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Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula and Christchurch City Sights Tour

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Akaroa, New Zealand
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula and Christchurch City Sights Tour

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Free cancellation
Up to 7 days in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon6 hours  (approx.)
Pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

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Overview

Travel from Akaroa Harbour on this shore excursion through the Banks Peninsula to Christchurch, whose city center was devastated by the 2011 earthquake. Drive past city landmarks in the old CBD and stroll the Christchurch Botanic Gardens with a knowledgeable guide. En route, take in the scenic splendor of the Southern Alps and the Canterbury Region.
  • Banks Peninsula and Christchurch shore excursion from Akaroa Harbour
  • Admire the breathtaking scenery of Akaroa Harbour and the Southern Alps
  • Take a walk through Christchurch Botanical Gardens
  • See the devastating effects of Christchurch's 2011 earthquake and the old CBD
  • Visit the coastal towns of Sumner and Lyttleton
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship
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Port pickup and drop-off
Driver/guide
Air-conditioned vehicle
Worry-free Shore Excursion Guarantee
Food and drinks
Gratuities
Akaroa Dolphins , 65 Beach Road, Akaroa 7520, New Zealand

From the Main Wharf in Akaroa, head down to the end where you will see the Akaroa I-Site and a small park on the right-hand side. Next to the Canon statue, a representative will be waiting for you. Please arrive by 10.15am for a 10.30am departure.

10:30 AM
This activity will end right where it started.
When your ship pulls into Akaroa Harbour, you’re picked up at the port for your shore excursion. Get settled comfortably aboard the coach for the drive to Christchurch, traveling a scenic route along the Akaroa Highway through the Banks Peninsula. On the journey through the Canterbury Plains—a farmland region east of the Southern Alps—hear narration about the highlights you pass.

On arrival at your destination, hop off the coach at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens for a stroll with your guide, and learn about one of New Zealand’s most impressive collections of native and exotic plants. 

Your city tour continues with a drive around the old CBD to observe recovery efforts since the damaging 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Your guide provides information on each landmark before stopping for lunch (own expense) in the beach suburb of Sumner. See the coastal town of Lyttleton and view Christchurch from the hills above during the leisurely return to the  Akaroa cruise port in the afternoon.

Worry-free Shore Excursion: We ensure your timely return to the Akaroa cruise port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.
Itinerary
Pass By:  
Akaroa Village Inn
First you will be collected at the park at the end of Akaroa Wharf (opposite the Akaroa Village Inn) at 10.30am and driven through the village of Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula with stunning views of rolling hills, lakes and coastlines before arriving in Christchurch.
Stop At:  
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
After boarding our coaches from the Akaroa Port, we'll take you through to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens & Christchurch Museum via the scenic Banks Peninsula. Explore on your own for 30 minutes.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Christchurch Cathedral
After a some time at the Botanic Gardens, your driver will take you for a sightseeing tour of the central city and highlight the Earthquake damage of 2011. After which, stop for a 45 minute lunch break (own expense) in the city.
Duration: 45 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Lyttelton
Explore the township of Sumner (time permitting) and the beautiful port town of Lyttelton Harbour for beautiful sights of Governors Bay.
Pass By:  
Sign of the Takahe
Drive up the port hills to the Sign of the Takahe for stunning views of the city, Southern Alps, and Canterbury coastline (time permitting a stop will be made so you can walk to the viewing platform). Finally return to Akaroa in time for your tender with the cruise ship.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • At time of booking, cruise ship passengers must provide the following information: ship name, docking time, disembarkation time and re-boarding time
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Please note that activity times and schedules can be slightly amended depending on your cruise ships timetable.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 50 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Leisure Tours
You can cancel up to 7 days in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 7 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • Any changes made less than 6 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • For a 50% refund, you must cancel 3–6 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.


