On this excursion you will discover Banks Peninsula and the city of Christchurch, as well as the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.
You will first depart Akaroa and embark on a scenic drive that provides stunning views of the peninsula, an ancient volcano that now forms the peninsula, and its crater that now forms the harbor. Travel via the Akaroa Highway past Lakes Forsyth and Ellesmere, a natural haven for birds and other wildlife.
Upon arrival to Christchurch and following a stop at the botanical gardens, enjoy a sightseeing tour that showcases the city landmarks: the Bridge of Remembrance, the Canterbury Museum, as well as the Art Gallery and the Art Center. Other sights include the badly earthquake damaged Christchurch Cathedral, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The city center is currently under construction with both demolition and rebuilding underway. Due to road closures and new areas re-opening, road access can change on a daily basis.
The tour then continues on to the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, home to 50 types of animals. The highlight of course is catching a glimpse of New Zealand's kiwi bird, a mixed-up creature with tiny wings, a long bill, cat-like whiskers, and hair-like features. Youll hear about the special kiwi breeding program at Willowbank and might spot several varieties of these unusual birds, including North Island brown and South Island spotted kiwis. Other species found at Willowbank include deer, wallabies, otters, gibbons, and lemurs. There is also a range of birds from chickens to native Keas and Takahe, Tuatara's, and Kunekune Pigs --kune means fat, so you will meet some fat fat pigs!
Great excursion that took us to sad Christchurch and then to the great wildlife center. Loved seeing the Kiwi's!
The drive on the Akarol Highway was beautiful, but there wasn't too much to see except the scenery. We enjoyed seeing Christ Church, how they are rebuilding a city.
A nice variety of activities that gave us a great experience. Saw beautiful countryside, a tour of Christchurch noting the devastingmaffects of the earth quake and building projects, private tour at Willowbankmwhere we saw kiwi birds in their special habitat area. Well worth the price of the tour. Excellent guides and well organized.