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Christchurch is one of the South Island’s cultural hubs, a trendy city where you’re only ever a few meters away from your next flat white. The city has recovered well from devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, with the regeneration leading to a host of exciting new buildings and attractions. Don’t miss sights such as the Botanic Gardens, the Christchurch Art Gallery, and the symbol of restoration, the ‘Cardboard Cathedral’.

One of Christchurch’s most appealing aspects is its location near some of the South Island’s spectacular landscapes. Rent a car through Orbitz to drive around the city before heading out into the wilderness.

Christchurch and beyond: Sights of the South Island

Christchurch is sandwiched between vineyard-covered valleys, spectacular coastline, and awe-inspiring mountains. Get behind the wheel of your rental car and drive out of Christchurch to experience all three landscapes.


The Banks Peninsula blooms out into the ocean just west of Christchurch. One of its most popular destinations is the old French settlement of Akaroa, sometimes known as ‘Little France’. The town faces a tranquil bay and offers beaches, wildlife sightings and colonial mansions from the 19th century. Join a boat ride to watch Hector’s dolphins, one of the rarest breeds, splashing in the water.

Journey time: Around 1 hour 20 minutes

Distance: Approximately 18 miles


The town of Waipara is your gateway to the valley of the same name, where you’ll find vineyards producing delectable vintages. The wine-growing region is particularly known for its Pinot Noirs and aromatic varietals. There are dozens of wineries to choose from, so scout out your new favorite wines by driving around the beautiful area.

Journey time: Around 50 minutes

Distance: Approximately 35 miles

Arthur’s Pass

This National Park is one of the most dramatic sections of the Southern Alps, and it’s just a short trip away in your rental car from Christchurch. Arthur’s Pass features numerous walks that you can complete in a day, so lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails to see sharp mountain peaks and deep gorges. Drive here in winter to ski down slopes at places such as Temple Basin and Porters.

Journey time: Around two hours

Distance: Approximately 90 miles