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Traveler Tips


  • "This was a very good day tour if you want to visit Christchurch and much cheaper than a similar tour taken through the ship." See review
  • "We wouldn't recommend this tour as it take too long to reach Christchurch and you have no time to see anything of the city, if the tour company picked up earlier this might have given us more time." See review
  • "We were on a 50 passenger bus, so that eliminates the opportunity to ask questions." See review

Reviews by Viator travelers.  We perform checks on reviews

Reviews

4.0
star-4
222 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

We perform checks on reviews

Showing 1-10 of 222 reviews
star-5
Worth Seeing
Gregory_H
, Apr 2020
Very informative & engaging representative. Gave personal insight into sights & went out of his way to accommodate wishes.
icon Response from Host , Aug 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. I am pleased to learn that you had such a great day and enjoyed the tour so much. I do hope you have the opportunity to visit New Zealand again.
star-3
Somewhat disappointing
Honest
, Mar 2020
The drive to Christchurch from Akaroa is very beautiful and offers gorgeous NZ landscapes. However, we found our drive to be disappointing in terms of our guide. He did not introduce himself in the beginning (which we think is a must) and we felt his attitude was "just get the job done". He was a very good driver (necessary on windy, mountainous roads) but lacked personal "joy d'vie". The tour offered as advertised but we found it a long day.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. We appreciate your feedback and acknowledge that all reviews are subjective. I am sorry that driver of the excursion did not meet your expectations which is surprising given all of the other great reviews for this excursion.
star-1
Not a Good Choice
Patricia
, Mar 2020
This excursion was very poorly planned. There was some delay at the Port with our group bus not arriving on time, we were taken in a large bus to the Museum in Christchurch, where we had only 20 minutes to see the museum and the adjacent Botanical Gardens. This was the main attraction for me, and it was very disappointing not to have the opportunity to see very much there. When we were seated on a smaller bus for the rest of the tour, although it was a new vehicle, it was so crowded and seats so small that it was uncomfortable. After a short drive in the City we stopped for lunch but were told that there was no time to have lunch in a restaurant, just 30 minutes so we could pick up something from a take-out. This was not as described when we purchased this tour. We then drove back to the Ship. The route was long, and we had one stop along the way at Little River where there were restrooms and a small store. The drive after that, back to the Ship, seemed dangerously fast on the hilly and curved road. Basically we drove all day and had 3 short stops where we could not really experience or enjoy the City. The tour drive was fine in explaining the sites that we did see but it was not a good experience over all.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
It is always disappointing to receive a poor review especially for an excursion which constantly receives 5 star reviews. We acknowledge that all reviews are subjective, however, the reviewer has been disingenuous at best with the facts. As you will see from the other reviews the excursion is very well organized, however, what the reviewer has failed to mention is that Akaroa is a tender port and on the day of travel the cruise ship was slow at tendering and the reviewer and some of the other passengers were late in coming ashore. The main coaches had already departed with the customers who had arrived on time and the reviewer and some other late passengers were transported in smaller back up vehicles which were held in reserve for those that maybe running late. Had the reviewer been ashore prior to the scheduled departure time of 10.30 there would have been no waiting for some other passengers who were also running late and I am sure the excursion would have meet or exceeded her exceptions.
star-5
Trip to Christchurch
Cynthia_B
, Mar 2020
Driver was from area and gave us so much history, stories, and facts. Very comfortable ride and beautiful sites.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2020
Thanks for the awesome review Cynthia! I'm really happy you had an awesome time on your Christchurch Sightseeing Tour from Akaroa Port. It's fantastic that you had learnt so much from your driver/guide and I truly hope you get to return to this country someday soon!
star-4
Akaroa to Christchurch
Sherryn_M
, Mar 2020
My group of 12 had a wonderful day travelling from Akaroa to Christchurch. I thought it would be just a coach ride but our driver was very informative and knowledgeable. He took us to lots of sights along the way and gave us playoff time to look around.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2020
Thanks for the awesome review, Sherryn! I'm really happy you had such a nice time on your Akaroa shore excursion to Christchurch. Regarding your comments, its great to hear you enjoyed the commentary of your driver. I'll be sure to pass on your kind words. It's also nice to hear you were pleasantly surprised to have a local guide with you. All of our shore excursions include commentary throughout from a local driver/guide - each are particularly knowledgeable about the Akaroa, Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula. Thanks again and I hope you return to New Zealand one day soon!
