Christchurch Travel Guide

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A great base to explore the majestic South Island, Christchurch city has a breathtaking and inspiring heritage, a vibrant modern art scene, and easy access to thrilling outdoor adventures.

Christchurch, South Island

Surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes, Ōtautahi Christchurch is a meeting place of rich heritage, vibrant arts and exciting outdoor adventure. Explore the region on one of many bike trails, sit back on a river cruise or enjoy live music at one of the city’s dynamic theatres or galleries. You’ll also be treated to a thriving bar and restaurant scene, with innovative chefs and brewers ensuring the city’s well-earned reputation for flavour. You can even fine dine in a heritage tram as you tour the city sights. 

Nature and wildlife

Established around the winding Avon River, Christchurch enjoys built-in natural attractions and outdoor experiences. Relax on a river punt tour as you explore the meandering waterway, as you glide through the Botanic Gardens from the Antigua Boat Sheds. Famous for its blooms of seasonal colour, the Botanic Gardens contains trails through ten different themed gardens and lawns.   
For the ultimate outdoor adventure, visit Christchurch Adventure Park. Situated in the Port Hills, 20 minutes from town, this beautiful 358-hectare property features ziplines, walking and mountain biking trails and New Zealand’s longest chairlift. Christchurch is also a great base to explore the surrounding Canterbury region, home to spectacular coastlines and surf beaches, alpine bike tracks and 4WD trails.  

Local culture

Christchurch’s cultural heart is a lively mix of rich Māori culture, immersive museums and dynamic art galleries. There is also a thriving live performing arts scene that draws strongly on the region’s Polynesian and European past. The 150-year-old Canterbury Museum has incredible exhibits of Māori art, as well as one of the world’s biggest collections of historical artifacts. 

Find out more about the story of Christchurch in the heritage-listed Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora. Since the 2010 Christchurch earthquake the facilities have also been substantially enhanced and the impressive venue now hosts a huge variety of exhibitions, concerts, workshops and even cinemas. Art also hits the streets with open art walkways and installations, hosted by SCAPE Public Art. You’ll find more live arts action at the historic Court Theatre and Issac Theatre Royal.

Food and wine

Quirky back-street bars, award-winning restaurants and thriving breweries. You’ll find plenty of places to eat and drink in Christchurch. Take a tour through High Street and Victoria Street and you’ll find a number of pubs and restaurants, from burger bars to Vietnamese eateries. Experience some acclaimed fine dining onboard the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant, which serves seasonal dishes as you tour the city in a heritage dining carriage.   
Christchurch is no stranger to local beer, and you’ll get to sample some award-winning pick at establishments such as The Brewery and The Twisted Hop, only ten minutes from the city centre. The Darkroom Bar is also well worth a visit. Explore an explosion of flavours at the  ​​Christchurch Farmers’ Market and Riccarton Market. Lyttleton Farmers’ Market and Akaroa Markets are also very popular.

How do I get to Christchurch?

It’s easy to get to Christchurch. Christchurch International Airport connects the city with 11 international airports, and it's 20 minutes from the airport to the city centre. It’s a two day drive from Auckland, which includes the awe-inspiring ferry crossing through the Marlborough Sounds from Wellington in the North Island to Picton at the top of the South Island. If you’re coming from the south, the drive is six hours from Queenstown.

Top things to do in Christchurch

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