Peninsula to the nearby city of Christchurch, where your sightseeing takes place.

Get an overview of central Christchurch and its significant landmarks during a tour that includes the Museum and Art Centre, Avon River and the Bridge of Remembrance, and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Next, indulge the senses with the sounds, sights — and temperatures — of Antarctica at the notable International Antarctic Centre. Your admission ticket includes entry into the Snow and Ice Experience, which re-creates real-life conditions with an indoor storm complete with blizzard audio, lightning and arctic winds. At the Penguin Encounter, you’ll meet a couple dozen blue penguins — the smallest penguins in the world.

Then, strap yourself in for an extreme all-terrain adventure with an amphibious Hagglund ride through water, across an ice pack and over a crevasse. The experience emulates the conditions that scientists face while riding across Antarctica.

Afterward, relax during the return journey to Akaroa with drop-off at your cruise terminal.

Worry-free Shore Excursion:We will ensure your timely return to the Akaroa port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.
Itinerary
Pass By:  
Akaroa Village Inn
First you will be collected at the park at the end of Akaroa Wharf (opposite the Akaroa Village Inn) at 10.30am and driven through the village of Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula with stunning views of rolling hills, lakes and coastlines before arriving in Christchurch.
Stop At:  
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
After boarding our coaches from the Akaroa Port, we'll take you through to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens & Christchurch Museum via the scenic Banks Peninsula. Explore on your own for 30 minutes.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Cathedral Square
Depart the Botanical Gardens for a brief Christchurch City tour highlighting city landmarks and the rebuild of city centre after the 2011 Earthquake.
Stop At:  
International Antarctic Centre
Following a brief sightseeing tour showing city landmarks of the earthquake-damaged city centre, arrive at the International Antarctic Centre. Enjoy a snow and ice experience with Antarctic Storm, blue penguin encounter, 4D movie and an exhilarating Hagglund ride.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Pass By:  
Banks Peninsula
Travel back to Akaroa via the Banks Peninsula to board your cruise ship.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • At time of booking, Cruise ship passengers must provide the following information: ship name, docking time, disembarkation time and re-boarding time
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Please note that activity times and schedules can be slightly amended depending on your cruise ships timetable.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 100 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Leisure Tours
You can cancel up to 7 days in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • Any changes made less than 6 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • For a 50% refund, you must cancel 3–6 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 7 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.


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Traveler Tips


  • "The 2nd stop was lunch in the city, but because it was only 45min, you only had time eat." See review
  • "The only difficulty was there was no time to have lunch." See review

