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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

What You Can Expect

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

Hagglund ATV ride

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.

Customer Reviews

Margaret M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Great tour ! Really saw a lot of the beautiful countryside on the way into Christchurch. Tour guide did a great job taking us to the various places in Christchurch and explaining areas in depth - with a wide knowledge and deep feeling for the area

Margaret S Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

6 of us did this trip and our driver was great. We also enjoyed the Antarctic exhibition . It was great to see Christchurch rebuilding but it still had beautiful flowers and plenty to offer. We were extremely sad to hear of the bush fires and the death of such a brave helicopter pilot. Would recommend this to any one visiting New Zealand. My apologies for forgetting driver's name have had a senior moment once again Marg from Brisbane

Barbara O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Great shore excursion. Loved he Antarctic Center!

Kymberly P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Amazing tour, great sites, Antarctica center was fantastic, guide was very knowledgeable on sites in Christchurch.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

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.

Richard M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

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.

David R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

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.

Andrew L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

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.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

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!.

Teresa F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Really good tour, but a little bit more time in Christchurch would help.

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