Christchurch City Guide
As the largest city on New Zealand's South Island, Christchurch offers everything from top-notch outdoor activities to fine wines. The Christchurch area is also a snow skiing haven. There are 18 different ski areas in the region!
If you want to skip the physical activities altogether – and just spend your time indulging yourself – Christchurch is the perfect place for that too.
To get your bearings, ride the Christchurch Gondola up the mountainside and take in sweeping views of Lyttelton Harbour, the Banks Peninsula and the
Southern Alps. Then wander along the Avon River as it winds its way through the city You'll see people basking on its banks or paddling in canoes and kayaks. Continue on through the Botanic Gardens , where the roses still bloom in autumn even as the leaves turn golden in the trees.
Another option to avoid breaking a sweat is to hop on the Christchurch Tramway. The Tramway was out of commission for awhile after the 2011 earthquake, but the city is committed to making it better than ever! On it, you can take the "Grand Tour" - which will take you to places like Cathedral Junction and The Brill at Cathedral Square.
There's even a dinner option, where you can enjoy a gourmet meal inside the Tramway while you see the sights!
If you want to see the city at a faster pace, rent a motorcycle. They're actually quite popular on both the North and South Islands. When you zoom around the Christchurch area, you'll get to see everything from rainforests to mountains. If you want a smooth ride, head out on State Highway 1 - New Zealand's longest road.
If you're looking for some "cool" fun, head to the Antarctic Centre - an award-winning site that's one of New Zealand's most popular attractions. Inside, you'll get a true taste of what Antarctica is like, thanks to 3D movies, exhibits, and a sound and light show. You'll even get to feed the penguins!
But if warm-weather sports are your thing, you can find plenty of them in Sumner - a seaside suburb of Christchurch that offers everything from rock climbing to bird watching. Luckily, plenty of Christchurch hotels have spread out into Sumner, too.
Christchurch is also known for its gourmet restaurants. No matter your palette, there is fine food in Christchurch for you to enjoy.
One of the favourites in town is Cook'n with Gas - an award-winning restaurant that specializes in modern New Zealand cuisine. And, the restaurant is housed in an 1800s villa, so it's a feast for the senses as soon as you walk in!
Pescatore, on the other hand, sits in a modern building. It offers a fixed-price menu that includes several courses and, if you want, gourmet pairings with local wines.
At Rotterhams of Riccarton, you can choose from a fixed-price meal or eat a la carte. You'll get a selection of New Zealand favourites and European delicacies.
If you're looking for a quick meal while you sightsee, there are plenty of fast food restaurants in Cathedral Square. There are a number of ethnic treats to choose from - all within walking distance.
High Street offers some great attractions and some great food. For the biggest selection, head to High to Hereford. There, you'll find the best Indian food in town, along with everything from Italian food to Asian food.
Another great place to eat is in the "Four Avenues" - or, where Colombo, Cashel, Manchester, and High Streets meet. You'll have your pick of great restaurants and bars there.
If you enjoy a fine wine, you will be happy to hear that Christchurch is New Zealand’s wine capital. There are dozens of wineries all within short driving distance of the city. While you are on the wine trail, you can also check out the region’s best cheeses and local farms.
If you're looking for some fun after dark, head to "The Strip" on Oxford Terrace. That's where all of Christchurch's trendy bars and clubs can be found. As you walk from place to place, you'll have a great view of the Avon River.
If you want an Irish experience, head to Micky Finn's Irish Pub in the Village - home to a bunch of draught beers and live entertainment.
If you're looking for a place to drink and dance, you'll find it at Coyote Street Bar and Restaurant on the Strip. Start your night with one of their great seafood dishes, then dance up a storm to their DJ's.
For a trendy night out with great music, head to Liquidity. It suffered some damage in the earthquake, but it's well on its way to being better than ever!
Over on Victoria Street, you'll find the Christchurch Casino. Inside, you'll have your choice of more than 30 tables and over 500 slot machines. There's also a great restaurant inside - along with TV's that show all of the popular sporting events.
If you want to pamper yourself, a trip to Hanmer Springs Village is an absolute must! Located about an hour and a half outside of Christchurch, Hanmer Springs Village is home to traditional spa treatments like massages, body wraps, and facials.
However, the Village is most famous for the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. Get in any of the outside ones, and you'll be surrounded by lush forests and mountain ranges. If you want plenty of privacy, opt for one of the private indoor pools. Either way, the thermal pools are filled with thermally-heated spring water that's never more than 42 degrees Celsius. The thermal pools here are one of the biggest attractions in all of New Zealand!
If you want to indulge your palette, the Village is home to a restaurant that serves lunch, dinner, and an assortment of wines. Best of all, it's right next to the pools, so you won't have to walk very far!
If you are looking for cheap Christchurch hotels, your best bet is to head to the northern portion of city centre where you can visit the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve renowned for its focus on native animals , local fauna and various Kiwi birds.
If you're a history buff, you're in luck: there is an assortment of hotels within walking distance to Cathedral Square.
If you want to be close to the Cathedral and the Tramway, head a few blocks east - near the intersection of Worcester Street and Tattersalls Lane.
If you want to be close to the Strip, look for hotels that are just west of Cathedral Square.
If you're idea of a fun vacation equals being close to good wine, opt for accommodation in the Canterbury region, the home of two big wine-growing areas - the valley of Waipara and the plains around Christchurch. You'll be out in wine country, but you also won't be too far from the hustle and bustle of the city, either.