Welcome to Banks Peninsula


The waters around Banks Peninsula are home to the smallest and one of the rarest dolphin species, the Hector’s dolphin, found only in NZ waters. A range of tours depart from Akaroa to spot these and other sealife, including white-flippered penguins, orcas and seals.


Top experiences in Banks Peninsula

Travel guides

Starting at $36.39

Image for

Banks Peninsula activities

$59.79 Day Trips & Excursions

Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch Tour

After docking in Akaroa Harbour, your shore excursion starts with a scenic trip by coach to Christchurch, traveling through the Banks Peninsula along the Akaroa Highway with its breathtaking scenery of Akaroa Harbour, Little River, Lakes Forsyth and Lake Ellesmere. As you make your way into the city with your guide, enjoy the splendor of the Southern Alps and the Canterbury Plains.Arrive in Christchurch at approximately 12pm and take a brief stroll through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, where you can admire one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand. Get back on the coach and relax on the drive around Christchurch’s city landmarks and the old CBD while your driver will provide informative facts about the sights you'll see, such as the damaged city center, still recovering from the effects of the 2011 earthquake. There will be a break in the newly rebuilt central city to explore on foot and time for lunch (own expense).Your tour continues to the Christchurch beach suburb of Sumner, the port town of Lyttleton and past the Sign of the Takahe on the hills above Christchurch, from where you’ll enjoy wonderful views over the city.Depart Christchurch for Akaroa at 3pm so you can re-board your ship on time at 4:30pmWorry-free Shore Excursion: We will ensure your timely return to the Akaroa cruise port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

$101.99 Shore Excursions

Akaroa Shore Excursion: Christchurch, Banks Peninsula Sites

When your cruise ship docks in Akaroa, take a guided shore excursion to discover the nearby city of Christchurch. You'll be picked up at the cruise port and take a scenic trip past the bays and coves of the Banks Peninsula. Your Christchurch tour takes in all the central city highlights including the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Centre, Avon River and the Bridge of Remembrance.Then be immersed in the sights of Antarctica at the renowned International Antarctic Centre. The center re-creates the atmosphere of Antarctica with the amazing Snow and Ice Experience, featuring the world’s first indoor storm complete with lightning, arctic winds and blizzard audio.Meet the cute Antarctic wildlife at the Blue Penguin Encounter, then buckle up for an exhilarating Hagglund ride. Traveling over a crevasse and through water, the all-terrain amphibious adventure simulates the traveling conditions scientists experience riding across the Antarctic ice pack.Worry-free Shore Excursion:We will ensure your timely return to the Akaroa port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

$59.79 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Cruise on a modern 60 feet catamaran, perfect for viewing the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour. The vessel is the largest and most luxurious on the harbour. There's lots of space on the 2 decks for unenterrupted viewing and inside seating. The 2-hour cruise is fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and history of Akaria Harbour. On the two-hour cruise you will encounter wildlife plus the many sea caves and volcanic cliffs. As Akaroa Harbour was a live volcano nine million years ago, there is many spectacular ancient lava flows to be seen. One cliff has a sheer 500-foot face and has a fascinating history plus you will also see the incredible Scenery Nook, an amazing pink, purple and red volcanic amphitheater that will take your breath away. Catch glimpses of the White Flippered Blue Penguin, the smallest penguin in the world you'll also see the New Zealand Fur Seal sunning themselves on the harbors rocks near the entrance at Seal Bay. The highlight of this trip is undoubtedly the sighting of one of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector Dolphin also known as the New Zealand Dolphin. These friendly and inquisitive mammals meet the boat most days throughout the year and their calves can be seen between October and March.

