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10 BEST Tours in Christchurch, NZ that You Don’t Want to Miss in 2024

10 BEST Tours in Christchurch, NZ that You Don’t Want to Miss in 2024

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Christchurch is a fantastic city to spend time in, but it’s also a great base for exploring other regions on the South Island. In fact, there are so many great natural, historical, and cultural attractions near Christchurch that it would be a shame not to get out of the city and explore them! 

For example, you can take a Lord of the Rings tour, visit wine farms, swim with dolphins, or visit glaciers on an easy day trip from Christchurch – and these are only a few of the activities on offer! After living and traveling around New Zealand, I’ve found Christchurch gives you a good snapshot of New Zealand’s natural beauty and fun activities to do. 

There are a ton of tours to choose from, but I’ve rounded up the top 10 to make your decision easier. There really is something for every type of traveler on this list, from outdoor adventurers to wine lovers and everyone in between. So read on for the best tours in Christchurch, NZ to find one that works for you!

My Top Picks for Tours in Christchurch

A dusky dolphin jumps from the water in Kaikoura in New Zealand
Seeing pods of dolphins is a unique experience, especially when they jump from the water!

Maybe you’re already in Christchurch or looking to book something quickly – don’t worry, I got you! These are my two top choices for a tour from Christchurch that you can book right now.

Best day trip: Mount Cook/Aoraki is the highest mountain in New Zealand and the national park has stunning blue lakes, glaciers, and scenic hikes. This full-day tour of Mount Cook National Park gives you a taste of this amazing spot with everything planned for you! You’ll hike to the Tasman Glacier, stop to take pics of lavender fields, visit Lake Tekapo, and more. It’s a busy day, but perfect for a tour from Christchurch where transport and details are taken care of. You can book it online here for $275 NZD.

Best wildlife tour: Seeing dolphins is pretty special, but swimming with wild dolphins is something you’ll remember forever! This swimming with dolphins experience in Kaikoura gets you in the water to swim with pods of dusky dolphins – sometimes as many as 300! The tour runs year-round and includes transport, wetsuits, and snorkeling gear for $380 NZD. It can book up fast, so reserve a spot here!

Why Book a Tour in Christchurch?

A humpback whale swims along the surface of the water in Kaikoura
So cool!
Bailey at the New Regent Street Precinct in Christchurch, New Zealand
New Regent Street Precinct in Christchurch, New Zealand

I love Christchurch and think it’s a great city. However, one of the best things is that it’s surrounded by so many awesome attractions. While you should definitely check out the city of Christchurch, it’s also worth spending a few days exploring nearby. It’s the perfect base to experience New Zealand’s amazing wildlife and stunning scenery! 

I also enjoy taking tours from Christchurch because you get to learn so much more about the places you visit. It’s one thing to read information online, but when a passionate guide describes the history and stories behind places, they really come alive.

Renting a car in Christchurch (or anywhere in NZ) can also be expensive, but a tour takes care of your transport for you. Plus, it’s really nice not to have to worry about navigation and parking, so you can sit back and enjoy the views instead. 

Plus, a lot of the tours from Christchurch offer bucket-list-worthy experiences, like soaring over the South Island on a scenic flight and hiking through Mount Cook National Park. This country has such a wide array of experiences at your fingertips, and the best way to take advantage of it all is through a guided tour. So keep reading to learn about my favorite tours in Christchurch! 

Best Tours in Christchurch

1. Christchurch Hop-On Hop-Off Tram

A tram travels through Christchurch, New Zealand
The Tram!

The historic Christchurch tram is an amazing way to get acquainted with the city. This is a great thing to do on your first day in Christchurch because you can get a feel for the city and explore the top landmarks.

What I love about the trams in Christchurch is that they’re restored vintage trams. I enjoyed this Hop-on Hop-off Tour because it’s on one of these cute trams rather than your average bus. Plus, you get commentary along the way, and you have the flexibility to explore at your own pace.

Sometimes, you’re happy to just pass by the sights and snap a quick photo. Other times, you want to spend longer exploring the attractions that really interest you. And on this Hop-on Hop-off tram, you have the chance to do both!

Basically, you get the freedom to explore independently while having your transport and route handled for you. It’s a win-win situation!

Some of the best stops on this tour include the Avon River and Victoria Square. You can also visit Cashel Street, which is a bustling outdoor mall with great shops, cafes, and even a farmers’ market. My favorite stop may have been the Christchurch Botanic Gardens which are considered some of the best in the world. They’re a great free activity in Christchurch and are open from 7 am until dusk.

