7 Summer Christchurch Day Trip Destinations
Thursday, February 21st, 2019Read about '7 Summer Christchurch Day Trip Destinations' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.
Christchurch is one of the best places to seek out a fun day trip, one the whole family will enjoy. There are a number of excellent destinations all within easy driving distance that suit a full day out with fun activities for all ages as well as some pretty amazing scenery to see along the way.
Can’t fit everyone in the family car? Grab an affordable rental van and head out to one of these absolutely unmissable locations.
1. Hanmer Springs
The small alpine village of Hanmer Springs is a great destination for a summer day trip from Christchurch. At just 90 minutes’ drive north of Christchurch the drive is an enjoyable length with plenty to see along the way. Upon arrival at Hanmer enjoy a good array of adventure activities such as mountain biking, rafting, jet boating and even bungy jumping.
Those looking for something a little more relaxing can enjoy a soak in the famous Thermal Hot Pools (and take a turn down the hydroslides) or take a stroll through the village for a bit of boutique shopping or a coffee at one of the many cafes.
2. Mt Somers
Mt Somers is a couple of hours drive inland from Christchurch, and takes you up to the Mt Hutt area. Of course there won’t be much in the way of snow this time of year, but what you’ll find instead are an abundance of hiking trails and some of the most stunning panoramic views of the Canterbury plains.
Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy finding the perfect spot to stop for lunch. Don’t miss the historic Blackburn coalmines and keep an eye out for the Staveley lime kilns on your way there.
3. Okains Bay
Located on the beautiful Banks Peninsula, Okains Bay is a fantastic summer playground for families, with a wide beach including a shallow lagoon that’s safe for kids to splash around in. The pine forest near the water is home to a lovely secluded and sheltered campground – if you feel like staying overnight.
There are lots of walks in the Okains Bay area and a small museum to explore, throughout the summer there may be attraction operators such as kayak and canoe hire to properly explore the bay. Be mindful – the drive down the Summit Road to the Bay is quite steep.
Also on the Banks Peninsula roughly 90 minutes’ drive from Christchurch, you will find the French inspired settlement of Akaroa. Set on a beautiful harbour, surrounded by spectacular volcanic hills, Akaroa is a popular spot for couples and families with plenty to see and do for all ages.
In summer you can enjoy boat cruises, dolphin watching, 4WD safaris, walking tracks and plenty of wonderful cafes and restaurants to sample, many with a distinct French influence. Take a farm tour for something a little different and see a working farm in action or go horseback riding –the choice is up to you!
5. Castle Hill Basin
If you like walks and a touch of history then this one is a must do whether you are a local or just visiting Christchurch. The Castle Hill Basin is part of the Kura Tawhiti/Castle Hill Conservation Area which lays roughly 95 km inland from Christchurch, 1 ½ hours’ drive.
The area holds cultural, spiritual and historical significance to local Maori and hidden among the ancient limestone rock formations are traces of 500-year old charcoal drawings. The walk itself isn’t very long, but take a picnic lunch and make a day of it and head on a little further to the Craigieburn Forest Park for more walking opportunities.
Heading north this time, the quaint seaside town of Kaikoura is just 2 ½ hours’ drive from Christchurch. While driving up the coast is all part of the journey, upon arrival in Kaikoura you will find plenty to see and do.
Fishing is immensely popular along with hiking the nearby hills, swimming with dolphins and seal watching. There are multiple opportunities dive or snorkel and even do a spot of whale watching – there really is something for everyone. Don’t miss grabbing some fish and chips – try Cods and Cray for locally caught fresh seafood at its best.
Enjoy the waterside attractions of Caroline Bay, check out the botanic gardens, aviary and take a walk around the reserve. On a hot day take a dip in the refreshing waters or just cool off under the shade of a tree while enjoying an icecream from the local vendor.
At just over 2 hours from Christchurch, Timaru makes for a nice day out without the hassle, check out the museum, do a spot of shopping or even try your hand at fly fishing with a local guide. On your way back to Christchurch stop off at the Shearers Quarters Café on Seadown Road at Temuka and play a round of Mini Golf, Petanque, outdoor Chess or just catch up with the resident farm animals.
USAVE offer a range of spacious and affordable van and minibus rental vehicles ranging from 8 seater people carriers to 12 seater coaches – just perfect for that Christchurch day trip.