Canterbury, New Zealand
Bus & Minivan Tours

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Our most recommended Canterbury, New Zealand Bus & Minivan Tours

Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch

1. Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch

Experience dramatic glacier lakes, snow-capped mountains, and beautiful alpine walks on a small-group day trip from Christchurch. After pick-up from your hotel, journey to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, located a 4 hours' drive through spectacular and breathtaking landscapes. Visit the historic town of Geraldine. Then discover the heart of Mackenzie Country, the captivatingly turquoise Lake Tekapo, the iconic Church of Good Shepherd, and the well-recognized statue of Sheepdog. Travel through Lake Pukaki and admire stunning views of Mt. Cook from a distance. Enjoy a short scenic hike in the National Park to view the 23.5kms long Tasman Glacier which is the longest glacier in New Zealand. On your return journey, visit the Alpine Lavender Farm and capture some beautiful moments in the pristine environment.

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Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

2. Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

Enjoy a memorable sea-kayaking experience from Akaroa with two departure options. No experience is necessary because the trips are run in settled safe conditions by an experienced and knowledgeable guide.  Depart from Akaroa for a scenic drive in a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu Flea Bay. Learn about the region from your local guide and, during the afternoon trip, stop for photo opportunities along the way. Then, it is time to gear up and climb into the double kayaks. Your safety is the top priority and the experience can be mind-blowing with the right sea conditions. Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Flea Bay Island and the impressive island arch can be reached in settled sea conditions. Marvel at the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguins, seals, various seabirds, and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin.

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Franz Josef Glacier: 2-Hour Scenic Lake Mapourika Cruise

3. Franz Josef Glacier: 2-Hour Scenic Lake Mapourika Cruise

Soak up panoramic views of the Southern Alps and glaciers reflecting on the mirror-like waters of Lake Mapourika on this 2-hour scenic cruise. The lake was created by the Franz Josef Glacier as it retreated 14,000 years ago and now sits calm and reflective between the Southern Alps and the sea. Meet your experienced skipper and small group at the office in Franz Josef and take a complimentary transfer out to Lake Mapourika. Board the boat, then sit back and relax onboard the Hanna-k in the comfortable enclosed cabin or on the covered back deck. Your skipper will take you through to the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary on the far shorelines of the lake and will help you spot New Zealand's native birds. Enjoy informative commentary and fascinating stories as you cruise past untouched Jurassic rainforest and 900-year-old Kahikatea trees. Sip on a cup of complimentary tea or coffee as you unwind in beautiful Glacier Country, a picture perfect way to escape the crowds and enjoy the West Coast’s scenery.

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Mount Cook: 3 Hour Heli Hike to the Tasman Glacier

4. Mount Cook: 3 Hour Heli Hike to the Tasman Glacier

Enjoy a once in a lifetime heli hiking experience on the Tasman Glacier in the Aoraki (Mount Cook) National Park. Begin your adventure with a flight from Mount Cook airport over the gorgeous Tasman Glacier Lake and ice formations. Venture on to the surprisingly undulating ice terrain, in the shadow of the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, Aoraki, and Mount Tasman. Be equipped with glacier boots and crampons and spend 2 hours in another world in the mountains. On the return flight home, you will fly close to the massive 1,000-meter high Hochstetter Icefall on the eastern face of Aoraki. Take in the picturesque landscapes that are covered in beautiful white snow and ice year round. 

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Akaroa: Pohatu Little Penguins 3-Hour Evening Experience

5. Akaroa: Pohatu Little Penguins 3-Hour Evening Experience

Join the tour from Akaroa for a scenic drive by a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu/Flea Bay. Listen as your guide shares with you the history and unique wildlife of Akara. Stop for photo opportunities where you can gaze across Akaroa harbor and enjoy stunning views of the endless Pacific Ocean. On arrival, walk around the colony to monitor nesting sites, collect data, and make sure that the birds are doing well. Spot the penguins undisturbed, socializing on the water, and with darkness falling, a very high likelihood of some returning to shore. Binoculars and camouflage gear are provided to maximize viewing abilities. Darkness will signal the end of the activity, as artificial lighting disturbs the birds so is not used. At certain times of the year, you may even see some of the rehabilitation efforts, such as supplemental feeding.

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Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

6. Christchurch: Guided Castle Hill Tour

Leaving Christchurch via the "Great Alpine Highway", you'll cross the flat farmland of the Canterbury Plains towards the mountains. Halfway across the plains you will discover the small rural town of Darfield, where you will enjoy a short stop which will allow you to sample some of the local delicacies from the famous Darfield Bakery. Your next stop is Springfield, just 20 minutes down the road. Complete with its giant doughnut statue it's well worth a photo, and your guide will explain just how the town ended up with this giant doughnut. From Springfield the road winds its way up over Porters Pass at 900 meters, before continuing past Lake Lyndon and arriving at Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti. This area is an amazing labyrinth of giant limestone boulders that sit in the Craigieburn Basin, surrounded by mountains. The area is rich with cultural and recreational significance and has a Tōpuni status of a "symbolic cloak of protection”. It is also known internationally as a world-class climbing, bouldering, photography, and film-making destination. Your guide will show you around and explain the geography and cultural significance of the area, before sitting you down for a picnic lunch. Following lunch you will have free time to explore the boulder fields in your own time, before meeting back at the car park at 2:00PM. From there, your return journey back to Christchurch takes approximately 1.5-2 hours.

