Christchurch, a vibrant city of street art, parks, rivers, good food and culture. Being the largest city on the South Island, it’s a good place to start or end your trip to New Zealand. However, don’t make the mistake of overlooking this constantly evolving city of regeneration. There is so much to explore in Christchurch and is only a short trip to some other major tourist attractions. Here are a few ways you could spend your day exploring this glorious city.
Christchurch Street Art
After Christchurch was hit with a deadly earthquake in 2011, street artists took to the damaged streets to spread joy and hope with colourful displays of art. Today, Christchurch has a reputation of being one of the best cities for street art in the world. Get your hands on an art trails map and hit the streets to marvel at the work of extremely talented artists.
Spot the street art around town.
Board the Christchurch Tram for a tour of the city and learn more about Christchurch’s heritage and culture. Drivers will share their knowledge and point out various landmarks and sights along the way. This is the perfect way to get around the city as you can hop on and hop off as you please. The tour kicks off in New Regent Street stopping at 17 stops including some major tourist attractions including The Art Gallery, Cathedral Junction, Avon River, Canterbury Museum, and the Arts Centre.
Christchurch Art Gallery
Visit the Christchurch Art Gallery to witness a collection of art that tells a story of the history of Christchurch, its culture, memories, and ideas. Even the building itself is a work of art with its spectacular flowing glass and metal façade inspired by the River Avon. You could easily spend a day here wandering around admiring the amazing talent on display.
Adrenalin Forest Christchurch
For a day packed full of adventure and pure adrenalin, head out to Adrenalin Forest Christchurch. This aerial obstacle course stretches through the trees for more than two kilometres and is 20 metres off the ground. It will have your heart racing as you challenge yourself with a series of 100 activities. It’s completely safe and fun for the whole family. Challenge yourself and see how far you can go.
Arthur’s Pass National Park
Two hours northwest from Christchurch is the magnificent Arthur’s Pass, the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps. Jump in the car or ride onboard the TranzAlpine Train for a scenic drive to Arthur’s Pass. The national park is made up of two very different landscapes. On the eastern side, you’ll see wide riverbeds and rows of beech forest. On the western side, you’ll see dense rainforest and deeply gorged rivers. Once you have arrived at Arthur’s Pass there are many things to see and explore. There are many hiking trails to waterfalls, past massive limestone boulders, through caves, and to lookouts. If you’re travelling during winter, you can hit the ski slopes for an epic day of downhill action. Visit Arthur’s Pass Village and Visitor Centre for more information on things to do in the area.
Orana Wildlife Park
Here’s one for all you animal lovers, just 15 minutes from Christchurch Airport is Orana Wildlife Park. Set in 80 hectares, this wildlife park is home to a range of animals from Africa, Australia, Asia, New Zealand, and South America including lions, giraffes, rhinos, gorillas, meerkats, buffalo, tigers, gibbons, and more. There are many experiences to get up close and personal with the animals including hand-feeding a giraffe, meeting a rhino, lion encounters, and more.
Punting on the Avon River
To explore the city by boat, join Christchurch’s iconic attraction, Punting on the Avon River. Punting tours are on handcrafted flat-bottomed boats with a Punter dressed in traditional Edwardian attire slowly propelling you along the water. Depart from Antigua Boat Shed and pass by weeping willows, woodlands, and the banks of Hagley Park alongside the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. To explore Christchurch’s central city, depart from Worcester Street Bridge. These eco-friendly tours take around 30 minutes, so you have plenty of time to squeeze in other activities or do nothing at all.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to see a beautiful display of plants and flowers that change as the seasons do. Spreading over 21 hectares, you will see a large collection of exotic and local flora and fauna. In spring, some of the flowers on display are magnolias, roses, bearded irises, azaleas, and blossoms. In summer enjoy roses, dahlias, hydrangeas, and begonias. In Autumn enjoy the warm colours of the Autumn leaf display as well as hydrangeas, roses, begonias, and cyclamen. In winter you with find a range of orchids, cyclamen, and magnolias. In true Christchurch form, there is art on display around the gardens. You will also find a café, playground, and paddling pool that the kids will absolutely love. It’s the perfect place to spend a few hours wandering around and playing amongst nature.
From the stunning flowers in Spring to the colourful foliage in Autumn.
In 2011, Christchurch was tragically struck by a deadly earthquake shattering the lives of many. A visit to Quake City will give you a better understanding of the science behind the earthquake how it affected those that lived through it. It’s packed with interesting displays and interactives suitable for all ages. See how this earthquake shaped this resilient city during a time of great loss, but also hope, courage and love.
For a bird’s eye view over the city of Christchurch, Lyttleton Harbour and beyond, take a trip in the Christchurch Gondola for a unique experience exploring the city from up above. Enjoy 360-degree views of the snow-capped Southern Alps, Canterbury Plains and sparkling waters of Pegasus Bay and the Pacific Ocean. From the summit station, take a walk on one of the many walking tracks or learn more about Christchurch’s history on the Christchurch Discovery ride. Each Gondola fits four people so you can share an exclusive experience with your loved ones.
Where to Stay
Tasman Holiday Parks – Christchurch is only 15 minutes from Christchurch’s CBD and airport. The kids will love the pool, water slide, jumping pillow, and playground and the adults will love its proximity to local cafes, shops, markets, and stunning natural surrounds. Accommodation options range from standard studios that sleep two to a four-bedroom house that sleeps 11. There are also powered and unpowered sites for camping or parking your caravan. It’s the perfect place to rest your head when visiting Christchurch, so don’t delay and book today.