Christchurch is located along the East Coast, South Island, near the Pegasus Bay – with the Avon River meandering through the city centre. Christchurch is known for its many beautiful parks, botanical gardens, street art and rich English Heritage. So, let’s have a look at the things to do in Christchurch.
Explore the ever-changing beauty of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Nestled in the heart of the City – approx. 2km from Riccarton, with the Avon River flowing right by, the Botanic Gardens is one of the biggest Christchurch attractions here. This colourful garden space proudly displays an impressive collection of flora from around the world. Including numerous exotic and native plants from all around New Zealand. Visit the Cuningham House and get lost in verdant beauty. A must-add to your list of things to do in Christchurch.
Travel back in time at the Canterbury Museum
This eclectic museum is situated next to the famous Botanic Gardens. It’s the ideal place to walk through the rich history of Christchurch and explore its immersive culture – including rare Maori Artefacts. There are some fascinating museum exhibits, even interesting activities for kids that even adults can enjoy (no judgement). From priced antiques from the ‘old’ New Zealand to natural exhibits, this museum is a must-add to your list of things to do in Christchurch.
Feed Kiwi’s at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
Located more towards the north part of Christchurch city, this wildlife reserve is where you head to see the fuzzy adorable Kiwi in its natural habitat. Get up and close with lovely native icons like the Kea and Tuatara, even stand the chance of feeding these adorable fellows straight out of your palm. Once you are done visiting the animals, you can even stay back for a fascinating Maori Performance.
Immerse in 360 degree views at the Christchurch Gondola
This Gondola ride is one of the top attraction spots in the South Island, located 20-minutes from Christchurch. Many tend to take the city bus to the location. Experience a one-of-a-kind ride to the top of Port Hill in the Gondola. Enjoy 360-degree views of the city, the stunning mountain landscapes and the Lyttelton Harbour. It will leave you feeling absolutely mesmerized. An unforgettable experience that must be added to your list of things to do in Christchurch.
Enjoy a Snow and Ice experience at the International Antarctic Centre
Located about 20-minutes from Christchurch, go tour this exciting Winter Wonderland. If you are not someone who is usually thrilled to be in the cold, suit up. Keep yourself warm because this is an experience you really should try out. Walk on to ‘The Ice’ from Scott Base, experience an Antarctic Storm, go on an exciting Hagglund Ride, do a simulated 4D Antarctic cruise. The list goes on and it’s excitement after excitement. Perfect family day trip.
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Shake up your knowledge on Earthquakes at the Quake City
The Quake City – located in the heart of the city – approx. 3 km from Westfield Riccarton, it’s one of the most famous tourist attractions. Immerse in stories of heroism and the fascinating earthly phenomena of the earthquakes in the Canterbury region. Special displays will explain the trigger causes and of the Christchurch earthquake, and how it affected the area. It’s not your typical exhibition, and that’s part of the allure. Tour and come out an expert on earthquakes!
Experience tranquillity at the Hagley Park
You will find the verdant park space located in the heart of Christchurch city, along Riccarton Avenue, next to the lovely Avon River. Explore the aged beauty of this charming park, which is oddly tranquil despite being set in the city centre. Enjoy a relaxed stroll, immerse in the diverse floral plant galore, avenues of trees that are well maintained. Unsurprisingly it’s a popular place for a lovely picnic too.
Visit the Margaret Mahy Family Playground
If you’re looking for a place to let your kids loose during vacation, this is the playground to visit. It’s located just a minute’s drive, near the Christchurch Tram. From swings to flying Foxes, it can be a bit crowded. If you or the kids get snack-ish, there are plenty of food joints to keep your happy moods in check. A playground worth visiting if you have kids.
Tour the Inner City on the Christchurch Tram
If you want to tour the inner city of Christchurch in Style, using the Tram system is the best way to do it. Purchase your tram tickets from the tramway station located at the heart of the city on the Cathedral Junction. Get on board these well-restored heritage trams and tour the city and its heritage building spots in leisure. The tram drivers are knowledgeable and quite enthusiastic in sharing what they know. A perfect family activity for all.
Sail out to the Quail Island
This inhabited island is situated quite close to Lyttelton, approx.40-minutes from Christchurch city. You need to make your way from Lyttelton Port on a ferry, land on a calm beach – shallow enough for a dip if you fancy that, then explore the lovely nature trails, visit some shipwrecks, enjoy the scenic harbour views from the distance. Quail Island is a beautiful little nature getaway for any traveller.
Feed the majestic Giraffe’s at the Orana Wildlife Park
If you love viewing the most incredible wildlife in a healthy expansive space, then Orana Wildlife Park is where you are headed. Situated approx.30-minutes from the city, this open range zoo offers visitors experiences that will make their visit more magical. Visit New Zealand’s only Gorilla’s, tour the wildlife park to see many other exotic and native species and more. Definitely worth a visit.
Explore the Christchurch Art Gallery (Te Puna o Waiwhetu)
Immerse yourself in progressive creativity, witness the innovative wonders born from many talents that use this eclectic art gallery as a platform to showcase their artistic brilliance. The displays present incredible Traditional Maori Work, to more modern and contemporary pieces, there’s a fascinatingly diverse collection to enjoy. It’s located in central Christchurch. The entrance is free too!
Catch the gentle waves at New Brighton Beach
If you want to have a little beach break, the New Brighton Beach awaits. It’s located approx. 20-minutes or less from the city. This chilled beach is famous for sea kayaking and surfing. Explore the lovely beach shore as you absorb the hills in the distance along the coast. Walk on the pier, and have something warm in the cosy beach cafes you will find along the coast.
Camp a night at the stunning Banks Peninsula
This one’s a bit out of the city, approx. one and half hours away, closer to Akaroa. It’s going to enchant any nature lover with its beauty. Stunning bays and lovely campgrounds. Little River is the gateway to this destination. If camping isn’t your thing, there are comfy accommodation spots available. Be surrounded by beautiful green hills as you explore the Penninsula walking trails, visit some incredible southern beaches from here too.
Visit the stunning Akaroa lighthouse
This stunning lighthouse in Akaroa is located approx. 2 hours from Christchurch city. This small timber lighthouse is a short walk from the town of Akaroa. Gaze out at the sea and enjoy the stunning coastal views of the South Island. Quaint and it’s absolutely ideal for anyone with a camera who is looking to capture some incredible photographs. If you have the time, the Akaroa Lighthouse is worth a visit.
Indulge in the water wonderland at the Hanmer Springs
The idea of sliding down epic water slides, diving into different thermal pools creates excitement no matter the age. So you should head to Hanmer Springs. Located next to the Hanmer Forest Park, approx. 2 hours from Christchurch City. It’s the perfect getaway destination for the family, and it’s going to be a very wet experience. Definitely worth including in your list of things to do in Christchurch.
Go whale watching at the Akaroa Harbour
Travel to the Akaroa Harbour, approx. one and half hours away from the City. This is the ideal place for you to embark on a sea adventure. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind guided tour to spot dolphins in the waters and enjoy whale watching. Some tour cruises offer complimentary drinks and treat to keep you entertained as they take you on an unforgettable cruise.