Organized Tours

The visitor center has a wealth of information on organized tours within the city and beyond. A 2-hour Guided City Walk (NZ$10/US$5.50) leaves from its office daily at 9:45am and 1:45pm from October to April, and at 1pm from May to September.

For a good overview of Christchurch, the 3//2-hour Explorer Tourline City and Harbour Tour (& 0800/800-410 in NZ, or 03/354-0262; [email protected] co.nz) is an excellent value at NZ$40 (US$22). It takes you into the eastern suburbs, to the cathedral and historic gardens, to the Christchurch Gondola station, through the tunnel to Lyttelton, up to the Port Hills summit, and down into Sumner. Explorer also offers tours to Akaroa (see "Side Trips from Christchurch," later in this chapter); other trips incorporate jet-boating, farm visits, and the TranzAlpine.

In the food and drink line, Taste Canterbury dftj? (& 03/326-6753; mavis. [email protected]) offers a terrific set of personalized gourmet food and wine tours of the greater Canterbury region. Mavis Airey is a knowledgeable guide and food writer. Vin de Pays (& 03/357-8262; www.vindepays.co.nz) has a 3-hour tour of gourmet and wine sites for NZ$60 (US$33); and Canterbury Brewery Heritage Centre, 36 St. Asaph St., Christchurch (& 03/379-4970; www.lion-nathan. co.nz), has a 1/2-hour tour through the museum and working brewery, followed by beer tasting. It runs Monday through Thursday at 10am and 12:30pm, plus Saturday at 1pm and costs NZ$10 (US$5.50) for adults, NZ$5 (US$2.75) for children, and NZ$20 (US$11) per family. After all that you can go on an invigorating 3-hour jaunt in the Port Hills (NZ$40/US$22) with Ian McLeod's Walkaway Tours (& 03/365-6672; www.walkaway.co.nz).

To explore after dark, try the Kiwis by Night Tours (& 03/355-4458; fax 03/ 348-8826), which offers a Kiwi Tour to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve (p. 341) and an Antarctic Tour that visits both Willowbank and the International Antarctic Centre (p. 339).

And for something entirely different again, allow a full day for the TranzAlpine & High Country Explorer (& 0800/863-975; www.high-country.co.nz). You'll never forget this standout adventure, which sees you speeding up the Waimakariri River in a 400hp Chevy-powered Hamilton jet and delivered to the doors of a four-wheel-drive vehicle. You'll then be taken 20km (12 miles) through spectacular, otherwise inaccessible high country to Flock Hill Resort, where you can indulge in the classic Kiwi smorgasbord lunch. You are then taken up to Arthur's Pass village for the 2-hour journey back to Christchurch on board the TranzAlpine (see "An Unforgettable Train Trip," below). This superb tour is a great value at around NZ$285 (US$157). It departs from Christchurch at 9am and returns at 7pm. Take a sweater or jacket at any time of year.

Canterbury Leisure Tours (& 0800/484-485 in NZ, or 03/384-0999; www.leisuretours.co.nz) has a comprehensive selection of half- and full-day tours that cover everything from whale-watching in Kaikoura (see "Side Trips from Christchurch," later in this chapter) to wine trails, sheep-farm tours, horse trekking, Mount Cook, Hanmer Springs (see "Side Trips from Christchurch," later in this chapter), and more.

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