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Three great escapes outside of Christchurch

Head to one of these great escapes next time you're in Christchurch.

Christchurch is New Zealand’s second-largest city and home to a range of fun activities and attractions. It’s also a gateway to plenty of picturesque southern towns, many of which are just a short car ride away.

If you find yourself in the Garden City with an empty itinerary and time on your side, why not book a Christchurch car hire and head to one of these destinations?


Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an extinct volcano, just an hour east of Christchurch.

French colonists settled here in the 19th century, and street names, tricolour flags and eateries retain the cultural character. Try¬†L’Escargot Rouge deli – home to delicious Le Parisien breakfasts.


Lyttelton is a historic small port town just an hour outside of Christchurch. It was home to the city’s first European settlers in 1850, and has a dominant maritime feel that runs throughout the streets, shops and neighbourhoods.

For a dose of history, visit the excellent Antarctic Gallery. Lyttelton was originally an expedition launching point to the South Pole, so this is a must-see for any history or science buffs.

Take a harbour cruise, which departs daily, and you might encounter the tiny Hector’s dolphins. These bathtub-sized dolphins are endemic to New Zealand and are one of the rarest types in the world.

Hanmer Springs

Winter brings chilling temperatures and, in the South Island, snow. Get a car rental and visit Hanmer Springs during June, July or August and take full advantage of the hot pools there.

Just under two hours north of Christchurch, you’ll find the award-winning Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. With offerings such as facials, massages and access to natural hot pools – you’ll never want to leave!

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