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How to Spend 1 Day in Christchurch

How to Spend 1 Day in Christchurch

Christchurch is often described as the most English of New Zealand's cities. The Garden City offers visitors a multitude of options, from wine trails to wildlife reserves. Whether your interests include downtown sightseeing or exploring Canterbury’s natural surroundings, here’s how to make the most one day in Christchurch.

Morning: City Sightseeing

Christchurch has recovered beautifully from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and is full of sights, old and new. Learn about its history on the Christchurch Tram’s narrated hop-on hop-off tour. See the Bridge of Remembrance, and stop at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens for an open-air tour on a caterpillar shuttle or a punting tour on the Avon River with a guide dressed in Edwardian clothing. You can also enjoy the Christchurch Gondola, which takes you on a 10-minute panoramic ride up the Port Hills for scenic views.

Afternoon: Themed Adventures

For some family fun, head to the International Antarctic Centre, an interactive attraction where kids can meet sled dogs and blue penguins and go on a Hagglund ride. Or, if you’d prefer to venture a bit further afield, take a helicopter tour to enjoy the unique landscapes of the nearby Banks Peninsula to see unique landscapes or a short ride on horseback to see views of the Southern Alps.

For a food and drink-focused afternoon, take a wine-tasting tour of North Canterbury wineries, or let a guide introduce you to the city’s local craft breweries. If you’d rather get to know the city center, head to the Cashel Street mall and Riverside Market and enjoy Christchurch’s cafes, restaurants, and bars.

Night: Cuisine and Culture

In the evening, indulge in Christchurch’s culinary landscape. For a unique tour of the city after dark, hop aboard the tram (even if you traveled its route in the daytime) and combine your sightseeing with dinner at the Tramway Restaurant. Alternatively, enjoy a traditional hangi buffet dinner and a Maori cultural performance at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve—which also offers the opportunity to New Zealand’s nocturnal kiwi birds in their natural habitat. Finish off your evening downtown with cocktails and a dip into the local nightlife.

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8 Tours and Activities | All Christchurch Tours

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Waipara Wine Trail Afternoon Tour from Christchurch

Waipara Wine Trail Afternoon Tour from Christchurch

star-4.5
175
Visit four boutique wineries of North Canterbury on a half-day wine-tasting tour with optional lunch. Departing Christchurch, you’ll taste a quality selection of wines in the up-and-coming Waipara wine region, including stops at Pegasus Bay, Waipara Hills, Torlesse Wines and Waipara Springs. Learn from a knowledgeable guide about Waipara’s unique terroir as you sip a range of superior reds and whites.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$71.36
From
$71.36

Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch

Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch

star-4.5
89
Enjoy a 4-course dinner aboard the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant and travel in heritage style through the city center, round-trip from Cathedral Junction. Relax and enjoy views of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Avon River from your window-side table. The journey in this elegant restaurant on wheels includes a welcome drink upon arrival, with tea and coffee to accompany your gourmet meal, served by professional waitstaff.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$88.16
From
$88.16

Christchurch Hop-On Hop-Off Tram

Christchurch Hop-On Hop-Off Tram

star-4.5
338
Travel the full circuit aboard the Christchurch Tramway, which departs regularly. Use your ticket to hop on and hop off at 17 stops and create your own sightseeing itinerary. Drivers provide live commentary on the landmarks of this South Island city. Bonus: children up to age 15 travel free.
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  • 1 day
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$17.84
From
$17.84
Taking safety measures

 Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket

Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket

star-4
73
Take an aerial journey on the Christchurch Gondola to the Port Hills crater rim and Mt Cavendish summit. At the summit complex — revamped since the 2011 earthquake — you’re rewarded with views of the cityscape, the Canterbury Plains and Lyttelton Harbour. Upgrade for admission to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens including a caterpillar bus tour, or go punting by flat-bottomed boat on the Avon River.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$21.41
From
$21.41

International Antarctic Center General Admission Ticket

International Antarctic Center General Admission Ticket

star-4.5
136
Learn about Antarctic landscapes, wildlife and explorers with tickets to the International Antarctic Center in Christchurch, an award-winning experience that combines fun and education. Try to weather a harsh Antarctic storm, then hear about life on the remote Scott Base and spend some quality time with the Center’s adorable Little Blue penguins. Enjoy Hagglund rides and 4D shows, and enter the 'cuddle zone,' where you can meet, snuggle and pet the fluffy Huskies that explorers historically used to pull their Antarctic dogsleds.
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  • 1 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$34.97
From
$34.97
Taking safety measures

Willowbank Kiwi Tour and Maori Concert Including Hangi Dinner from Christchurch

Willowbank Kiwi Tour and Maori Concert Including Hangi Dinner from Christchurch

star-3.5
12
Enjoy seeing a variety of birds and animals during a guided tour of the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, followed by an entertaining evening with the Ko Tane Maori cultural performance plus a buffet dinner. You’ll enjoy two popular attractions, including a traditional 4-course ‘hangi' meal followed by a short city tour of Christchurch at night. Round-trip hotel transport is included.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
From
$167.70
From
$167.70

Rubicon Valley Horse Treks - 2 Hour River Trail Horse Trek

Rubicon Valley Horse Treks - 2 Hour River Trail Horse Trek

star-5
122
Enjoy a guided horseback ride at a high-country sheep farm in Springfield, outside Christchurch. This horse trek takes you on a riverside trail that is suitable for the entire family. Beginning or more experienced riders can walk, trot or canter past the Waimakariri River Canyon with views of the Southern Alps. Set out in the morning or afternoon in a small group of six people per guide.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$95.16
From
$95.16

Christchurch Scenic Helicopter Tour

Christchurch Scenic Helicopter Tour

star-5
10
Fly over Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula on a 20-minute helicopter tour that takes in city sights. From an aerial view, you’ll appreciate the scale of Christchurch’s devastation and recovery following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Soar above the ruins of ChristChurch Cathedral and see the new sports stadium while the pilot comments on rebuilding efforts. See the suburbs of Sumner and Redcliffe, and view the port of Lyttelton.
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  • 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$178.41
From
$178.41
Taking safety measures