Car Rental Christchurch Airport
Get on down to Christchurch, the bright urban star of the South Island. New Zealand’s second-largest city has remodelled itself from the ground up with a fresh modern outlook (while preserving much of its historic past). Some of the country’s best designers and architects have been involved in Christchurch’s big make-over, so you’ll love the energy and optimism around the city.
Christchurch Airport is just 20-minutes from the city centre. Check out international and domestic flights: many will be direct, but some travel will be via Auckland, New Zealand’s main city on the North Island. Arrange your hire car here and plan for a jam-packed holiday itinerary – especially if you’re a nature lover. The Canterbury region around Christchurch is chock-full with outdoor adventures. Stay close by and explore the beautiful Banks Peninsula to the south. Head west to the nearby ski slopes of the Southern Alps, or journey through the mighty mountains on the great TranzAlpine train. Go north to the alpine resort town of Hanmer Springs and soak away your cares in the thermal pools. With a mountain backdrop, rivers and forests – get into outdoor and water-based adventures, including rafting, jet skiing, mountain biking, snowboarding in winter and hiking all year round. Plus there are vineyards, lakes, and lots to do around Pegasus Bay and in the heart of Christchurch itself.
For a quick introduction to the city, ride the downtown streets on a vintage tram. Drive to the Port Hills and enjoy panoramic views. Keep a look out for the ever-changing street art. The Avon River cuts through Christchurch, and you can jump on an old Edwardian-style punt to experience its peaceful waters. Drift through the Botanic Gardens and relax with a picnic on the banks or take an edible tour. This horticultural highlight is the heart of the ‘Garden City’.
When it comes to food, Christchurch has a vibrant café culture that serves up excellent coffee and tasty bites with friendly hospitality. To bend your elbow, head to The Brewery; one of the city’s favourite drinking spots. Order a hand-crafted local beer and a hearty counter meal. Being located in The Tannery, you’ll encounter some top shopping while you’re here. The boutiques are chic and a little bit quirky in this former industrial district. Enjoy the buzz and pick up a unique piece that’s distinctly Kiwi. Browse the Sunday Artisan Market for more local fare. Spend the rest of the afternoon at the sleek new Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, and visit a bunch of great galleries around the city.
Head out into the stunning surrounds of Christchurch in your hire car
There are fantastic destinations close to Christchurch. Expect experiences that are diverse and picture-perfect. Start with the must-see Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula, a sweet little village with French origins. Head to the hillside and enjoy the clear blue harbour from the summit. Take in terrific views from a kayak, paddle board or cruise. Visits by dolphins and seal sightings are very common in these waters. Have a French-inspired meal and enjoy the shopping. The drive around Banks Peninsula is so scenic you may want to linger longer. Stay overnight in Little River in a kitted-out silo with a hatch to the sky and wander the pebbled beach of Birdlings Flat.
A short drive from the airport and you’ll be in Waimakariri. If there’s a way to relax and have fun, you can discover it here! Two hours to the north, Kaikōura is a vacation highlight, especially for those into marine wildlife. Take a whale watching cruise or a helicopter flight over waters rich with giant sperm whales, humpbacks, southern right, fin, blue and pilot whales. Kayak with fur seals and swim with dusky dolphins. Encounter albatross, petrels and terns. The village of Kaikōura is nestled between the mountains and the sea. The ranges are dramatically snow-capped in winter. While in the temperate months, enjoy coastal walks along the Pacific.
Venture further for unmissable icy adventures in your hire car
A 90-minute drive will take you to Mt Hutt – New Zealand’s best ski resort, according to popular vote. The snow fields are amazing, and the ski season here goes on longer than any other. For families, Porters Alpine Resort ticks all the boxes. Beginners are welcome, and snowboarding is popular.
When you’re ready to raise the level of adventure, make your way to Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. This mighty mountain is definitely worth the three-hour trip. Boutique snowfields and a warm welcome lies ahead. And for a really epic adventure, meet New Zealand’s largest glacier. The Tasman Glacier is a powerful piece of nature for only the most advanced skiers to tackle. Take a cruise around the glacial lake, touch the icebergs, or go ahead and experience it on foot.
When heading back to the airport at the end of your visit, pop into the International Antarctic Centre next door. Stay in the mood for icy pastimes as you immerse in 4D displays and virtual snowstorms on the frozen continent. Christchurch is in fact one of only five cities in the world known as an Antarctic Gateway City, with famous explorers using it as basecamp. So maybe you could schedule in the frozen continent on your next Christchurch visit!