Akaroa waterfront from wharf


Guided Tours for Cruise Ship Passengers calling at Akaroa


Day tours from Akaroa for your small private group, from 1 to 3 passengers.


Castle Hill rocks seen on Arthurs Pass day tour from AkaroaBecause of earthquake damage to Christchurch's main port at Lyttelton, almost all cruise ships are currently calling at the little seaside town of Akaroa.  Ships anchor in the centre of Akaroa Harbour, and passengers are tendered ashore - this takes around 10-15 minutes.    

Akaroa and its harbour are beautifully situated within a ring of high green hills, the remnants of a long-extinct volcanic crater.  Almost any tour that you take away from Akaroa with take you over the rim of the hills, and (weather permitting) excellent views are guaranteed!  


Please note that, because Akaroa is some distance from Christchurch (about 1 hour 20 minutes driving to the city centre), tours tend to be more expensive than for tours ex-Christchurch or ex-Lyttelton, because Christchurch-based tour operators have to drive from Christchurch to Akaroa to pick passengers up.


The following private tour itineraries are recommended for cruise ship passengers calling at Akaroa.  The itineraries can be modified to suit your interests:


(1)  Christchurch Tour


Christchurch is the South Island's largest city.  The city centre is undergoing reconstruction following the 2011 earthquake, but Christchurch remains an attractive city with plenty of interest.   

 Re:Start 'container mall' in the central city during Christchurch tour from Akaroa

  • Departing Akaroa Harbour, we drive over the encircling hills, and our first stop in the Christchurch area is the port town of Lyttleton, with its quirky steep streets of wooden cottages.

  • We visit the beach village of Sumner, prettily enclosed between headlands.

  • We tour Christchurch city centre.  Attractions include the Avon River and earthquake memorial, Botanic Gardens and Canterbury Museum.  The old stone precinct of the Arts Centre is progressively reopening following repairs.  Many visitors enjoy the visit to the colourful little 'container mall'.  You have a little free time in the city to explore, shop and have lunch. 

  • There may be time to visit the beautiful gardens at Mona Vale, or alternatively to take in an expansive city view from Cashmere, before returning to Akaroa. 


Enquire about a private day tour  



(2)  Banks Peninsula Tour


There is more to Banks Peninsula than Akaroa.  The peninsula is the large remnant of a long-extinct volcanic field, characterised by high hills, crags, pockets of forest and long azure bays. 


Akaroa Harbour seen on Banks Peninsula tourMuch of this day takes you well off the beaten track, and typically includes: 

  • Driving over the semi-wild steep farm country on the high hills of the peninsula.

  • Stretching your legs at beautiful remote bays, home to tiny local communities.

  • Visits to private gardens with their own distinctive flavour, designed around their own settings in the New Zealand landscape. 

  • Lunch at the locally popular Little River Cafe - its adjoining gallery is one of the best in the region.

  • Visit the shop at the little Barrys Bay cheese factory, makers of traditional European cheeses.



Enquire about a private day tour



(3)  Arthur's Pass Highway Tour


For many cruise passengers, this tour into the Canterbury high country is their only chance to get among the New Zealand mountains.  Along with plenty of alpine scenery, you will see limestone rock formations, subalpine lakes, forests of southern beech, and broad 'braided' river beds.

National Park entrance on Arthurs Pass tourPlease note however, that Akaroa is somewhat further from the mountains than is Christchurch.  There is no guarantee of getting as far as Arthur's Pass Village - it depends on how long your ship is in port. 
Also please note that the TranAlpine train ride is not available on this tour

  • After departing Akaroa Harbour, we cross the Canterbury Plains and enter the mountain country, crossing Porters Pass

  • We pass by pockets of large limestone outcrops and pretty subalpine lakes

  • We drive by the wide bed of the 'braided' Waimakariri River, looking across the the forested slopes and steep peaks of Arthur's Pass National Park.

  • If you have sufficient time ashore,  we reach Arthur's Pass Village, in a deep valley in the Southern Alps.  If your ship has a particularly late departure, we can drive the extra distance to the pass itself. 



Enquire about a private day tour




If your cruise ship is calling at Lyttelton, please refer to   Private tours from Christchurch




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