$80.89 Shore Excursions

Akaroa Shore Excursion: Christchurch Highlights City Tour

Once known at ‘the most English city outside of England’, Christchurch is now a city on the move…sometimes quite literally! This small group tour will showcase the best highlights of this unique city from the comfort of your modern, air conditioned vehicle.Join our bona-fide local guide for a day exploring Christchurch and Banks Peninsula – and see how New Zealand’s 2nd largest city is rebounding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010/11. This is an intriguing tour you won't want to miss.Highlights include: • Explore the city centre – where the majority of the Canterbury rebuild is taking place. See new buildings spring up, as well as the fascinating renovations on some of the city’s heritage buildings. You will have approximately 2 hours to enjoy the interesting sights at your leisure. • Upgrade (all at extra cost) and ride the Christchurch Tram, go for a punt on the river, or take a Botanic Gardens tour. • Photograph the remains of the city’s 2 destroyed cathedrals, and see the temporary cardboard cathedral put up in their place. • Admire the panoramic and breathtaking views of Christchurch and Canterbury from atop the Port Hills. • Take in the amazing vistas of Banks Peninsula – including the 2 harbours of Lyttelton and Akaroa. Travel along the summit road for extra special views of Akaroa Harbour. • Enjoy the scenery of Lakes Forsyth and Ellesmere, as well as the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps on the 90 minute drive to the city. • Stop at the Hilltop Tavern and Barry's Bay Cheese Factory (time permitting). About us:Our team has been delivering world-class Shore Excursions for over 16 years. It all started with owner Ian - one man and a beloved Rolls Royce car. Today, the number of vehicles and tours has changed, but the philosophy hasn’t – every customer is treated like one of the family, and we will make sure you have an unforgettable day. We have over 100 years combined tour guiding experience so you know you are in capable hands (and if you’re lucky you may even get to travel with Ian – he still loves to get behind the wheel!).Travel in a modern, air conditioned vehicle with a passionate local as your host. We specialise in small groups to allow an intimate and personalised experience. Every tour is guided and commentated from start to finish - our guides delight in showing off our little corner of the world. And, we guarantee to have you back to the ship on time!

$59.79 Shore Excursions

Akaroa Shore Excursion: Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Catch the tender to the main wharf when your cruise ship docks in Akaroa, making sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before your nature cruise departs. Relax on your two-hour cruise across Akaroa Harbour and listen to the commentary about the harbor’s geography, wildlife and history provided by your knowledgeable skipper. Your luxurious cruise boat has two decks, providing shade, shelter and plenty of observation areas for uninterrupted wildlife and scenery viewing. As you cruise past volcanic cliffs and sea caves, keep a lookout for the world’s smallest, rarest and friendliest dolphins, the New Zealand Hector’s dolphin. These friendly and inquisitive mammals meet the boat most days throughout the year and their calves can be seen between October and March. You might also see the world’s smallest penguin, the white-flippered blue penguin, or the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. See New Zealand fur seals sunbathing on the rocks at Seal Bay, and make a stop at Lucas Bay to see a salmon farm in operation. Hear how fingerlings to adult salmon are raised in cages here, the source of New Zealand’s world-famous Akaroa salmon. Your cruise also takes you past the sublime beauty of Scenery Nook, an amazing pink, purple and red volcanic amphitheater that will take your breath away. Your cruise ends with return to the Akaroa cruise dock. This excursion is located within a 5-minute walk to the cruise port, so you determine the time you return to your ship in Akaroa. Please allow yourself ample time to enjoy the excursion and ensure your timely return to the port. This excursion is not covered by our worry-free policy.

$123.09 Shore Excursions

Akaroa Shore Excursion: Christchurch and Jet Boat River Tour

When your cruise ship docks in Akaroa, take a shore excursion to discover the nearby city of Christchurch. After traveling past the scenic bays and coves of the Banks Peninsula, your guided Christchurch tour takes in all the central city highlights including the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Museum and Art Centre, Avon River and the Bridge of Remembrance.Then enjoy one of New Zealand’s most exhilarating and scenically spectacular jet-boat rides! Your jet-boat adventure takes you through the Waimak River one of New Zealand's largest braided rivers. You will blast through shallow shingle bottom river streams and experience the thrills of high speed turns and 360 degree spins. Life jackets and splash proof gear will be provided.Your scenic journey back to Christchurch takes you from the foothills of the Southern Alps through the rural pastoral scenery of the Canterbury Plains.Worry-free Shore Excursion:We will ensure your timely return to the Akaroa port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

Banks Peninsula in detail