Reviews

4,0
star-4
130 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 130 reviews
star-2
Christchurch
David_W
, Mar 2020
Not so great. We spent most of our time driving to and from Christchurch. Once there, we had time to visit the Antarctic Center. We were given 15 minutes to visit the museum and Gardens. Not close to enough time.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. The drive time from Akaroa to Christchurch and return is always 90 minutes in each direction and although a long drive the scenery on route through Banks Peninsula is quite sunning. Whilst I appreciate you would have liked longer at the Botanical Gardens and Canterbury Museum, on the excursion you purchased this is not possible as it would have reduced the time you have at the International Antarctic Centre which was the primary purpose of the excursion. Unfortunately, we are unable to extend the duration of the excursion as Akaroa is a tender port and it takes some time to get both off and back onto the cruise ship.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Wonderful day!
Nina_S
, Mar 2020
We had a wonderfully knowledgeable guide and driver who took us from Akaroa on the Banks peninsula to Christchurch. I was very interested in the rebuilding of the city after the earthquake. The botanical garden was a welcome stop after an hour long bus ride and the Antarctic Museum was fascinating. The Haglund vehicle ride was a hoot. The museum cafeteria was the only lunch option with very limited time, choices and service. Otherwise a wonderful day in New Zealand.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2020
Thanks you for such a great review, Nina! I'm really pleased you enjoyed your time on your Akaroa shore excursion to Christchurch with Antarctic Centre. The botanical gardens and museum are always welcome stops when arriving into Christchurch and many people very much enjoy their time here. As you mentioned though, the Antarctic Centre is definitely the highlight of this excursion with its Hagglund Ride, Snow & Ice Room, Penguin Encounter, and more. Thanks again and I hope you get to return to Akaroa and Christchurch again soon!
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star-4
Christchurch and Antarctic
Frances_Janet
, Feb 2020
I would have left a 5* review and Scotty and the guide at the Antarctic Centre were both excellent but had to deal with a majority of passengers who were in a group of Spanish speakers who did not understand English. This meant they talked a lot among themselves on the bus while Scotty was giving us information and they kept lagging behind at the Antarctic Centre. Really interesting to learn about the problems they have had in Christchurch and the reasons for recovery taking a number of years. Scotty had an enormous amount of knowledge to share with us. The Antarctic Centre visit was good but seemed a bit rushed due to problems mentioned above.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you for the nice review and for praising both the Antarctic Centre and your guide, Scotty, who I'll be sure to pass on your kind words to. I'm sorry to hear that you felt the tour at the Antarctic Centre was a bit rushed - but please note that we usually allow for at least an hour and half at the IAC which was the case on the day you travelled. We also want all our passengers to feel included and have an enjoyable experiences on our shore excursions. Thanks again and I hope you get to visit Akaroa and Christchurch again soon!
HelpfulHelpful
star-2
Too rushed and too little to recommend
Tracie_C
, Feb 2020
Sadly left late from the port due to waiting for others has very little time it seemed in Christchurch and even less at the arctic centre which was horribly rushed no time to even eat... the guide was hard to hear as we were constantly overlapping with other groups and it all felt a bit something and nothing. Wish we had spend more time on either Akoroa or the Christchurch area.... a quick drive around Christchurch was not worth the hour and a half to get there and ten minutes toilet break at the museum before being whisked off to the arctic centre. Wouldn’t recommend it was the most expensive of our tours and the least enjoyable.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
It is always disappointing to receive poor reviews especially when the day is effected by matters beyond our control which the reviewer has made no reference to. On the day of travel we had 158 passengers booked off the cruise ship of which only 31 had reported by our scheduled departure time of 10.30. This was due to the fact that three of the five tenders operated by the cruise ship had broken down. We filled up coaches as passengers came ashore, however, depending on how late they did arrive had an effect on how long they had in Christchurch. We are very sorry that the tour felt rushed, however, when the customers are over an hour late departing due to the poor operation of the cruise ships tenders there are obviously going to be consequences. You will see for the other reviews of this product that this is not the norm.
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star-5
Fantastic tour
Wanda
, Feb 2020
Scotty was a great guide. We were lucky the cafe at the Antarctic center was pretty empty so we all were able to have a bite to eat. Loved the Hagglund ride!
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Thanks for the great review! I'm pleased you had a nice time on your Banks Peninsula and Christchurch Sightseeing with Antarctic Centre, particularly with your driver/guide, Scotty, who was with you that day. I'll be sure to pass on your kind words! I hope you get to visit Akaroa and Christchurch again soon!
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star-4
Great experience
Linda_B
, Feb 2020
Loved the Antarctic centre - but not enough time there. Perhaps it should be 2 separate tours. Felt rushed. But guide was fantastic.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Thanks for the great review. I'm pleased you had a nice time on your shore excursion to Christchurch and the International Antarctic Centre. With regards to your comments about the time at the IAC, this tour allows for at least 90 minutes at the Antarctic Centre - but we are usually there longer. Keep in mind that we have to adhere to the cruise ships time at port, and on rare occasions when the cruise decides to leave earlier than its schedule time, then we have to slightly adjust the times of our excursion accordingly. This is so our passengers feel assured that we will arrive at port well before the ships last tender. Thanks again and I hope you get to visit NZ again soon!
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Antartic Centre
joyceblack1
, Feb 2020
Guide/driver was fabulous. Could have done with more time at Christchurch - a stop at the white chair memorial would have been good. Antarctic centre visit was excellent as was the guide
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Thanks for the awesome review of your Akaroa shore excursion with Christchurch and Antarctic Centre. It's great to hear that both guides with you that day did an excellent job. The Antarctic Centre is a must see attraction in Christchurch and I'm really pleased you're enjoyed yourself there. With regards to your comments about time in the city, our ordinary Christchurch Sightseeing Tour from Akaroa includes a much more comprehensive tour and time to explore in the city. This tour includes a 30 minute stop at the Botanical Gardens & Museum plus a sightseeing tour of the city before moving on to the IAC. This is because we have to adhere to the cruise ships port times in Akaroa. Thanks again for the awesome review and I hope you get to visit Akaroa and Christchurch again soon!
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star-5
Great Tour!!
tomarias
, Feb 2020
Great Tour. Our guide Scotty was excellent. Christchurch was very nice. The Antartic experience was unforgettable.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Thanks for the 5 star review and high praise of your driver/guide, Scotty, who was with you that day. Be sure to join us again and I hope you get to return to Akaroa some day soon!
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star-5
Great tour and driver
brenex
, Feb 2020
Our driver, Scotty, was a wealth of information. He gave us a personal insight into life around Christchurch since the earthquake. He delivered his knowledge in a pleasing blend of facts and humour which truly enriched our tour. Christchurch is a beautiful place to visit. The Antarctic Center was interesting. .
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Thank you for the great review. I am really pleased you had such an enjoyable shore excursion, in part due to our driver/guide, Scotty, who was with you on that day. I will be sure to pass on your kind words to him. Thanks again and I hope you get to visit Akaroa and Christchurch again soon!
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star-4
Antarctic Center
zimkim
, Feb 2020
The tour was very interesting and we enjoyed it. The reason it loses a star isn’t really their fault, but did cause some stress due to the timing of the tour. Our ship came in later than most ships arrive. We had to deal with tenders and passengers who didn’t get an early tender. People were divided into buses a little haphazardly because of the groups not arriving at port together. We were an early group so we had time at the beautiful botanical garden in Christchurch. We took a city bus tour (could be shortened to allow more time at the Antarctic Center which is what we really wanted to see). The center was very cool and different.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Thanks for taking the time to submit your review and I'm really happy you enjoyed most of the aspects of this tour. The Antarctic Centre is a must see attraction in Christchurch that frequently gets positive reviews. With regards to your comments about the timing of the tour, you are correct about how that particular cruise ship came into the port later than usual. We had a lot of bookings on the day that you travelled, and due to passengers taking a late tender it unfortunately resulted in us having to ensure that those who did arrive early could leave as early as possible and those who arrived late would be placed on our later coaches heading into the city. We occasionally have to do this on days when the cruise ship arrive late, but as long as passengers arrive at port early and not too late, then we always ensure that they are on our first coaches so they can spend more time in Christchurch and its attractions. Thanks again and I hope you get to visit Christchurch and Akaroa again soon!
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