Canterbury, New Zealand
Sightseeing Walking Tours

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Our most recommended Canterbury, New Zealand Sightseeing Walking Tours

Lake Tekapo: Mount John Observatory Stargazing Tour

1. Lake Tekapo: Mount John Observatory Stargazing Tour

Explore the pristine night sky, stunning summit surroundings, and sophisticated viewing technologies as expert guides share the science and stories of New Zealand's skies on a stargazing tour. Make your way up Mount John on foot to the renowned Mount John Observatory, which is in partnership with the University of Canterbury. Hear stories about the stars, galaxies, and planets from your guides. The unpolluted environment around Lake Tekapo provides outstanding conditions for observations and discoveries of the southern sky.

Tekapo: Indoor Māori Heritage and Astronomy Experience

2. Tekapo: Indoor Māori Heritage and Astronomy Experience

Delight in a Big Bang of awe and inspiration at the Dark Sky Experience, where science, tatai aroraki (Maori astronomy), and fascinating multimedia installations are brought together for a sensual treat. Change your outlook on the universe in the best way possible on this 45-minute guided tour. Enjoy your guide's thought-provoking, educational, and entertaining commentary at this truly unique place. During your tour, get up close to the newly-restored Brashear telescope, one of the world's most famous Victorian telescopes. A must-do for all visitors to Lake Tekapo, this immersive daytime experience is a place for people to connect, to discover, and to be inspired, with the aim of empowering others to make a difference to dark sky preservation.

From Queenstown: Mount Cook Small Group Adventure

3. 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.

Kaikoura: Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour

4. Kaikoura: Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour

Begin your adventure in the town of Kaikoura where you will meet your professional guides. Receive a short safety briefing and paddling lesson before being allocated all the necessary equipment for the tour. Head out on the waters of the beautiful ocean surrounding the city. Kayak along the Kaikoura coastline, where you will take in the magnificent views of sheer cliff faces, craggy rocks, and mountain ranges while searching for chance encounters with Dusky Dolphins and Blue Penguins. Experience the excitement of watching cute fur seals ducking, weaving, and diving around your kayak. During your tour, you will have the opportunity to paddle gently along with these beautiful animals as they swim around the Kaikoura Peninsula hunting for their favourite feed of octopus. This tour is suitable for all ages and abilities while operating year-round, and doesn't require any previous kayaking experience. Encounter a diverse range of wildlife on the New Zealand coastline and see some of the country's most beautiful animals.

Mount Cook: Top of the Tasman Glacier Hike

5. Mount Cook: Top of the Tasman Glacier Hike

Explore the immense beauty of the upper snowfield of the Haupapa/Tasman Glacier. It will be from there that your 23-kilometer journey begins. As you fly in to 2,200 metres (7200 feet) aboard your ski plane, marvel as the rock and ice debris transform to glistening white. Get ready to explore the glacier by walking, hiking and snowshoeing, you may even see an iceberg in the glacier lake. If you have never tried snowshoeing in New Zealand, this is the time to give it a go. Snowshoeing is a great way to confidently make your way across snow-covered terrain. Once on the glacier, you will be provided with snowshoes, adjustable walking poles, harnesses, and any additional equipment you may need. After your gear is fitted, you are ready to explore the ice formations in this ever-changing environment. You will be in the heart and birthplace of New Zealand mountaineering, and at the conclusion of your experience, you will be returned safely back to your point of origin.

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.

From Queenstown: Mount Cook Heli-Hike and Tour Combo

7. From Queenstown: Mount Cook Heli-Hike and Tour Combo

Discover everything the beautiful Mount Cook and Tasman Glacier area has to offer on a guided small-group full-day trip from Queenstown. Meet your small group early in the morning and hop on the minivan which will take you to the Tasman Glacier, stopping at some of the area's most iconic sights along the way. Make your way through the Kawarau Gorge, passing the Kawarau Suspension Bridge and of course the famous Roaring Meg Lookout. Drive past sights such as the beautiful Lake Dunstan, Lindis Pass, and the Cromwell wine region, stopping for photos along the way, before arriving in Omarama. Here, spot Merino sheep and sample New Zealand's creamiest chicken pie before continuing to Lake Pukaki, where you can spot several Lord of the Rings filming locations. Next, get ready for the adventure of a lifetime with a Tasman Glacier Heli Hike. Combine the excitement of walking on New Zealand’s biggest glacier with the stunning scenic helicopter fly-bys of New Zealand’s largest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. After flying to a remote part of the glacier, follow your guide as they cut steps in the glacier, using skills handed down from New Zealand's mountain pioneers. Finish your hike with another spectacular scenic flight back to the base. After your flight, stop for a quick photo stop in Mount Cook village before continuing to High Country Salmon, a local salmon farm, where you can feed the fish and taste some of the freshest salmon in New Zealand. Stop at Mrs. Jones Suncrest Orchard to try or buy her delicious local fruit or real fruit ice cream before returning to Queenstown with your group.

