5 must-do day trips from Christchurch
South Island, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Snow-peaked mountain ranges, an impressive coastline and wildlife spotting opportunities are some of the things to do here. It would be a shame to merely spend your holiday in Christchurch, the biggest city of South Island.
The little farming town Oxford that can be reached by following the inland scenic route 72, has a setting which will leave you with jaw-dropping moments. It’s location near the foothills of the Southern Alps. It claims the reputation of being the best little town in New Zealand. And when you experience the laidback lifestyle and bustling cafe culture, you will see why. The many restaurants, shops and galleries in the main street of Oxford will give you plenty to fill your day and if you would happen to have some time left, you can visit the popular swimming spot Ashley Gorge. This pristine river gorge is best to be explore by foot or mountain bike. Or just follow the steps of the occasional visitors that have a swim in the refreshing crystalline waters.
Both Akaroa and the winding road going towards it, are a well-worth day trip from Christchurch. The cosy coastal village Akaroa has a French charm that will easily lure you into spending more days here. While the harbour and the views are picturesque to say the least, the main street has many boutique shops and galleries to wander through. Afterwards you can enjoy the view over a leisurely restaurant lunch. Akaroa also is one of the best places to spot wildlife or even take a swim with the dolphins. But as mentioned before, even the 1 hour road trip towards the coastal village is worth the trip. The winding road to Akaroa is as scenic as it goes.
Located only one hour away from your hotel in Christchurch, the Waipara Valley is a perfect day out. This area is world-renowned for its wine production and is best to be discovered by taking a wine tasting tour. Taste the wine specialties while enjoying the best landscape views. The landscape has even more to offer since you can extend your wine tour experience with a relaxing stay in Hammer Springs. As the name suggest, this alpine spa town is home to some of the best mineral pools and hot springs, giving you a relaxing day-trip escape from Christchurch. If you have soaked enough in the pools, you can opt to have a nature walk or do some mountain biking in the alpine setting. If you’re looking for a bigger thrill, there is the opportunity to go bungy jumping.
If there is one view you cannot miss while spending your holiday in South Island, New Zealand, it’s the view of the country’s highest mountain, Mount Cook. Once the playground of New Zealander sir Edmund Hillary while training for the first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953, Mount Cook is a dramatic mountain peak. It’s hard to choose the best spot for viewing the mountain but the viewpoint at Lake Pukaki is a highly popular one. The turquoise lake with the snowy peak of Mount Cook is a sight to remember. Especially on a good, clear day. Besides having a road trip through the national park, you can make a walk, a glacier trip or a scenic flight over the alpine landscape.
If you want to leave your car in Christchurch, there is the chance to explore the best landscapes by train. The Tranzalpine Express winds its way from Christchurch to Greymouth on the rugged West Coast of New Zealand. Along the way the Canterbury Plains and Waimakariri River Gorge will explain to you why this train trip is often voted as one of the most scenic ones in the world. If you start your journey early in the morning it is possible to spend about an hour in the lovely coastal town Greymouth before returning to Christchurch the same day.
Authored by Denym Bird
April 16, 2017 by Denym Bird