Tickets for this tram tour cost $35 NZD per person and anyone under 16 rides for free – making it a cost-effective way to see Christchurch, especially as a family! The tram leaves frequently and runs from 9 am – 5 pm in the summer and from 9:50 am – 4 pm in the winter.

For a flexible and affordable tour of the city, book this Hop-on Hop-off Tram online here!

2. Lyttelton Shore Excursion

Blue Penguins at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand
Aren’t they cute! Photo credit: International Antarctic Center

Just a 20-minute drive from the center of Christchurch is Lyttelton, a picturesque coastal town that’s also a popular docking point for cruise ships. This sightseeing tour was specially designed to show cruise passengers Christchurch in just one day.

Tours start directly from Lyttleton’s Fisherman’s Wharf, so you can step right off the cruise ship and into the air-conditioned vehicle. You head from Lyttelton to the Sign of the Takahe, a beautiful neo-Gothic building that was originally designed as a rest house for hikers. Then, you’ll visit the gorgeous Mona Vale Gardens. You’ll have 30 minutes to stroll through the gardens and by the pond, and will immediately understand why this is such a popular wedding location!

There’s also free time to explore Cathedral Square. This pedestrian square is the heart of the city and has a war memorial, cathedral, and notable statues.

After walking around all morning, you’ll probably be hungry, and a lunch stop at the Riverside Market should hit the spot. The market has some awesome Asian cuisine, including ramen, sushi, and Vietnamese food. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, make sure to treat yourself at She Chocolaterie. Their locally-made products were to die for, and I loved their carefully crafted chocolate stilettos!

The day finishes with an interactive visit to the International Antarctic Center. You can meet rare Blue Penguins and ride in a Hagglund vehicle to experience how Antarctic explorers get around. This is so much fun for kids in particular, so it’s a great way to encourage budding young scientists!

Overall, this half-day tour is a fantastic way to explore Christchurch if you’re short on time. It really showcases some of its best highlights, and it’s very family-friendly, too. It lasts about 6.5 hours, and you’re guaranteed to be back in time for cruise ship departures.

It costs $160 NZD per adult in the off-season and $170 NZD during the summer. The best part is that it’s half-price for kids (ages 3 -13). Prices include roundtrip transportation from the harbor, your guide, and entry to the Antarctic Center, but you’ll have to buy your own lunch.

If you’re visiting Christchurch on a cruise ship, reserve your dates here to soak up the city in just one day!

3. Mount Cook, Lake Tekapo, and Tasman Glacier

Lake Pukaki Lookout with views of Mount cook National Park
Can you spot Mount Cook?
Bailey in the Muller Hut area stands on a rock with Mount Cook in the background
At the Mueller Hut!

At 12,218 feet (3,724 meters), Mount Cook/Aoraki is New Zealand’s highest mountain, and it really is a must-see South Island attraction. But Mount Cook National Park isn’t just about mountains; it’s also home to beautiful lakes, glaciers, and gorgeous hiking trails. As an adventurous traveler, I absolutely love visiting Mount Cook!

This full-day tour will take you to Mount Cook National Park to see all of its amazing scenery. You’ll visit Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, which are both a surreal shade of blue. During the summer, you’ll also stop in some lavender fields to snap truly amazing photos. 

My highlight of this tour is the hike to the Tasman Glacier, which is absolutely beautiful. The hike takes about an hour in total. It feels like the perfect amount of time to soak in the beauty of the park. Just make sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes for the hike.

All in all, I think that this tour is an amazing option for those who want to visit Mount Cook National Park from Christchurch. It’s a 4-hour drive each way, so it’s a lot of driving. But on a tour, you can sit back, enjoy the scenery, and even sleep! You also stop in Geraldine to stretch your legs, which is about halfway between the city and the national park. 

The tour costs $220 NZD for adults in the off-season and $275 NZD during the summer. It includes your guides, water, and roundtrip transportation from select locations in Christchurch. Pickup begins around 7 am, and tours last for roughly 13 hours. The tour includes a stop at the historic Hermitage Hotel for lunch, although food isn’t included in the price.

You can easily book this tour online through Viator – but I’d reserve this one well in advance since it often sells out.

Related Read: For those traveling by car, check out these awesome stops between Lake Tekapo and Christchurch.

4. TranzAlpine Train, Arthur’s Pass, and Castle Hill Day Trip

bailey stands on the viewpoint at the Devils Punchbowl Waterfall along Arthurs Pass, NZ
Devils Punchbowl Waterfall
Bailey walks on a path at Kura Tawhiti Castle Hill Conservation Area
Bailey walks on a path at Kura Tawhiti Castle Hill Conservation Area

This full-day tour really brings it in terms of natural beauty. You’ll get to explore Arthur’s Pass, one of my favorite national parks in New Zealand. Trust me, if you love trains and mountainous landscapes, you won’t want to miss this tour!

