Spend time exploring the bays of Banks Peninsula. En route to Akaroa lies Little River, a must stop for delicious food, coffee and spending a few dollars at the art gallery and gift store. From Little River it's a short drive up to the Summit Road, with amazing photo opportunities and panoramic vistas of the harbour. The road follows the crater rim of an ancient volcano and the views from the top will not disappoint.
Nestled in the hills above Akaroa is the Hinewai Reserve, where you can enjoy a walk within the regenerating native forest. Driving back to the summit there's an option to head down to the beautiful sandy beach of Okains Bay or maybe spend some time exploring the Okains Bay Museum.
Instead of driving back to Christchurch via state highway 75, there's a turn-off to Gebbies Pass that connects Gebbies Valley with Lyttelton Harbour. Governor’s Bay is on the way, a cute little town famous for the Ohinetahi Garden and for She Chocolate, a café that specialises in everything chocolate. Keep following the road heading to Lyttelton, the port of Christchurch. Lyttelton is the oldest settlement on Banks Peninsula and the town is rich in history, quirky cafes, bars and restaurants.
From Lyttelton harbour there are ferries leaving to Diamond Harbour or Quail Island. Both are excellent starting points for walks or kayak excursions.
- The jetty in Rapaki Bay is a great photo stop, especially on a moody day.
- The ship wreck on Quail Island makes for an interesting photo.
- The big rock in Orton Bradley Park is not only great for climbing, it also offers a great view over the bays.
- Enjoy the view from the highest point on Banks Peninsula, Mt Herbert.
- There are lots of good walks on Banks Peninsula like the Coastal Path from Church Bay to Purau (3 hours return).
- Try to find the toilets in the Wunderbar in Lyttelton.
- Le Bons Bay is a nice safe spot for swimming. For those keen on sailing, Pigeon Bay is worth a visit.
- Rent a kayak and paddle over to Quail Island.
- Visit the historic St Luke's Church in Little Akaloa.
- A special Saturday morning treat: Glamour Cake at Lyttelton Bakery. The cakes and donuts are irresistible, be in quick though they sell out fast!
- There are daily buses running from Christchurch to Banks Peninsula: Akaroa Shuttle, Akaroa French Connection.
- The bus to Governors Bay is a privately run shuttle that has to be booked in advanced: GovBus.
- Red Bus runs daily services to Rapaki (Service 535) and Lyttelton (Service 28), and the Diamond Harbour Ferry.
- Black Cat Cruises offer regular ferry transport to Quail Island.