The surrounding areas are fantastic to explore with a rental car.
Explore Christchurch Itself
Before you head off and discover the South Island, spend some time in Christchurch. Start off at the Canterbury Museum, then head to Hagley Park where you will find the wondrous botanic gardens and a golf course should you fancy a round or two.
Christchurch was hit by two large earthquakes in 2011, causing lasting devastation including the destruction of the cathedral. An art gallery has sprung up in replacement of the buildings that once habited this area and this is well worth the trip.
Visit Orana Wildlife Park. This is described as an open zoo where you can get up close and personal with the animals. Try everything from feeding a giraffe to a lemur.
Explore New Zealand's South Island
Journey by car to gorgeous Akaroa, a small village with plenty going for it on the Banks Peninsula. There are a number of trips which allow you to swim with dolphins in the sea and plenty of great little restaurants.
Another must-do trip is to Queenstown which is around 5 hours south. Stay for a few days so you can make the most of all it has to offer. The beautiful mountains and lake is the perfect backdrop for a myriad of adrenaline inducing activities from bungee jumping to sky diving!
Visit the local suburb of Lyttleton, a port over the hill of the city. Not only is it quaint, it also hosts a lovely farmers market with a range of fresh and tasty produce. Christchurch casino provides great evening entertainment too.
Travel to Arthur’s Pass where you will find plenty of suitable trails to amble along. Choose from relatively short, less challenging hikes, to ones that will last you the whole day! There are also opportunities for mountaineering and rock climbing, so whatever activity you crave, you should be able to fulfil it here.