On this excursion you will discover Banks Peninsula and the city of Christchurch. The tour begins as you 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.
After leaving the inner city the tour travels to the beach suburb of Sumner, where there will be a brief stop and an opportunity to buy lunch (at your own expense) at one of the local cafes or bakeries. The tour then continues to the port of Lyttleton (where ships berthed before the earthquakes), before driving up to the Sign of the Takahe on the Port Hills --named after a flightless native New Zealand bird, and then a roadhouse built in the 1920's for those weary travelers walking from Lyttleton over the Port Hills to Christchurch. From this view point you will have spectacular views over the city of Christchurch, Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps.
Driver/Guide was well versed on the area and history of the Banks Peninsula and the earthquake/rehab of the damage.
Reviewer: Marcia Vogl
Because of weather, our ship was going to leave 1.5 hours earlier than planned. It was an hour ride to Christchurch. Everyone was ready to go but because it was stated for 12:30 we had to wait a half hour. We informed the driver/guide of our time change but he didn't seem concerned. Not knowing we had a lunch stop, we looked for food. The tour started with a 1.5 hr lunch stop! which was longer than needed since we were directed to the food courts. The tour itself was good but we do not know what was cut out in Banks Peninsula because we were making time back to the ship. We arrive back just in time for the last tender. Very nervous time.
Reviewer: Margaret Ormond
I had been to Christchurch in 2005 but seeing it now it was so changed. There are many new buildings and they were still working on the University. I was disappointed that they hadn't done anything about the RC Cathedral or the Anglican Cathedral-they look so degraded. Are they going to replace the central downtown centre where the tram used to end?Had a very good driver and guide.
Reviewer: Jim Evans
This excursion was great in most every way except we got back just in time to get on the ship before it left. We needed to miss a few stops to get back in time. Otherwise the driver-guide was very informative and a great driver, the bus was very nice and the itinerary was very good.
Our trip to Banks Peninsula and Christchurch was very enjoyable. When we saw the lush New Zealand countryside, the word ""green"" took on new meaning. The colors were so vibrant and beautiful. We really like our driver and were very pleased with the excursion we bought from Shore Excursions Group. We will use them again.