star-5
great information and knowledge
sharyn_m
, Mar 2020
what a great and thrilling trip , Phil the driver was very informative and knowledgeable, any opportunity to get a great photo or more info as always was an easy task for Phil to achieve. his vast knowledge was the most important part of the day. What a place to visit
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thanks again Sharyn for another fantastic review, this time for your Banks Peninsula and Christchurch Sightseeing Tour. It's great to hear you had such a wonderful time on your shore excursion from Akaroa Port, especially thanks to your driver/guide, Phil. I'll certainly be sure to pass on your kind words to him. It sounds like you had a great on your cruise ship throughout New Zealand and I really hope you get to return someday soon!
star-3
Scenic view of areas
Donald_R
, Mar 2020
Not clear on time for lunch and locations to stop at,as well as timing of free time although was shown a lot of Christchurch and surrounds
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you for your review of your Banks Peninsula and Christchurch sightseeing excursion from Akaroa. As Akaroa is a tender port the excursion is a six hour tour starting at 10.30 and returning at 4.30 pm which allows everyone sufficient time to come ashore and to ensure that everyone is back in port in time for the last tender. The excursion operates to a strict schedule so all of the stops, and the free time in central Christchurch to explore on foot and get some lunch are standard inclusions. I apologise if you did not understand that the free time you had to explore Christchurch was also the break for you to have some lunch.
star-5
Excellent Tour Company
Gary_L
, Mar 2020
I was on the Christchurch City Sights Tour today and had a delightful and informative 6 1/2 hours. Scottie was the tour guide and driver and was one of the best I ever had. Great sense of humor and actually brilliant on his knowledge base of Christchurch. His pride of the city made it all the more special. Of course his recommendation to have a meat pie at THE BUTCHERS PIE was spot on. Great job today, Scottie!
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you Gary for the awesome review of your Banks Peninsula and Christchurch Sightseeing Tour. It's great to hear you had a delightful and informative shore excursion from Akaroa. It's even better that your day was made that much more enjoyable thanks to your driver/guide, Scotty, who was with you on the day of travel. As I'm sure you have noticed from other reviews, he's one of our most popular tour guides and he often gets 5 star reviews for his insightful commentary and great personality. It's amazing to hear he's one of the best guides you have ever had and I'll be sure to pass on your kind words to him. Thanks again and I hope you get to return to Christchurch and Akaroa someday soon!
star-4
More information please
Katherine_K
, Mar 2020
Liked the tour well enough. However please train your bus drivers to be more informative about stops if they include time for a lunch break or not especially when they arrive at destination right on the lunch hour when we arrived at Christchurch Museum and Arts Centre. Also latecomers back from stops should not be tolerated in such a lenient fashion.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thanks you for the positive review, Katherine. I'm happy that, for the most part, you enjoyed your Banks Peninsula and Christchurch Sightseeing Tour. Just to address some of your comments there, our driver/guides always inform their passengers how long they have at each stop and are happy to answer questions regarding places to get some food, points of interest, etc (it's also stated in your itinerary). Also, on busy days such as the day you travelled with us, we always depart the first coaches around 10.00am and 10.10am for those who arrived at the meeting point early so the can spend more time in the city. If it's a very busy day with the tenders and people are having a hard time arriving on shore, then we try to keep at least one vehicle behind for latecomers joining our tours. With that said, we do not encourage this as it greatly increases the risk of people missing their tour, which is why we ask people to arrive at shore and check-in at least 15 minutes before the tours departure.
star-3
Return journey around the bays after visiting Christchurch
Ken
, Mar 2020
Tour did include Christchurch city & a nice drive both to and from Akaroa. However the driver provided no details of the day’s program both at the start of the day and during the day. This led to some people rushing to have lunch when the intended lunch stop was later. Also on one occasion give different return times to part of the tour group. Plus wasted time in Christchurch by having to re-board the bus after a short stop for a city tour and then we had another stop about a block away from our first stop.
star-5
The redevelopment of Christchurch
Phillip_M
, Mar 2020
Scotty is an incredible tour guide, if fact the best I have ever experienced, and I have been around for 69 years. Very well done on an excellent tour. Much thanks Phillip and Valerie Mt Eliza, Australia
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you very much for the positive review, Phillip and Valerie! I'm really glad you had such a great time on your Banks Peninsula and Christchurch Sightseeing Tour. We have had a lot of positive feedback for Scotty (as I'm sure you have noticed), but this has to be up there as one of the highest praises he has ever recieved. I will certainly pass on your kind words to him - he will be delighted to hear it! Thanks again and I hope you get to return to Christchurch and Akaroa again someday soon!
