Heading to Christchurch for a weekend away, visiting a friend or family, or as part of your travels through New Zealand? Don’t know what to do during your time in the city?
We might be able to help! We’ve put together a short list of great things to do in and around Christchurch. There will definitely be something that interests you.
Christchurch City Centre
Check out the city centre
A decade after the earthquakes, Christchurch has really come together. Though it’s humbling to walk the streets in the centre city and see a few remnants of crumbling buildings, there’s much to enjoy amongst the reminders.
Christchurch Street Art
The Botanic Gardens
Take a stroll through Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens, open 7.30am to 6.30pm. Immerse yourself in 30 hectares of sculptures, flowers and native trees hidden in the middle of town.
While you’re there, be sure to take in the rare philodendrons and other indoor plants at Cunningham house between 10:15am and 4pm. If you’re keen to learn more about the gardens, take one of their walking or shuttle tours through this splendid area.
Punting on the Avon River
Head to the magnificent Christchurch Art Gallery and marvel at the works of Kiwi and international artists. Complete with free-entry, a cafe and gift shop, there are few better places to spend a rainy afternoon. If you want more, hop across the street to the Arts Centre: a collection of heritage buildings with beautiful stained glass windows, art space, retailers and a cafe.
If you love museums and/or want to learn more about the history of the area, check out the Canterbury Museum. Aiming to provide visitors with a world class museum, this admission free venue (donations appreciated) might just excite your day. With ever-changing exhibitions, check out their website to see what’s on offer before visiting. Or just pop by and be surprised – your call. The Canterbury Museum is open every day till 5.00pm (5.30pm in summer).
Greater Christchurch area
He Puna Taimoana
Hot Pools by the Sea
Warm up after a beach walk with a seaside soak at He Puna Taimoana in New Brighton! Starting at only $14 per adult, it’s hard to think of anything better - especially after a big day of exploring what Christchurch has to offer! Book in advance to secure a spot during the tranquil adult-only Friday evenings.
New Brighton Pier
New Brighton pier at night
Before heading to the hot pools, take a stroll along the beach and pier in New Brighton. Also great for a sundown walk to experience the great light installations along the pier. Once you’re there, check out the small beach town flair-like shops surrounding the beach and pier area. On a sunny day it might just feel like a summer vacation.
Go for a surf
Surf the longboard and beginner-friendly waves in Christchurch’s beachiest suburb, Sumner. Or, get some steeper rides by the pier in New Brighton. On a clear day in Sumner, you might see the Kaikoura Range from the surf, and if you’re lucky, a seal or porpoise may pay you a visit!
More in Sumner
Sumner is a cozy wee suburb with plenty to do. If surfing isn’t your cup of tea, walk the beach to Cave Rock, search for seals at White Wash Head, have a coffee at Niche, and be sure to visit the brilliant L’Estrange Art Gallery.
Visit Quail island
To pay a visit to Christchurch’s very own Ellis Island, board a ferry at Lyttelton Harbour. Canterbury’s largest Island was formerly used as a migrant quarantine station, as well as quarantine island during past influenza and leprosy outbreaks. You can easily explore the island in one day.
Go to a market
After the earthquake, pop-up markets started blossoming in Christchurch. Some of the great Farmer’s markets you should check out are the Christchurch Farmer’s Market as well as the Lyttelton Farmers market on Saturday mornings (try the Indonesian fried tempeh)!
Grab a coffee
Great coffee in Christchurch
Christchurch is overflowing with good coffee. Some of our favourite spots to find the best coffee in Christchurch are C1 Espresso, Child Sister, Tom’s, Francis Nation and Embassy Coffee. Further afield, Niche Coffee and Eatery in Sumner has made Sumner a coffee destination, and Lyttelton Coffee company in Lyttelton has done much the same for the wee harbour town.
Ride the gondola and take in panoramic views of the city, Lyttelton Harbour and the Southern Alps, and save your energy by skipping the climb to access heaps of walking tracks atop the Port Hills! With deals for families and children, this is a must-do when visiting Christchurch.
Take a hike
There is something for everyone. From easy one-hour walks, to moderate hikes to challenging tramping tracks, the region around Christchurch has it all.
Bridle Path gondola view
The historic first connection between Lyttelton Harbour to Mt Herbert and over Christchurch. This 3 km trek will take about 1.5- 2 hours and reward you with stunning summit views over Christchurch and Lyttelton. Encounter informative historic signposts, as well as the Pioneer Women’s Memorial, as you make your way up the steep path.
Bridle Path Summit views over Lyttleton Harbour
This hike follows the coastline from Taylor's Mistake Beach. It is a well surfaced track that takes about 3 hours for the round trip of 7km. Enjoy views of Lyttelton Harbour, the north face of Banks Peninsula and as an add-on, discover the World War ll military installation on Godley Head.
Remains of the WWII Installations
And many more…
If you want to check out another of the numerous hikes in the area, and trust us - there are a lot, visit our blog Day Walks Around Christchurch, Christchurch City Council or Christchurch NZ.