This day trip starts with a ride on the TranzAlpine train which is one of the most scenic train journeys in New Zealand – and the world! You get beautiful views of the Southern Alps as you ride towards Arthur’s Pass. The train has huge windows and open-air viewing decks, so you can really make the most of the vistas. 

Once you arrive at Arthur’s Pass, your guide will pick you up at the station. You’ll visit the Otira Viaduct, a super impressive bridge that is an amazing spot for photos! Then, you get some free time to explore the walking trails in Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Personally, I think the Devil’s Punchbowl Track is the best, and that’s what most people do on this tour. It’s 1.9 km (1.2 mi) long and takes roughly 45 minutes to complete. Along the way, you’ll encounter some viewing platforms to really take in the scenery. After that, you go to Arthur’s Pass Village, where you can buy lunch in a local cafe and explore this charming little town.

Another stop I love on this full-day tour is the Kura Tawhiti/Castle Hill Conservation Area. This grassy area is full of crazy limestone formations. I also recommend walking up the hills for a nice vantage point.

You get to see so many iconic South Island sights in just one day with this tour. It costs $375-$410 NZD depending on the time of year and includes everything I mentioned except lunch. Roundtrip transportation is available from select Christchurch hotels. Alternatively, you can join your group at the meeting point around 7:30 am.

This tour books up fast – and for good reason. I highly recommend reserving your ticket online in advance.

Why I Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! I almost always book tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here!

5. Kaikoura Whale Watching Day Tour from Christchurch

A whale breaches while a boat looks on in Kaikoura, NZ
If you’re in Christchurch, don’t miss this chance to see whales!

Kaikoura is an amazing place to see whales, including orcas and magnificent sperm whales! Christchurch is a great base to visit from and the drive between Kaikoura and Christchurch is about 2.5 hours, which can be done in a day. However, a tour makes it even easier since you won’t need to worry about transport, and seeing whales in Kaikoura needs a boat tour anyway!

This full-day whale watching tour from Christchurch is easily one of the best options because you get to go on a whale-watching cruise and wine-tasting in one go! I love this tour because you get to see these amazing creatures up close.

Sperm whales can actually be seen year-round in Kaikoura. You’ll also have the chance to spot dusky dolphins, humpback whales, and southern right whales, depending on the time of year. No matter when you’re visiting New Zealand, you’re bound to see some marine life here!

After the cruise, this day tour will head to a local restaurant. As you eat, you can look out at the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Then, you’ll dive into more animal spotting by visiting a New Zealand fur seal colony. When I went, I got to see so many of them sunbathing and playing on the rocks!

Last but definitely not least, the tour ends with a wine tasting in a North Canterbury vineyard. I never turn down an opportunity to try new wines, and the Pinot Noirs from this region are super light and fruity.

Tours include roundtrip transportation and cost $350 NZD or $385 NZD if you include lunch (otherwise, you can purchase off the menu). Whales, seals, and wine tasting – this tour is honestly my perfect day out!

So if you love marine life as much as I do, don’t hesitate to book this tour online here!

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6. Kaikoura Swim with Dolphins Tour

A dolphin jumps from the water in Kaikoura, New Zealand
Seeing the dusky dolphins is really cool!

Whale watching isn’t the only fun activity in Kaikoura. Here you can also swim alongside dolphins in their natural habitat! This swimming with dolphins experience is something pretty special. I don’t know about you, but this is definitely not the kind of thing that I get to do every day!

The tour makes everything so easy and includes hotel pickup and dropoff. You’ll start your day around 7:30 am, driving along the rugged coastline to Kaikoura. You’ll stop by the Craypot Kitchen & Bar, where you can buy lunch if you wish or have a bit of free time in town. Naturally, Kaikoura has some incredible seafood, so I’d obviously recommend trying it!

After visiting Kaikoura town, you’ll head to the harbor and hop aboard your dolphin cruise. As you travel towards the dolphin hotspots, the captain will teach you all about these animals. Then comes my favorite part of this epic tour! You’ll swim alongside dusky dolphins and see first-hand just how elegant, intelligent, and playful these amazing creatures really are. 

The tour lasts for 12 hours in total and while it’s a long day, it’s so worth it! It costs $380 NZD and it runs year-round. The price covers all transportation, your guides, and the snorkeling equipment (including a wetsuit to keep you warm!).

Believe me, swimming with dolphins is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To take advantage of this awesome opportunity, book this Kaikoura tour online by clicking here.