Christchurch: Rock Climbing with Guide, Lunch, and Transport

8. Christchurch: Rock Climbing with Guide, Lunch, and Transport

The tour starts with a short scenic drive on the way up to the climbing area, known locally as a “crag.” Only 15 minutes from Christchurch, the road passes through the second longest road tunnel in New Zealand and into the historic port town of Lyttelton. You’ll have some time here to explore the quirky little town that has been the launching port for many Antarctic exploration voyages. Leaving Lyttelton, the road ascends steeply up Evans Pass affording views of Lyttelton Harbour and the busy port below. Just 15 minutes from Lyttelton, near the top of the Port Hills, is Cattlestop Crag and other pop-up climbing areas. Your guide will set up some suitable rock climbs for the group and, before anyone starts climbing, you'll have a safety briefing and learn you how to use the equipment. Once everyone has got the hang of the system, your guide will continue to set up appropriately challenging climbs. With over 2,000 climbing routes in Christchurch, there are plenty of options no matter what your level of experience. Take a break to enjoy picnic-style lunch overlooking Christchurch or Lyttelton depending on the climbing area used. After lunch, your guide will set up an abseil for you to try lowing yourself down from the top of a cliff. After the abseil, your guide will take you to another crag in the local area for another abseil or more climbing. Leaving the crag at around 4 PM, you’ll get back into Christchurch around 4:45 PM where your guide will drop you back at your hotel or at the meeting point outside Canterbury Museum.

Christchurch: Guided Crater Rim Walk in Banks Peninsula

9. Christchurch: Guided Crater Rim Walk in Banks Peninsula

Enjoy a full day guided walk on Banks Peninsula, an amazing outdoor playground for everybody visiting Christchurch. No more than a 30-minute ride from Christchurch city, enjoy an exhilarating walk around the Crater Rim Track surrounding the caldera of the ancient volcano. Marvel at the amazing views of the rugged Pacific coastline stretching across Pegasus Bay to the often snow covered Southern Alps as well as the picturesque Lyttelton harbor and wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean. The walk provides the opportunity to see and experience New Zealand at its very best. You can choose between a shared walking tour or a private guided walking tour. Begin your journey with pickup from your accommodation from your guide. On the drive to the site of the walk, listen to your guide's entertaining tales of the history of Christchurch and learn about the people who live here. Hot drinks will be provided at a local café as you prepare your hiking equipment with your guide, and receive a lunch box and refreshments before the walk commences. On the walk, immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings of New Zealand and feel the refreshing wind in your hair. There are plenty of photo opportunities along the way, and the chance to hear more about the history of the area during your walk. Take a pause from the walk to enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch at a picturesque location, here the tour often stops at a little bay which can only be reached by foot or by boat. Marvel at the abundant local bird and marine life in the area while you enjoy your meal. After lunch, join your guide on the walk back to your transportation for a relaxing drive back to your accommodation in Christchurch.

Christchurch: Sea Kayaking Excursion

10. 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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What people are saying about Canterbury, New Zealand

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 14 reviews

That the most wonderful time. Ben our guide was an absolute gem & made the whole experience thoroughly enjoyable. We saw seals, penguins & many varieties of sea birds. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable & I certainly learnt a lot. Would thoroughly recommend it to anyone visiting Akaroa

Had a great experience and a very nice time with our guide Sophie. Thank you for that! Nice chatting, lots of interesting facts about wildlife and the area, meeting some seals, penguins and even got a glimpse at a passing pod of dolphins.

Great trip up to Mt John. Informative astronomy guides and terrific views of the night sky through the high quality microscopes at the observatory. Learned a lot about our galaxy and the universe.

I really enjoyed the mix of astronomy and matauranga Maori. So fascinating. And beautifully presented.

Great tour and very fun guides! Will totally book my other trips with Cheeky Kiwi next time!