10 best top Christchurch attractions
The top things to do in Christchurch combine natural beauty, top-notch attractions and lots of art and culture,,,,,
Before we dive into the top things to do in Christchurch, here's a short history lesson. Christchurch was once well known for its gardens, green parks and a meandering easy pace, but in February 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake destroyed over half the buildings in the city and took the lives of nearly 200 people. Since then, a steely resilience, resourcefulness and creativity has emerged with those staying in Christchurch. The rebuild is amazing – and there’s a palpable feeling of excitement and adventure as new pockets of creativity continue to pop up everywhere.
1. Top Christchurch attractions - Botanical Gardens
What is it? From being one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants in New Zealand, the Botanic Gardens is a charming place for a stroll.
Why go? With plenty of interesting attractions including The Peacock Fountain which dates back to the early 1900s and if you sneak around the back of the original Curator’s House ( now a restaurant ) you’ll see beehives and a wonderful edible garden. The memorial by the river is an emotional experience; it’s heart-wrenching to see all 185 names of the deceased etched on the beautiful marble wall but it’s incredibly important for understanding and respecting how much this city lost during the earthquake.
2. Day trip to Akaroa
What is it? A small harbourside French historic settlement an hour’s drive from Christchurch. Cruises to see penguins, seals and very rare Hector’s dolphins are a major drawcard.
Why go? Akaroa’s serene water views incite instant calm. Sealife-centred boat rides are very popular but there’s also a sensational cooking school, a seriously impressive mosaic garden, the much-loved dairy Barry’s Bay Cheese and a couple of wonderful places to fill your face, including Rona’s and Ma Maison.
3. Christchurch Gondola
What is it? An 862-metre cable car ride up the side of Mt Cavendish, which provides spectacular views across Canterbury. There’s also a time tunnel ride at the top which provides a history of the area in an immersive format.
Why go? On a beautiful day there’s no better place to get a 360-degree view of the area. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the city, the plains, the Alps, Lake Ellesmere and the Pacific Ocean in the distance. For keen walkers, the Bridle Path Walk starts at the foot of the gondola.
4. New Brighton Beach
What is it? From Waimairi to Southshore, the New Brighton beaches offer sweeping views of Pegasus Bay, coastal dune and estuary landscapes and a variety of recreation opportunities.
Why go? New Brighton Beach is a large sandy beach with views over the Liverpool skyline. At low tide, the sand does turn into mud so care should be taken. The beach is a popular destination for families and day-trippers. New Brighton beach is dog-friendly all-year-round.
5. City Centre Tram ride
what is is? The Christchurch Trams offer a unique experience combining history and sightseeing. Explore Christchurch’s evolving city centre by tramcar:
why go? The all-day hop-on hop-off tickets allow you to visit the best of the central city sights at your leisure, and the friendly and knowledgeable drivers will keep you updated about the latest city changes ( along with mentions of the past ) in their informative live commentaries.
6. Day trip to Hanmer Springs
what is is? – The absolute go to for outdoor enthusiasts. From adrenaline junkies to a family relaxing day out, Hamner Springs has been voted one of the South Islands best weekends away. So why not join us as we travel through stunning views of rolling hills and beautiful panoramas of the Waipara Region towards Hamner Springs.
why go? Hamner Springs is more than a Thermal Pool and spa destination, there are so many activities that can be added onto this day out! Have a look at what we have to offer. Surrounded by magnificent mountains and forests, you will find that Hanmer Spring’s main street is filled with boutique shops, local cafes, and eateries. Depending what season, you decide to visit, you will either be greeted with a wonderland of snow covered Alpine Lodges or trees bursting with cooper colouring in Autumn.
7. Antarctica Centre
what is is? The International Antarctic Centre transports a slice of this astounding continent to Christchurch, with a range of immersive experiences that allow everyday visitors to see, touch, feel and fall in love with Antarctica.
why go? mingle with the penguins, experience Antarctica from all four dimensions and leave with a head full of knowledge, a heart full of love and an inspiration to take action. Just like the explorers before you. See it. Love it. Save it.
8. Lyttelton Harbour
what is is? Lyttelton is a port town with a long history. Christchurch’s first European settlers landed here in 1850 before trekking over the Port Hills to establish their new home.Today Lyttelton is accessed by an impressive road tunnel. It's a colourful town, home to a community of nearly 3,000, brimming with bohemian artists, cafés, quirky shops and restaurants.
why go? Not only does the town offer fantastic eateries and boutique shopping, but there are plenty of active adventures to be had, from hiking in the Port Hills to exploring the intriguing Quail Island. Find out what you could be getting up to with this list of things to do in Lyttelton!
9. Riverside Market
what is is? An exciting new development consisting of a 7-day-trading, indoor market, linked to a vibrant network of boutique retail, restaurants, cafes & bars - Riverside is a unique inner-city shopping experience for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
why go? Set in the Riverside Cantina, live music nights are intimate and atmospheric with access to the Riverside Cantina's extensive drink selection. You can also pre-order a platter of artisan cheese, salami and condiments from Charing Cross Cheesery and many more!
10 Wine & Beer Tour-Day Trip
what is is? North of Christchurch lies one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions, and wine will be the reason you stay awhile. Waipara a picturesque valley and township is only 55mins away from Christchurch. This wine region is part of the larger North Canterbury wine region that spans nearly 200km of the South Island’s eastern coastline, with the majestic Alps to the west and the great Pacific Ocean to the east. Waipara has a cool, dry climate with good sunshine and long growing season that promotes full expression; and their wines are renowned for their intense flavours, and richness.
why go? grab friends and hop on and be driven in comfort in our modern comfortable minibuses packed with extras, just to make your journey that bit easier. Led by our fun and knowledgeable and passionate tour guides, this journey will come to life in a new way for you. We know all this adventuring will make you hungry – so don’t worry, snacks and lunch are fully included.