Christchurch is a great hub for travelling around Canterbury, New Zealand. Whether you’re looking to do day trips or spending some time in the city, it’s all within a relatively close distance.
We spent three nights in Christchurch and took a couple of day trips out of the city to explore the surrounding areas. On one of the days, we went to Akaroa, via a scenic drive around the penninsula. The following day, we saw incredible panoramic views of Canterbury from a hot air balloon!
Check out the vlog of our days around Christchurch and Akaroa and then read on for more photos and details.
Akaroa is a French and British settlement, just south of Christchurch about an hours drive away. It’s a cute little town with some great French influnced cafes, famous for their pastries and pies. There are also plenty of boutique shops in Arts and Crafts and regular cruises out to sea.
Hot Air Balloon with Ballooning Canterbury
If there was one thing we were looking forward to doing in New Zealand, it was going on a hot air balloon. It’s one of the most weather dependent activities you could ever book, so I would suggest you have some flexibility around the dates of your intended trip. We were lucky enough to have good weather to fly on our booked day, after 11 days of continuous rain.
With an early start at around 4:30am, we drove 45 minutes from the city to Ballooning Canterbury. Once everything was set up, we were ready to fly in time for a perfect sunrise at around 7am.
There’s something really peaceful about watching the world wake up
An hour and a half up in the air with a panoramic view of the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps, was something unforgettable.
Sunrise is primetime to get snap happy! 📷 It was great to see the sun shining on the tops of the mountains.
Business owner and lead pilot, Michael, is a former world ballooning champion and had incredible control during our flight. Obviously a balloon can only follow the direction of the wind. But by controlling the altitude of the balloon to different wind currents, Michael was able to steer us exactly wherever he wanted with pin-point accuracy!
Throughout the whole flight he graciously explained everything he was up to and took a real interest in making sure he got to know everyone onboard personally.
We actually had to land twice, as the first time we ended up in a field of crops that had been treated with a pesticide that would damage the balloon. It was quite funny how easily we were able to get back up in the air again and land on the other side of the field.
Once our feet were back on the ground, we ended the morning with a traditional glass of Champagne and delicious muffins!
Joe also made a cinematic short film of our hot air balloon experience, which you can see below.
We’d like to say a massive thanks to Ballooning Canterbury for hosting us for the morning and Eco Villa for our accommodation in Christchurch. Check out our other post, with more details on where we stayed and our views on the street art within the city.
Follow our 6 week New Zealand road trip itinerary—including accommodation and activities across the North and South Islands—starting with a flight from Brisbane to Auckland with Air New Zealand.
This post is just a small chapter of our extended road trip throughout the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Make sure to check out our whole trip and detailed itinerary within the main post!
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