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From Queenstown: Mount Cook Small Group Adventure

7. From Queenstown: Mount Cook Small Group Adventure

At 3724m, Aoraki/Mt Cook is by no means among the world’s tallest but with the nearby Mt Cook village just 750m above sea-level, the mountain can be viewed without any acclimatization whatsoever, and so this tour is perfect for people of all levels of fitness. The guided tour begins with pickups in Queenstown and Frankton, before you then travel through the stunning Kawarau gorge to Cromwell. After making a comfort stop in the quaint township of Omarama (where you have the option to taste one of the best creamy chicken pies in New Zealand), you climb your way through Lindis Pass, one of only 3 alpine roads through the otherwise impassable Southern Alps. As you exit the Pass, you may catch glimpses of the mighty mountain itself; but before arriving there is much more to see, including what many consider one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Lake Pukaki is one of the bluest lakes you will ever see, and is framed by the backdrop of Aoraki and its brothers in the Southern Alps. The location of several scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lake Pukaki is a destination in and of itself. You soon pass the delta where the mountain’s various rivers, creeks and streams converge to form the lake, and the mountain continues to grow steadily in stature and grandeur until the shear scale of the view makes you feel powerless. Arriving at the alpine village of Mt Cook and the Hermitage - home of the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre - you now have the freedom to explore in whatever way suits your energy levels and budget. Please select the activity you would like to include during the booking process, which are at an additional charge.

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Akaroa: Pohatu Penguins Scenic Nature 2-Hour or 4-Hour Tour

8. Akaroa: Pohatu Penguins Scenic Nature 2-Hour or 4-Hour Tour

Join a 4WD eco-tourism safari to the spectacular award-winning Wild Side Conservation area. Depart Akaroa for a scenic drive in a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu Flea Bay. Along the way, learn the region's history from your local guide. Stop for photo opportunities with views of Akaroa harbor and the Pacific Ocean. Arrive at a local family's farm where you can meet friendly pet sheep and hand-feed them for a real kiwi experience. In season, monitor nesting sites with your guide and learn about the conservation work done for the largest colony of little penguins on mainland New Zealand. At certain times of the year, you may even see some of the rehabilitation efforts such as supplemental feeding. The extended 4-hour tour includes visits to the spectacular cliff-tops of Akaroa Heads Lighthouse Reserve. You will have more time to enjoy the area with homemade muffins and cakes, and more time to see the native wildlife and to explore Flea Bay. This activity directly funds the conservation work that takes place at Pohatu Bay to protect the penguins.

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Christchurch: Sea Kayaking Excursion

9. Christchurch: Sea Kayaking Excursion

Your guide will collect you from your accommodation or at the designated pickup point. Make your way to Lyttleton Harbor as you drive over the Port Hills via Dyers Pass. Enjoy stunning views of the mountains and coast. Your sea kayak journey begins and ends at Charteris Bay just three minutes from Christchurch’s city center. Your guide will teach you some basic paddle strokes and how to steer your boat before heading off. Paddling towards the head of the harbor, explore the many small bays and rocky cliffs along the way. Find secret sandy beaches while hearing stories about the area from your local guide. Leaving the coast, head out to Quail Island, the largest of the three islands in the harbor and learn about its rich local history. Paddle past a ship’s graveyard, with it's the three partially sunken steamships. Lunch is provided on Quail Island or one of the many small beaches in the local area. On Quail Island, you'll have some free time to explore the island or relax by the beach. If time allows, you will be able to circumnavigate the island and visit the sea cliffs and caves at the Northen far end of the island before heading back to Charteris Bay.

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Christchurch: Packhorse Hut Guided Walk and Scenic Drive

10. Christchurch: Packhorse Hut Guided Walk and Scenic Drive

Departing Christchurch City, this tour follows the story of Harry Al and his grand vision to create a splendid walking tour from Christchurch to Akaroa in the early 1900s. Although Harry died before the track could be completed, the section from Christchurch to Packhorse Hut captures the stunning scenery and dramatic landscape of Banks Peninsula and Lyttleton Harbour. After being collected from town, your tour travels up through the affluent suburbs of Cashmere. A short stop at "the Sign of the Tahakhe" is an excellent place to snap a picture overlooking Christchurch, before you drive up to the second stop at the Sign of the Kiwi. Following the Sign of the Kiwi its a short drive along Summit Road to the Sign of the Bellbird, where your guide will provide morning tea. After morning tea your tour continues along the summit for another 15 minites before reaching Gebbies Pass. An 11-kilometer hike will then comprise your return journey, during which you will stop at Packhorse Hut for lunch. After completing the walk the return journey follows the coastal road around Lyttleton Harbour, passing through the small settlement of Gavernors Bay before heading up over the port hills and back to Christchurch.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Canterbury, New Zealand

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What people are saying about Canterbury, New Zealand

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 71 reviews

Beautiful cruise around the lake with excellent cruise operator Dale... Kept us entertained with informative and interesting area history and west coast lifestyle...friendly and welcoming personality..

Anujk is extremely knowledgeable local guide who knows Aotearoa North to South, and east to west. You will enjoy his tours and information and also great hospitality and world class customer service.

It was a fantastic experience. Close to Christchurch. The guide was very experienced, informative and made the walk enjoyable.

Anuj was such a wonderful guide, providing insights en route and a never drove rashly. Thanks for making trip so memorable!

We really enjoyed trip found it informative and interesting