star-1
Wasted day driving around in a Coach
Sharon_C
, Mar 2020
The tour was a complete waste of time and money. We knew it would take 90 minutes to get into Christchurch but didn’t expect it to take over 3 hours to return. We had 30 minutes at the botanical gardens and museum, with no guide as listed in the description of the tour and then spent 30 minutes sitting on the bus as it wouldn’t start. However no explanation was given by the driver/tour guide as to what was happening and he said nothing when he got back on the bus. He kept on answering questions that he was asked by people sitting near him but anyone sitting after the first five rows had no idea what was asked. We then stopped again near Cathedral Square for 30 minutes. After that we had over 3 hours of sitting in the bus to get back to port. The driver seemed to be struggling with driving and shifting gears and other buses passed us. Once again we stopped for 20 minute bathroom break in Little River...a complete waste of time. I would not recommend this tour or company (Canterbury Leisure Tours) and would like a refund.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. Having checked the vehicles GPS I can see that the excursion actually departed Akaroa around 10.15 am ( 15 minutes ahead of schedule and had a stop at the botanical gardens from 11.45 to 12.35. The stop at the botanical gardens and museum does not include a guided tour and is not listed as such an inclusion. The 6 hour excursion operated as per the description of the tour purchased, except it was closer to 7 hours in total duration with a slightly earlier departure and later return time to Akaroa due to the later tendering times of the cruise ship. We have no record of any issues with the coach and the coach in question has an automatic transmission so the driver is not changing gears. We appreciate all reviews are subjective and would ask that you look at all of the other great reviews for this excursion.
star-4
Christchurch
Monique_K
, Mar 2020
It was a nice tour winding roads to get to Christchurch. Seeing the city sights was really cool. There were some buildings damaged from a resisted earthquake which was said but interesting to see. What was really sad to hear that most of their historic buildings are long gone.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thanks for the nice review, Monique. I'm pleased that you had a great time on your Banks Peninsula and Christchurch Sightseeing Tour from Akaroa. As I'm sure you saw/learned about on the tour, Christchurch was unfortunately hit by a series of earthquakes that had at one point decimated much of the CBD. Fortunately, it is slowly returning to its former glory and things are back to normal now. With that said, it is nice that tourists are learning more about the earthquakes and are able to see the rebuild efforts in effect. Thanks again and I hope you get to return to Christchurch someday soon!
star-5
Great visit to Christchurch
William_T
, Mar 2020
Our trip was from our cruise ship at Akaroa. We got an early shuttle and arrived in good time for our scheduled departure to Christchurch but I can understand how the Princess Cruises policy of giving early shuttles could lead to being very late for the tour or even missing it. Our driver, Scotty was excellent. He was helpful and friendly and gave practically non stop commentary. His tour around Christchurch was very informative and his passion for his job and city was evident. His recommendation for lunch, Butchers Pies was great. Overall a really good tour. A big thanks to Scotty for a good day.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thanks for the taking the time to write such a detailed review Barbara. I am really pleased that you enjoyed your Banks Peninsula and Christchurch Sightseeing tour from Akaroa. With regards to your comments about departure times, I'm sure you are aware that the cruise ships policy is to prioritise their own tour passengers when organising their tenders to shore. That means that people coming to shore can face delays at peak times in the morning, which is why we alway encourage our passengers to come to shore as early as possible to avoid late departures of our coaches. I'm also really glad you enjoyed your time with your driver/guide, Scotty, as well. He's one of our most popular guides and, as I'm sure you have noticed in the reviews for this tour, often gets praise for his great commentary and helpful recommendations. It's good to know that Scotty added to your overall experience and I'll be sure to pass on your thanks and kind words to him. Thanks again and I hope you get to return to Christchurch and Akaroa some time soon!
star-3
Dissapointed with the trip
jane_B
, Mar 2020
