Top 10 Day Trips From Christchurch

Top 10 Day Trips From Christchurch

Hiring a car from RaD Car Hire allows you to take your time to explore the Canterbury region’s scenic countryside at the pace you want. We want to see you on your Christchurch road trip in one of our quality, modern hires to explore the Garden City and the South Island of New Zealand. You’ll enjoy unlimited kilometres and free roadside assistance, New Zealand-wide.

Here are our recommendations for the best day trips and tours for a scenic drive from Christchurch.


  • Distance: 84.1 km
  • Driving Time: 1 hr 4 min via State Highway 1 and 7

Adventure-seekers in Hurunui can bungy jump, go jetboating, rent a quad bike, or try horse riding. But, if relaxation is more your style, visit one of the day spas and indulge in an aromatherapy, reflexology, or Thai massage. Or, just take a casual stroll and tour the shops, art galleries, parks, and gardens.

Thermal Pools and Jet Boating in Hanmer Springs

  • Distance: 134 km
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 41 minutes via State Highway 7

If you’ve already experienced the exciting hustle of Christchurch City, try booking a relaxing getaway at Hanmer Springs. Soak away the day in calming natural hot springs cocooned within a vast sub-alpine landscape.

Why not head straight to the forest to explore the walking and cycling tracks? Or, take things up a notch and experience one of the exhilarating jet boat tours along the Waiau River.


  • Distance: 81.4 km
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 16 minutes via State Highway 75

Akaroa is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations—and the only French settlement in the country. Take a wine tour, swim with the dolphins, go on a nature cruise or head out on one of the night tours for some penguin spotting.

Banks Peninsula

  • Distance: 67.4 km
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 8 minutes via State Highway 75

Cruise your RaD Christchurch rental car along the winding volcanic coastline of Banks Peninsula. Once in town, you can follow the walking track to Onawe Peninsula, walk to Akaroa Lighthouse, relax on a beach or visit a winery. In addition, why not take part in one of the many tours in the region, such as Hector’s Dolphins Watch?


  • Distance: 181 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hours 20 minutes via State Highway 1

The charming town of Kaikoura in North Canterbury sits amid towering mountains and offers many attractions to explore. Spy on a napping seal colony, swim with dolphins, go whale-watching, snorkel, fish, or hike up Mount Fyffe.

Arthur's Pass National Park

  • Distance: 147 km
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 55 minutes via Old West Coast Road and State Highway 73

Arthur’s Pass National Park features rugged, mountainous, and challenging hiking trails. However, the views at the top are worth the effort. Always check the weather conditions before you visit.

Waipara Wine Valley

  • Distance: 55.3 km
  • Driving Time: 43 minutes via State Highway 1

Waipara Valley is home to some of the best wineries in the Canterbury region. Choose from one of the many local tours and sample some delicious award-winning varietals.


  • Distance: 12.3 km
  • Driving Time: 16 minutes via Ferry Road and State Highway 74

The South Island’s largest port is one of the most famous road trip destinations for visitors and is a short distance from the city of Christchurch. Take a hike in Port Hills to enjoy panoramic scenery over the harbour and Canterbury Plains. Or discover the extraordinary history behind Quail Island—spoiler alert—it was once a leprosy colony.

Lake Tekapo

  • Distance: 238 km
  • Driving Time: 2 hours 59 minutes via State Highway 1 and 79

Lake Tekapo is famous for its crystal-clear waters and backdrop of impressive mountains. Take a scenic flight for a bird’s eye view over Mount Cook and the Westland National Parks. Those up for an adventure can explore trekking, climbing, paddle boarding, kayaking, skiing, and snowshoeing options.

Mount Cook National Park

  • Distance: 330 km
  • Driving Time: 3 hours and 58 minutes via State Highway 1 and 8

Aoraki Mount Cook is the tallest peak in the Southern Alps and features extensive glaciers and year-round snowfields. Enjoy scenic mountain walks, alpine tarns, and herb fields with incredible glacier vistas.

Get more day trip inspiration with RaD!

As well as being a world-class skiing destination, the city of Christchurch is filled with plenty to do and see. Book your RaD rental car today and discover more things to do in Christchurch and the rest of New Zealand on our website. We hope to see you soon!

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