Banks Peninsula, Christchurch, and Antarctic Center
On this excursion you will discover Banks Peninsula and the city of Christchurch, as well as the International Antarctic Center.
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 International Antarctic Center. The center recreates the atmosphere of Antarctica with the amazing Snow and Ice Experience, featuring the world's first indoor storm complete with lightning, arctic winds and blizzard audio. Learn about life in the most inhospitable continent on earth. Find out about the explorers who conquered the harsh terrain to reach its center, the South Pole.
You will also have an opportunity to meet the Antarctic wildlife at the Blue Penguin Encounter, before buckling up for an exhilarating Hagglund ride. Traveling over a crevasse and through water, the all-terrain amphibious adventure simulates the traveling conditions scientists experience riding across the Antarctic ice pack.
Reviewer: Susan Abrams
Enjoyed seeing the New Zealand countryside on the ride to Christchurch. It was interesting to see the effects the 2011 earthquake had on the town. The International Antarctic Center was very informative and interesting to see. Don’t miss it.
Reviewer: Robin Stearns
Our tour began with a coach ride across the Banks Peninsula with stops in Christchurch to see highlights and 2016 earthquake devastation. We also visited the Antarctic Center. What a blast! We rode on arctic track vehicles up 45 degree inclines, through water and over logs for bone jarring fun. We also toured the center and got to experience an antarctic storm at 20 below zero (Farenheit). Highly recommend this outing!
Nice overview of Christchurch. Wished it were longer but constraints of ship cruising times didn’t allow it. Loved the Antarctic center. Nice insight into life there
Reviewer: Nancy Sibilla
This was a wonderful tour. Would recommend it highly. Reallly liked Christchurch.
Reviewer: John March
A very cool excursion the ride in the Haguland was worth the price it’s self. The tour around Christchurch was very revealing as to the level of damage due to the earthquake and a real tribute to the resilience of the people