Banks Peninsula & Garden City

From Christchurch Airport to Christchurch Airport
  • Canterbury & Upper South Island
  • Wildlife and Nature
View Similar Tours

Tour Description

Experience the Garden City of Christchurch and charming Akaroa on this 5 day culture, nature and wildlife independent tour.

Spend your first two days exploring the stunning Banks Peninsula and the charming French settlement of Akaroa. Stroll around the streets and later board a luxury vessel, indulge in some home baking and a drink while cruising past spectacular coastal scenery, looking out for wildlife including the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector dolphin. Akaroa in Maori means ‘Long Harbour’  - during your cruise and self drive you will certainly see the beauty of this long harbour. On your third day take the scenic drive via Lyttelton to Christchurch. Explore the parks and garden of New Zealand’s most English city. Don’t miss out on the galleries, museums and the street art. Christchurch is easy to explore by foot, but make sure you take a ride on the vintage tram through the city too!

Viva's Best Bits...

Immerse yourself into history, the French settlement, unique wildlife, art, urban exploring and maybe an unusual activity such as punting on the Avon river.

"The family operated Dolphin & Akaroa harbour cruise was fantastic. We spotted penguins, seals and of course little Hector Dolphins. The cruise back was most enjoyable too with a glass of wine and some homemade baking." Pia, Team Viva

Christchurch is a lot more than the Garden City. Since the 2011 Earthquake a lot has changed and the city is vibrant with many new buildings, street art and eateries.

Tour Itinerary

Customisable ? This tour can be customised to suit your tastes and timing. Enquire here for more information.
Day 1
Christchurch Akaroa

On arrival to Christchurch, pick up your rental car and start your drive to Akaroa. Along the way enjoy the beautiful scenery. Your first stop could be Lake Ellesmere, where you can find many different bird species. Stop at historic and arty Little River before your drive will take you up the hill. From here you have a splendid view and you are actually standing on the crater rim of the long extinct Akaroa volcano. At Ducauchelle you can stretch your legs and go for a bit of a walk. The Onawe Pa Peninsula walk will take you a good hour. Barry’s Bay Cheese factory is also nearby where you can pop in and have a taste. Continue the short drive to Akaroa and settle into your boutique B&B accommodation.
Rest of the day at your own leisure. Unwind and refuel at one of the local eateries, maybe try some local seafood.

Day 2
Akaroa Banks Peninsula

After a nice breakfast it’s time to explore. If you feel energetic there are over 50 walks you can do, both short and long options.
In the afternoon make your way to the waterfront and embark on your Akaroa Dolphin Cruise. During your two-hour cruise you will spot some amazing sea mammals and bird life, including the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector dolphin. You will also meet the expert dolphin spotting dogs on board, they will help to make your dolphin encounter an unforgettable experience.

Enjoy the rest of your day at your own leisure. Overnight in Akaroa

Day 3
Akaroa Christchurch

Enjoy your breakfast and then it’s time to drive to Christchurch.
We suggest you take the drive via Long Bay Rd and Summit Rd, especially if it is a nice day, it is well worth for the view. You can also take the detour via Gebbles Pass Rd, this will take you to Governors Bay and then to Lyttelton, a lovely place to stop for lunch. On the way to Christchurch you will pass the Christchurch Gondola, if you have time head up there for the stunning views across Lyttleton Harbour, the Canterbury Plains and the snow-capped Southern Alps.

Arrive in Christchurch in the afternoon in time for checking into your room.
Spend the rest of the day at your own leisure exploring the Garden City.

Day 4

Today is a free day for you to enjoy Christchurch, a unique city combining urban regeneration with heritage and culture. Relax at the picturesque Hagley Park and meander along the Avon River. Don’t miss out on the iconic Christchurch activity of punting on the Avon. Explore the nearby Botanical Garden and the Art Centre with galleries & museums but also where you can buy some lovely gifts handmade in Aotearoa. If you are feeling hungry, enjoy some of the eateries. The modern Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu is also nearby and well worth a visit.
From there head into the centre to Cathedral Square, why not take the iconic vintage tram? On Cathedral Square you find the remains of the famous Christchurch Cathedral, partially destroyed by the 2011 earthquake. Visit the nearby Transitional Cardboard Cathedral and walk the streets where you will find ever-evolving murals and street art.
You will be spoilt with dinner choices – there is something for everyone.

Day 5
Christchurch Christchurch Airport

Check out of your accommodation and return your rental car to the airport.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 4 nights at a boutique accommodation
  • Included Copy 31 Upgrades available
  • Included Copy 20 2 Breakfasts in Akaroa
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Rental Car pick up & drop off at Christchurch Airport
  • Included Copy 20 Half Day Dolphin Cruise
  • Included Copy 31 Ask us to tailor-make a self-drive itinerary for your interests
  • Included Copy 31 Add on biking, gondola ride, punting, tram ride , Antarctica Centre experience

Rental Car


  • Included Chance to see the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, Hectors dolphin
  • Included Go at your own pace, stop to sample cheese, wine and local seafood
  • Included Opportunities for stunning short walks on the Banks Peninsula
  • Included Explore the history and culture of Akaroa, a beautiful French settlement
  • Included Walk and explore the Street Art, Gardens and Parks of Christchurch.
  • Included See the Garden City from a different angle; take a ride on the vintage tram.
  • Included Visit Hagley Park and enjoy the iconic activity of Punting on the Avon river.
  • Included For wildlife lovers, opt to spend time birdwatching at Lake Ellesmere
Click here for dates & prices

5 days

Price from

$608 USD

Per person, sharing

including GST

Daily Departures