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Banks Peninsula
Banks Peninsula

Banks Peninsula

Banks Peninsula, Christchurch

The Basics

The Banks Peninsula was once a volcano, which is why it’s almost island-like in shape. It has many bays and inlets, and a hilly interior, so is a great destination for hiking, mountain biking, boating, or kayaking around the shore. Many travelers visit on day trips from Christchurch, although you can stay for longer if traveling independently. Dolphin, seal, and whale-watching tours are especially popular on the Banks Peninsula, especially to see the rare Hector’s dolphin at the Akaroa Marine Reserve.

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Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and the International Antarctic Centre
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and the International Antarctic Centre
$108.80 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Wonderful day!
We had a wonderfully knowledgeable guide and driver who took us from Akaroa on the Banks peninsula to Christchurch. I was very interested in the rebuilding of the city after the earthquake. The botanical garden was a welcome stop after an hour long bus ride and the Antarctic Museum was fascinating. The Haglund vehicle ride was a hoot. The museum cafeteria was the only lunch option with very limited time, choices and service. Otherwise a wonderful day in New Zealand.
Nina_S, Mar 2020

Recent reviews from experiences in Christchurch

star-4
Great Scenery
Welch, Mar 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City and Giants House Tour
The scenery and information provided on the drive along the Banks Peninsula en route to Christchurch was well worth the trip. Unfortunately, we had very little time in Christchurch because of delay leaving port due to extreme crowds caused by two ships in this small port. Giants House is a must-see in Akaroa. It is a short walk from the port.
star-5
Jet Boat.... so cool!
Bill_Z, Mar 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Jet Boat on Waimak River
Jet Boat was so much fun with a great driver that explained the phenomenon of the river! Great scenery all along the way on the trip.
star-5
Sheep Farm Fun
Lynn_M, Mar 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Sheep Farm Tour
We had a great day. Christchurch is still struggling but construction is slowly getting there. Akaroa is a quaint town. The sheep farm was fun and informative and the tea in the garden was very nice. Traffic due to road construction slowed us up a bit but no fault of tour guide. I do wish I had gone to the GiantsHouse. A tour of that and the sheep farm would have been perfect.
star-5
An amazing day
Wendy_H, Feb 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Sheep Farm Tour
What a great excursion Janet our bus driver was excellent very knowledgeable didn’t rush the photo stops at all. Christchurch very interesting , the highlight for us was the trip to the sheep farm the owners were so welcoming . Sheep sheering very interesting . Lovely afternoon tea laid on in the owners garden. Book this trip you won’t be disappointed at all.
star-5
Fantastic tour
Wanda, Feb 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and the International Antarctic Centre
Scotty was a great guide. We were lucky the cafe at the Antarctic center was pretty empty so we all were able to have a bite to eat. Loved the Hagglund ride!
star-4
Great experience
Linda_B, Feb 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and the International Antarctic Centre
Loved the Antarctic centre - but not enough time there. Perhaps it should be 2 separate tours. Felt rushed. But guide was fantastic.
star-4
Well organized
wilsonshinwa, Feb 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City and Giants House Tour
It is definitely a value for money short trip. Lots of histories been told by the driver (our guide actually) and she is so professionally taking all cares on us. Thank you.
star-5
Banks Peninsula and Christchurch tour
nanciemoran1, Feb 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
My husband and I enjoyed this excursion. Rob, our tour director, was very informative and we learned lots about the surrounding area and Christchurch. Although a 90 minute drive from Akaroa, it was worth it. The scenery along the way was lovely. The city tour was interesting, the botanical gardens were nice and the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve was not to be missed. We now have a better understanding of New Zealand's unique geography and biodiversity.
star-4
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip with...
ncsadi221, Feb 2018
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Sheep Farm Tour
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip with our guide. He was very knowledgeable and funny. We got a great overview of Banks Peninsula and a good visit in Christchurch City. The Sheep Farm Tour was good, but we had done one previously and didn't enjoy this one quite as much.
star-5
Good Raft Trip
agilbert357, Jan 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Jet Boat on Waimak River
Deon was very good at communicating with us prior to the trip and coordinating pickup from our cruise ship. The journey to the river was nice and we were supplied a full set of wet suits and dry gear to keep us warm and dry. He picked us up and dropped us on schedule. We were able to meet his wife and dog as well. Very personable and enjoyable. The rafting was fun and enjoyable. If you are looking for something fun, but not dangerous, this is perfect.
star-5
Good tour of Christchurch
Bob, Feb 2020
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Sheep Farm Tour
Super tour of Christchurch and the surrounding area. Driver gave great commentary and provided good insight into the background and history of the area. Hugh at the sheep farm did a great job of letting us know what life on a sheep farm is like. Tom, the dog was interesting to watch as he worked the herd. Sheep shearing demo was excellent.
star-4
Love this tour! The best part is the...
woman0816, Jan 2018
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Sheep Farm Tour
Love this tour! The best part is the visit to the sheep farm. Our group was treated like VIP by farmer Hugh and his wife who baked the best scones I ever had. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery in Banks Peninsula. Wish we could spend more time in Christchurch but we took in quite a bit of the city in a short few hours.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • If you’re planning on hiking on the Banks Peninsula, be aware that as parts of it are privately owned farmland, some areas are closed to visitors or foot traffic for several weeks in the spring, for lambing.
  • Fans of French food are in luck, because there are a number of French-themed eateries around Akaroa.
  • Stop at the interesting Akaroa Museum to learn more about the town’s French heritage, and the standoffs that occurred between the British and French tussling for control.
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How to Get There

Cruise ships stopping in Christchurch anchor at Lyttleton, a Christchurch suburb that’s just across Lyttleton Harbour from the Banks Peninsula. So, many cruise ship passengers make shore excursions out to the peninsula. Other travelers can access the peninsula from Christchurch city with their own vehicle, or on a guided tour. Akaroa is about 1.5 hours’ drive from central Christchurch.

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Trip ideas

Ways to Experience Maori Culture in Christchurch

Ways to Experience Maori Culture in Christchurch

How to Spend 2 Days in Christchurch

How to Spend 2 Days in Christchurch


When to Get There

Any time of year is good for general sightseeing activities, such as driving tours and visiting Akaroa. To experience the outdoors at its best, visit in the warmer months (October to April). While New Zealand does get a lot of tourists in the summer (December to February), not so many people make it to the Banks Peninsula, so you’re unlikely to find it crowded at any time.

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Wildcard

Visit Lake Ellesmere (Te Waihora) Just west of the Banks Peninsula is Lake Ellesmere, actually a shallow lagoon, connected to the ocean by a very narrow opening. It’s a culturally important place to local Maori people, and an important wetland area. Like the Banks Peninsula, Lake Ellesmere has some great wildlife-watching opportunities, as Hector’s dolphins and seals can be found here in large numbers, as well as many species of birds.

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