• Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Duration: 6 hours (approx.)
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This 6-hour Akaroa shore excursion takes you on a scenic journey into Christchurch via the Banks Peninsula with a visit to the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Your tour of the ‘Garden City’ includes a stroll through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and a look at earthquake recovery efforts in the city center. You’ll find exotic critters such as wallabies, gibbons and lemurs at the wildlife reserve, and meet the elusive but iconic kiwi, New Zealand’s national bird.


  • Banks Peninsula, Christchurch tour and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve from Akaroa port
  • Enjoy a scenic trip along the Akaroa Highway with its stunning scenery
  • Take a walk through the Chistchurch Botanic Gardens
  • See the sights of central Christchurch and the rebuilding process from the 2011 earthquake
  • Admire the elusive kiwi bird at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
  • Learn about the breeding programs at the wildlife reserve
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship

What You Can Expect

Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

Canterbury Museum, Christchuch

While your ship is in port in Akaroa, enjoy a 6-hour shore excursion into Christchurch. After port pickup, travel by coach through the Banks Peninsula via the Akaroa Highway. After a 1.5-hour drive, you’ll arrive in Christchurch for a guided tour of CBD highlights, including picturesque buildings and reconstruction efforts following the 2011 earthquake.

Take a walk through the lovely Christchurch Botanic Gardens and learn about the extensive collection of botanical treasures. Follow up your visit with a wildlife encounter at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, home to several dozen native and exotic animal species — from monkeys and llamas to lemurs and wallabies. Get a look at New Zealand’s national bird, including North Island brown and South Island spotted kiwis, and learn about Willowbank’s kiwi breeding program.

After your tour, relax on the return drive through the Canterbury Plains to Akaroa Harbour, with drop-off at the 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.

Customer Reviews


5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Very good guide.

Jill M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

Excellent tour. Really enjoyed the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and admittance to reserve was hassle free.

franky Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Very good tour and excellent driver who went out of his way to please us.

Yolanda S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Our driver made the day with his enthusiasm and personal knowledge of the area. Enjoyed seeing Christ Church with him. His explanations and tour areas were very good. The guide in the Reserve was also very good. You could tell he loved his work and loved showing the animals in the Reserve. He even called them by name!

Terry S

4 star rating: Recommended February 2018

Christchurch was some what disappointing because on the ongoing earthquake repairs. Willow bank was informative and fun. Actually saw a Kiwi bird eating in the dark.


4 star rating: Recommended January 2018

We enjoyed our trek to Christchurch, it was a bit of a drive but our driver kept talking about the area and entertaining us the whole way. Willow bank would have been interesting but our tour guide there did our hour long tour in about 20 minutes....The countryside was beautiful, and it was interesting to see how Christchurch has recouperated after the earthquake, it seems to be a vibrant city....would have liked a little more time there. Akaroa was stunning in the sunshine.

bruce b

4 star rating: Recommended November 2017

willowbank wildlife reserve amazing..you get to see the kiwi in a nocturnal setting. first hand look at the rebuilding process in Christchurch atfer the earthquake

Tracey H

4 star rating: Recommended January 2017

Definitely saw some beautiful country from Akaroa to Christchurch. Very rushed day but got to see a taste. Very dissappointed in not really seeing a Kiwi in the wildlife reserve as they do hide but we were guaranteed to see one but only saw a fury ball way up in the corner. Did enjoy the personal tour around the wildlife reserve.

Lelia Ann B

4 star rating: Recommended December 2016

LOVED The wildlife preserve! VERY interesting.Would highly recommend it!
Not much to see in Christchurch except empty lots were buildings had been razed as a result of the earthquake 5 yrs ago. One stop, however, was a church that had severe damage as a result of the quake and left for viewing by the tourists. We did have a brief stop at the Maori museum in Christchurch were able to take a rushed tour there. wished we could have spent more time there.
While the scenery on the way there was fantastic new Zealand is a gorgeous country!, the area around Christchurch was flat and rather monotonous. Our driver did a good job of pointing out various things along the way, IE kiwi fruit growing, vineyards, sheep and cattle grazing and other facts about New Zealand.

Jennifer P

4 star rating: Recommended February 2016

This was a very informative and interesting tour. There was a bit of confusion as to which bus was going where at Akaroa but all sorted out at The Museum first stop. The tour around Christchurch was very informative. The Willowbank Wildlife Reserve was well worth a visit and as our group of 5 was the only group going here we had a guide from The Reserve just for us. Our guide was excellent. Our return trip to Akaroa was eventful when we had a double tyre blowout. We were about 20 minutes from Akaroa at this time so our driver phoned another driver in Akaroa and arranged for him to come and pick us up in his bus. We arrived in Akaroa later than expected but still ahead of the last cruise organised bus. Although not required it was reassuring to know if we were not back in time we would be taken to next port.

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