7. Southern Alps Scenic Flight

Flying past Mount Cook on a scenic flight in New Zealand
Mount Cook is even bigger up close!

A scenic flight is a truly awesome way to see the South Island’s incredible scenery. This helicopter ride takes you soaring over the Southern Alps. You’ll fly over the incredible Waimakariri River, which is amazing to see from the air because of its braided channels and patterns. 

Your pilot will provide commentary as you go, giving you a local’s insight into the South Island. Helicopter rides around this area are magical. Seeing the landscape from above really makes you appreciate it on a different level!

To top it all off, you’ll land on Chest Peak, a 6,500-foot (1,921-meter) tall mountain. High-altitude landings are super cool – not to mention the views really are breathtaking from up here! When I went, I snapped so many photos of the surrounding peaks.

This scenic flight lasts around 1 hour and 15 minutes in total, and it runs year-round. It’s super easy to fit into a day of sightseeing in Christchurch.

The tour costs $1,380 NZD per person for 1-2 people and $995 NZD per person when you book as a group of 3 or more. It’s a private tour, meaning it will just be your group (which I think makes the experience even better!). You’ll have to make your own way to and from the helicopter pad in Christchurch. Click here to book this amazing flight over the South Island!

Related Read: If you love those bird’s eye views, read about the best scenic flights from Queenstown as well!

8. Waipara Wine Trail Tour

Grape vines in the Waipara Wine Region
This is one gorgeous place to taste wine!

Waipara Valley is one of my favorite places to go wine tasting in New Zealand. Not only is it absolutely beautiful, but it’s also home to some of the best wine I’ve ever had. The best way to check out many of these wineries (without having to drive) is on this half-day tour from Christchurch.

The tour takes you to 3-4 boutique vineyards to taste at least 15 different wines. You’ll learn all about how wine is grown in the scenic Waipara Valley and what makes it taste so good! Waipara is actually the fastest-growing wine valley in New Zealand, so a visit here really is a must for wine lovers. 

I particularly enjoyed the Waipara Springs Winery. The setting was just so beautiful, and they even happened to have live musicians when I went. Overall, it was the perfect ambiance to sip on their refreshing Pinot Gris. The other wineries had delicious Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, and Reisling wines.

There are two choices for booking this tour. You can depart at 12 pm and have lunch at one of the wineries for $160 NZD per person. Lunch at the wine farm is usually a platter that includes fresh bread, cheese, fruit, and cold cuts (which goes perfectly with wine). Alternatively, you can skip the lunch and leave at 1 pm for $125 NZD.

Either way, you can still have a morning of sightseeing – or check out one of the many cafes and coffee shops in Christchurch. And since you’ll return by 5:30 pm, you can also enjoy dinner out!

The tour includes round-trip transport from Christchurch, a knowledgeable guide, and all your wine tastings. It also makes a great addition to any romantic getaway in New Zealand.

If you love wine, you can check availability and book this wine tour online here!

9. Lord of the Rings – Journey to Edoras

Mount Sunday in New Zealand
Mount Sunday landscape, South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand is an awesome place to visit for Lord of the Rings fans! And from Christchurch, you can visit Mount Sunday, which was the filming location for Edoras.

Edoras, as true Tolkien fans will know, was the capital of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While visiting this region is really cool, getting here isn’t easy thanks to its remote location and challenging terrain. That’s exactly why I jumped on this LOTR tour from Christchurch.

On this journey to Edornas, you’ll head to the peak of Mount Sunday in a 4WD. Here, you can see replica props and learn all about how the area was transformed into the mythical capital city you see in the films. Don’t forget to take photos in front of the flag of Rohan (or with Aragorn’s sword) as proof you’ve visited this epic land.  

Even if you’re not a huge LOTR fan, this tour is still fascinating and has insane vistas. From the summit of Edoras, you’ll have a 360-degree view. You also get to enjoy a champagne picnic lunch at Mt Potts Lodge at the top of the mountain.

The tour costs $299 NZD per adult and $199 NZD for kids (ages 5-14). Prices include roundtrip transportation from your hotel and a yummy lunch. This 9-hour experience starts at 9 am and runs most days during the summer, but New Zealand winter dates are limited.

This tour is honestly so interesting and such an amazing day out for anyone who grew up loving the Lord of the Rings movies! It does book up fast, so make sure to reserve your place in advance!  

Related Read: Lord of the Rings fans should also check out the best Glenorchy tours available!

10. Akaroa Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

Akaroa Bay New Zealand
Akaroa Bay, New Zealand

Akaroa is one of the most scenic towns on the South Island and is famed for its French heritage. The town is known for its beautiful harbor and Hector’s dolphins, but it’s also surrounded by natural attractions. 

