Rent A Car In Christchurch – Explore The Banks Peninsula

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Read about 'Rent A Car In Christchurch – Explore The Banks Peninsula' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

The excellent thing about travelling in New Zealand is how many different locations there are to explore within easy reach of the main centres. Just outside Christchurch you will find the beautiful Banks Peninsula, an outcrop of land that is home to a selection of picturesque little bays, each with their own unique little settlements and charming character. An entire holiday could be devoted to sampling them all, or you could rent a car from Christchurch and narrow it down to one or two favourites for a fantastic day trip.  See below for Banks Peninsula highlights.



The largest and most famous of the Banks Peninsula Bays is known as Akaroa, only a 90 minute scenic drive from Christchurch. The township of Akaroa is the home of New Zealand’s only former French settlement. Set in a pretty sheltered harbour, the Akaroa of today is a popular coastal village with a very French feel and beautiful colonial architecture, making it a popular destination for romantic getaways and family daytrips.

Akaroa is approximately 85km from central Christchurch, with the main route along State Highway 75. The route passes through some spectacular Canterbury scenery; sheep and cattle graze the lush hills and the sparkling waters of Lake Ellesmere provide a stunning backdrop to this enjoyable drive.  Along the way stop at Little River and visit the Art Gallery and Cafe, with its pretty courtyard and homemade treats. The road to Akaroa rises steeply twisting its way over rugged hills, and can be challenging at times, so keep well left, maintain a low gear and take your time.  

Akaroa Viewed From Hilltop

Upon arrival at Akaroa enjoy a wide array of waterside restaurants and cafes, as well as galleries and gift shops, plus lots of water-based activities and nature walks for those seeking to connect with the great outdoors. Departing regularly from the local wharf, dolphin watching and fishing trips are very popular with tourists. Sea kayaking or paddle-boating is a fun way to get out on the harbour and enjoy a beautiful sunny day. There are also a number of vineyards in the area within easy reach in your rental car.

With so much to keep you occupied, an overnight stay is highly recommended. There are plenty of accommodation options, from backpackers and bed & breakfast’s to home stays, holiday homes, and hotels, and even romantic retreats. If you’re looking for something a bit different, the rustic retreat Tree Crop Farm is a unique experience, offering a series of intimate cabins set among beautiful gardens, featuring cosy fires, outdoor baths, candles and big brass beds. Some units have electricity and bathrooms and others are completely off the grid.

Le Bons Bay And Okains Bay

From Akaroa you can drive up to the Summit Road, from which all the smaller bays are accessed. Le Bons Bay is a small, private village with a pretty beach and lots of sleepy batches, whereas Okains Bay contains a family camping ground and more adventurous activities. Most of the Banks Peninsula Bays will have limited, or no shops, so grab some supplies from the Four Square in Akaroa to keep you fed and watered throughout the day.

Diamond Harbour

On the way back stop off at Diamond Harbour, a pretty harbour side settlement which makes an ideal location for a picnic or BBQ and a swim in the bay. Time it right and you can catch the water ferry across the harbour to Lyttelton, for a bit of an adventure.

Governors Bay

Following along the harbour side discover great family friendly swimming spots and easy walks. At the head of the harbour is Governors Bay, initially settled in 1845, the Bay holds a special place in the history of the Christchurch region. Further along Governors Bay Road you will encounter Rapaki Bay, Cass Bay and Corsair Bay, excellent places to stop for lunch or a paddle in the water.

Akaroa Harbour


Finally, stop off in the quaint port town of Lyttelton, a friendly community with funky cafes and an excellent Farmers Market that takes place on Saturday mornings. When you depart Lyttelton you can drive your rental car back to central Christchurch through the 2km long Lyttelton Tunnel which burrows its way through the Port Hills.

Need Transport? – Hire A Car In Christchurch

Save money and organise your own Christchurch to Akaroa transport with a rental car from USAVE Christchurch. We have a large selection of rental cars, vans and minibuses for all your Christchurch travel needs and to suit every budget. Grab a great deal on one of our hire cars, pick it up from our handy Christchurch depot, and hit the road today!