We had booked this tour as my husband wanted to see how Christchurch had coped after the earthquake. The pick up after leaving the ship was a bit of a shambles as nobody seemed to know which coach to get on. When we booked we were not a wear that the ride to Christchurch would be 2 hours, there are road works on the way to the city and this held us up for about 15 mins going and coming back. The driver was not very good at pointing things out to us and the ride was a little boring, when we finally arrived at Christchurch we were told we had 1 hour in which to see the city which nobody could believe. We were dropped at the museum where there were toilets and a café, the museum look great and we would have loved to have gone round it but there was not enough time. We walked down to the city centre about a 10 minute walk saw how they were trying to rebuild the city, there are mobile stalls selling food which was very nice, we grabbed a sandwich and then had to make our way back to the coach. Other people from the tour were very unhappy as there had eaten in the museum and by the time the food had arrived they had no time to see anything of the town. On the way back we did stop to see the new cruise terminal which should be finished by 2021 so hopefully if the ships stop here the time to Christchurch would be about 1 hour if that. We wouldn't recommend this tour as it take too long to reach Christchurch and you have no time to see anything of the city, if the tour company picked up earlier this might have given us more time.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. We are sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your trip. The excursion was provided exactly as described at the time of purchase and Akaroa has always been a 90 minute trip in both directions to and from Christchurch, unfortunately the road works can create some minor delays. We understand that all reviews are subjective and would suggest that everyone reads all of the other great reviews for this same excursion, the cost of which is less than half the price if you were to but this excursion directly thought the cruise ship.
star-5
Lots packed into this tour
Ginny
, Mar 2020
Our tour guide did a great job thoroughly showing us around and adding great details about the area including history and current events. A great tour from our cruise stop.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thanks for the awesome review Ginny and I'm really happy you felt there was a lot packed into this tour, which we certainly do agree with! It's also great to hear that your driver/guide did a great job in keeping this tour both interesting and informative. I'll be sure to pass on your kind words. Thanks again and I hope you return to Akaroa and Christchurch again soon!
star-4
Christchurch on a Sunday...
IAN_B
, Mar 2020
Scott the driver/guide gave a non-stop narration which was always interesting and informative. An enjoyable tour.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thanks for the great review Ian and I'm really pleased that your driver/guide, Scotty, was both informative and interesting throughout your tour. I'll be sure to pass on your kind words to him! Thanks again and I hope you return to Akaroa and Christchurch again soon!
star-2
Christchurch Tour
Robert_G
, Feb 2020
The Akaroa port is a tender port about 2 hours away from Christchurch so a lot of time is spent on the bus. Yes, you do see the countryside, but in all honesty it is not that interesting. The time in Christchurch is too short to really see anything in depth. I would not recommend this tour.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
We understand all reviews are subjective and everyone has different tastes and opinions , so please read the other reviews to fully appreciate just how good this product actually is.
star-4
Akaroa
Joel_S
, Feb 2020
Scotty our tour guide did an excellent job. Lots of local information and a beautiful drive to Christchurch.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thanks for the great awesome review and for your kind words regarding your driver/guide, Scotty, who was with you on the day of your shore excursion from Akaroa. I'll be sure to pass on your nice comments when I next speak to him. I hope you get to visit Akaroa and Christchurch again soon!
star-5
Great Tour
James_S
, Feb 2020
We arrived at the check in point and met by a friendly representative of the tour company who advised us it would be around 30 minutes before our bus was allowed at the pick up point. This gave us some time to walk up through the street and see a little of Akaroa a delightful small port with various shops and cafe’s. At the given time we were met by our coach driver and tour guide Ian who was extremely knowledgable and friendly. The journey to Christchurch was through some wonderful scenery/countryside. Arriving in Christchurch Ian gave us a very detailed commentary including lots of information about the earthquake and work carried out (or not) since. Although the main shopping area has been rebuilt many areas show the scars of what happened. We had ample free time to walk around the central area and have some lunch. This was a very good day tour if you want to visit Christchurch and much cheaper than a similar tour taken through the ship. I would highly recommend this tour. Thank you Ian for a great trip.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thanks James for taking the time to write such a detailed review of your shore excursion to Christchurch from Akaroa. It's great to hear that everything went so smoothly and that you learnt a lot about this city. Recovery from both the 2010 and the more devastating 2011 earthquakes has been a slow process, but it is great to see the city beginning to return to its former glory. As you mentioned though, the scars of those earthquakes are still visible in many places across the CBD and serve as a reminder for the tragedies of the past. I'm also glad to hear that your driver/guide Ian did a great job in sharing his knowledge about Christchurch and the surrounding areas. I'll be sure to pass on your kind words to him. And yes, as you mentioned, our shore excursions are a lot cheaper than the cruise ship prices. Thanks for the recommendation and I hope you get to visit Christchurch and Akaroa again soon!

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