The South Island of New Zealand is the perfect place for a holiday using a rental car and Christchurch is the ideal place to start. Its one of New Zealands largest cities and international flights land in Christchurch each day. A car hire from the Christchurch airport is the ideal way to see what the South Island has to offer heading south, north or west. However, before you leave Christchurch there are five things you should do first.
1. Beside the airport you will find the International Antarctic Centre, one of New Zealands widely acclaimed visitor attractions. Christchurch calls itself the “aerial gateway” to Antarctica, since most people travelling to the southern continent leave from Christchurch. However, you dont have to travel all the way to Antarctica to get a slice of Antarctic life. You can simply spend a few hours at the International Antarctic Centre and experience the flavour of the continent for yourself. After picking up your car hire in Christchurch, make sure you stop off at the centre and enjoy some of the highlights including a hair raising ride in an all terrain hagglund vehicle, the polar room with real snow and ice and a penguin encounter.
2. Once youve had enough of the snow and used your car hire to travel into Christchurch city, you can experience what it would be like to travel back in time by going punting on the beautiful Avon River. Going via an English style punt is a fabulous way to enjoy this picturesque river and to see the city from a different angle. Youll float past the Botanic Gardens and you can even take a picnic along to enjoy while you relax on the river. You can also travel down the river by hired kayak, paddle boat, row boat or Canadian canoe.
3. Get another perspective entirely by taking a wonderful hot air balloon flight over the Canterbury Plains. Its a unique experience where you can see the sun rising over the ocean on one side of the balloon and the glorious snow capped mountains rising on the other side.
4. Take your car hire over to Banks Peninsula and visit the stunning little piece of France that is Akaroa. You will adore the drive through Banks Peninsula and arriving at the charming little town of Akaroa will take your breath away. Theres plenty to do at Akaroa, from enjoying the scenery, indulging in some boutique shopping, hiking, water sports, cruising and even swimming with dolphins.
5. Another must see attraction before you leave Christchurch in your car hire to travel around the South Island is a stop off at Orana Wildlife Park which is only 10 minutes drive from the airport. The park is New Zealands only open range zoo and offers a variety of daily animal encounters. Instead of fences, the animals are kept in areas bordered by streams, moats and banks.