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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!

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.

Ronne R

4 star rating: Recommended February 2015

Willowbank was pretty awesome. The city of Christcharch is still trying to recover from a 2011 earthquake. Tour was excellent.

Francine G

4 star rating: Recommended December 2014

The tour was well planned. Pick up in the morning and return to the ship was perfect. Our guide was very knowledgeable of the area and of Christchurch in particular. She took us to all the important areas and provided good photo opportunities. The only drawback is that Christchurch is a fair distance away and a long drive. The upside is that we got to see a lot of the countryside with on the spot information and anecdotes. The visit to the wildlife reserve was excellent and gave us an opportunity for a decent lunch. Highly recommended. Thank you

David B

3 star rating: Worth doing February 2016

I would highly recommend the Willowbank Willdlife Reserve but not the first part of the tour. Our tour driver wasn't good. He was boring. More time should have been spent at the Wildlife Reserve


2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better April 2016

In my opinion this tour provider should not ever be used again Our first van was 20 years old and broke down 5-10 minutes after leaving port.and developed a leak which the driver and manager denied. First, they found a bus to pick us up and take us to our first stop, a garden where we were given 15 minutes to see the garden and go to the rest rooms. At Willowbank, we had an abbreviated tour according to their guide. We eventually returned to the original van, which smelled from whatever leaked.

Lynne T

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better December 2013

We were disappointed with the driver and his knowledge and communication skills of the area. He was a concern with his driver fatique , we felt he needed Driver Fatique management training. Our concern came on our way back to Akaroa around the winding hills and the weather was wet. He definetly needs training in all areas and be reassuring the safety of all. Not a Pleasant experience

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