This full-day tour of Akaroa from Christchurch shows you some of the gorgeous spots around Akaroa including Governor’s Bay, Lake Ellesmere, and Lake Forsyth. You also get to head up the Banks Peninsula Volcano – don’t worry, it’s extinct, so there’s no chance of an eruption! You’ll have views for days up here and see the amazing volcanic craters and the bright blue water beyond.

In the afternoon, you’ll take a 2-hour catamaran cruise of the Akaroa Harbor. For me, this is the highlight of this trip because you’ll have the chance to spot Hector’s dolphins! These are the smallest and rarest type of dolphins in the world, so this really is an amazing opportunity. 

After the cruise, your group will enjoy a cheese tasting at Barrys Bay Cheese, which has a selection of traditional, handcrafted cheeses. I especially enjoyed their Peninsula blue cheese and cumin-infused Havarti.

Your tour concludes with some free time to explore Akaroa and its charming French architecture. This 150-year-old town is full of historic buildings and cute little craft shops, so pick up any souvenirs here before heading back to Christchurch. 

This tour costs $240 NZD without lunch or you can include lunch in Akaroa for an extra $40 NZD. The tour includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Christchurch and a knowledgeable guide.

This is a really great day trip from Christchurch, and the highlight really is the dolphin cruise! You can check availability and reserve this tour online here.

Where to Stay in Christchurch

Crowne Plaza Christchurch
The Crowne Plaza Christchurch is a beautiful centrally located hotel. Photo credit: Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Although not a large city by international standards, Christchurch is big for New Zealand. As with any large city, picking the right place to stay is really important.

There are lots of different areas to choose from when deciding where to stay in Christchurch. To help you narrow it down, I’ve included my top choices near the airport, in the city center, and just outside the city.

By the airport

One of the best places by the airport is the Lylo Christchurch. It’s actually within walking distance of the airport! It’s also 2 minutes from a retail center and the International Antarctic Center. They have luggage storage, laundry, and a communal area with a kitchen. There are a variety of rooms with prices starting at $117 NZD. You can book this super convenient hotel through Booking.com.

Another cool hotel close by is the Commodore Airport Hotel Christchurch. Although a short drive away, it has a free shuttle, free parking, and amazing reviews. Rooms come with a balcony or garden access to get that fresh air before a flight. They also have a restaurant, bar, and indoor pool. You can expect to pay between $250-$350 NZD per night. For luxury right by the airport, reserve a room at the Commodore Hotel online.

City center

In the city center, the Crown Plaza Christchurch is perfect for a luxury stay. It’s a large hotel with amazing views of the city. You can grab a coffee at the on-site cafe or cozy up by the bar’s fireplace with a cocktail. It has a gym, restaurant, and spacious rooms. You can snag prices as low as $209 NZD when you book in advance online.

For budget travelers, the social but comfortable Urbanz is a good option. Although cheap, it’s located in the heart of the city and only a couple of minutes from Hagley Park and New Regent Street, which is full of bars and restaurants. It’s a trendy, modern space with a pool table, kitchen, laundry, and on-site bar. Dorm rooms cost about $41 NZD, and private rooms are $109 NZD. You can book this budget-friendly hotel on Booking.com or through Hostelworld.com.

Just outside the city

If you don’t mind staying a few minutes outside of the city center, I recently stayed at Tasman Holiday Parks Christchurch and loved it! It’s a holiday park, so perfect for those with a campervan or motorhome, but they also have newly renovated rooms and apartments available for a great price! There are plenty of facilities, including kitchens, BBQs, and a pool. Stays start at $114 NZD and can be booked online here.

Related Read: Check out the best beaches in all of New Zealand!

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.

Travel Insurance Has Your Back!

Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.

If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!

To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.

Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.

Travel Insurance Has Your Back!

Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.

If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!

To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.

Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey poses for a photo at New Regent Street in Christchurch, New Zealand
Thanks for reading!

If you’re visiting Christchurch, I definitely recommend exploring the surrounding towns and scenery. From filming locations for Lord of the Rings to quaint seaside villages and marine life, there’s so much to see! This list of tours covers some of my top destinations in and around Christchurch. So if you’re planning a trip, I hope you found a tour you love!

To learn more about New Zealand, you can check out my blog here. I’ve traveled all throughout the country and lived here for some time. For an idea of what I cover, I’ve linked a few articles below.

21 BEST Waterfalls in New Zealand (North and South Islands)

13 BEST Stops on the Drive from Christchurch to Franz Josef

8 Absolute BEST Day Trips from Queenstown