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Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

star-3.523 Reviews
Akaroa, New Zealand
Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

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Free cancellation
Up to 7 days in advance. Learn more
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icon6 hours  (Approx.)
Pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English


This Akaroa shore excursion takes you on a scenic journey into Christchurch via the Banks Peninsula with a visit to the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Your tour of the ‘Garden City’ includes a stroll through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and a look at earthquake recovery efforts in the city center. You’ll find exotic critters such as wallabies, gibbons and lemurs at the wildlife reserve, and meet the elusive but iconic kiwi, New Zealand’s national bird.
  • Banks Peninsula, Christchurch tour and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve from Akaroa port
  • Enjoy a scenic trip along the Akaroa Highway with its stunning scenery
  • Take a walk through the Chistchurch Botanic Gardens
  • See the sights of central Christchurch and the rebuilding process from the 2011 earthquake
  • Admire the elusive kiwi bird at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
  • Learn about the breeding programs at the wildlife reserve
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Port pickup and drop-off
Local guide
Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship
Food and drinks

Departure Point

65 Beach Road, Akaroa 7520, New Zealand

From the Main Wharf in Akaroa, head down to the end where you will see the Akaroa I-Site and a small park on the right-hand side. Next to the Canon statue, a representative will be waiting for you. Please arrive by 10.15am for a 10.30am departure.

Departure Time

10:30 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
While your ship is in port in Akaroa, enjoy a shore excursion into Christchurch. After port pickup, travel by coach through the Banks Peninsula via the Akaroa Highway. After the drive, you’ll arrive in Christchurch for a guided tour of CBD highlights, including picturesque buildings and reconstruction efforts following the 2011 earthquake.

Take a walk through the lovely Christchurch Botanic Gardens and learn about the extensive collection of botanical treasures. Follow up your visit with a wildlife encounter at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, home to several dozen native and exotic animal species — from monkeys and llamas to lemurs and wallabies. Get a look at New Zealand’s national bird, including North Island brown and South Island spotted kiwis, and learn about Willowbank’s kiwi breeding program.

After your tour, relax on the return drive through the Canterbury Plains to Akaroa Harbour, with drop-off at the cruise terminal.

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.
Pass By:  
Akaroa Village Inn
First you will be collected at the park at the end of Akaroa Wharf (opposite the Akaroa Village Inn) at 10.30am and driven through the village of Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula with stunning views of rolling hills, lakes and coastlines before arriving in Christchurch.
Stop At:  
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
After boarding our coaches from the Akaroa Port, we'll take you through to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens & Christchurch Museum via the scenic Banks Peninsula. Explore on your own for 30 minutes.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Cathedral Square
Depart the Botanical Gardens for a brief Christchurch City tour highlighting city landmarks and the rebuild of city centre after the 2011 Earthquake.
Stop At:  
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
The tour then moves on to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. You will be given entry to the Wildlife Reserve and a guided tour of the reserves ‘Natural New Zealand’ with Kiwi viewing.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Pass By:  
Banks Peninsula
Travel back to Akaroa via the Banks Peninsula to board your cruise ship.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • At time of booking, cruise ship passengers must provide the following information: ship name, docking time, disembarkation time and re-boarding time
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Please note that activity times and schedules can be slightly amended depending on your cruise ships timetable.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 50 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Leisure Tours
You can cancel up to 7 days in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 7 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Any changes made less than 6 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • For a 50% refund, you must cancel 3–6 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.

Learn more about cancellations.


23 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews
A terrific tour of Christchurch and environs.
, Dec 2020
Absolutely the best tour we had in New Zealand. Our guide was friendly and very knowledgeable. We were taken places the large buses would miss;. All in all a terrific excursion. Well worth it!
icon Response from Host , Dec 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. Pleased to learn you had a great day and enjoyed your excursion. I do hope you get the opportunity to visit us again in the not too distant future.
Kinda Disappointed - Not to our expectations
, Mar 2020
Very long ride to and from. We did not think there was much to see in Christchurch. The Wildlife Reserve was not up to our expectations - did get to see 1 Kiwi Bird - very dark and hard to see.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. We appreciate your feedback and acknowledge that all reviews are subjective. I am sorry that the excursion did not meet your expectations which is surprising given all of the other great reviews for this excursion.
Nice ride, nice refuge, too shallow.
, Feb 2020
The drive was very informative and good, but the tour of the refuge, even by the staff manager was disappointing.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. It is great to hear that you enjoyed the tour and the commentary into and through Christchurch City. It would appear that you liked the wildlife reserve but were disappointed with the guided tour of the reserve , for this I apologise and have past your comments onto the reserve.
Banks Peninsula and Christchurch tour
, Feb 2020
My husband and I enjoyed this excursion. Rob, our tour director, was very informative and we learned lots about the surrounding area and Christchurch. Although a 90 minute drive from Akaroa, it was worth it. The scenery along the way was lovely. The city tour was interesting, the botanical gardens were nice and the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve was not to be missed. We now have a better understanding of New Zealand's unique geography and biodiversity.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Thanks for the awesome review! I'm really pleased that you a lovely time on your shore excursion, and it's great that you now have a better understanding and appreciation of our unique geography and biodiversity thanks to this tour. I'm also happy that your driver/guide did a great job in informing you about this part of New Zealand. I'll be sure to pass your kind words on to Rob when I next speak to him. Thanks again and I hope you return to New Zealand someday soon!
A great zoo experience Time crunch otherwise
Charles M
, Dec 2018
Beautiful trip from ship port Akaroa to Christchurch But consumes a lot of the time of the tour. The Willowbank zoo was excellent and the guide, Matt, was phenomenally informative about NZ wildlife. But just too short a time for other features, the museum and garden.
Christchurch was some what...
Terry S
, Feb 2018
Christchurch was some what disappointing because on the ongoing earthquake repairs. Willow bank was informative and fun. Actually saw a Kiwi bird eating in the dark.
We enjoyed our trek to Christchurch...
, Jan 2018
We enjoyed our trek to Christchurch, it was a bit of a drive but our driver kept talking about the area and entertaining us the whole way. Willow bank would have been interesting but our tour guide there did our hour long tour in about 20 minutes....The countryside was beautiful, and it was interesting to see how Christchurch has recouperated after the earthquake, it seems to be a vibrant city....would have liked a little more time there. Akaroa was stunning in the sunshine.
It was fantastic. The only draw back...
Ying Jen C
, Dec 2017
It was fantastic. The only draw back was that the Kiwi Bird could not really be seen in the total darkness, even under flushlight from the guide.
willowbank wildlife reserve...
bruce b
, Nov 2017
willowbank wildlife reserve get to see the kiwi in a nocturnal setting. first hand look at the rebuilding process in Christchurch atfer the earthquake
This tour was a mixed bag. The...
, Jan 2017
This tour was a mixed bag. The countryside on the drive from Akaroa to and from Christchurch was beautiful. Seeing the devastation caused by the 2011 earthquake was both sad and fascinating and at Willowbank we actually got to see a live Kiwi. Unfortunately, the tour operator left a lot to be desired. When we started out, our driver/tour guide did not know what the tour was supposed to include. We had to educate him by reading him a printout of the tour. Then our bus broke down on the return trip to Akaroa. The driver ultimately got the bus going again but we weren't sure that we'd get back before the ship sailed without us. We were all very nervous about missing our ship for half of the return trip and only got back to the ship 1 minute before the all aboard deadline.

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Akaroa Shore Excursion: Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City Tour and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
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