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Things to do in Christchurch

Things to do in  Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch

Known for its Anglo-influenced architecture and well-manicured gardens, the South Island city of Christchurch is the epicenter of New Zealand’s colonial heritage. But for all its inherited English charm, Christchurch is a modern Kiwi city in the midst of a rebirth following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Visitors enjoy peaceful punt rides down the Avon River, visits to the verdant Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and gondola rides into the Port Hills. Expansive Hagley Park offers city dwellers space to stroll among the cherry trees, jog or hike on the on the numerous trails, or relax and set up a picnic; while bustling New Regent Street is lined with shops, restaurants, and sidewalk cafes serving up regional specialties. Christchurch also acts as a home base for day trips to points further afield. Visitors can taste wine vinted from homegrown grapes in the Waipara wine region, explore Arthur’s Pass National Park, or summit the formidable Mt. Cook. Departures for the Banks Peninsula and Akaroa Harbor offer the opportunity to see the South Island’s picturesque physical features, and a trip on the TranzAlpine Train, which runs daily from Christchurch to Greymouth on the west coast, takes passengers on what is considered New Zealand’s most scenic train ride.

Top 10 attractions in Christchurch

#1
Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

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A glacial lake on New Zealand’s South Island, Lake Tekapo is an adventurer’s playground by day—and a stargazer’s heaven at night. On a clear night, southern hemisphere constellations, plus the Milky Way and the southern lights, shine spectacularly in the UNESCO-listed Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.More
#2
Arthur's Pass National Park

Arthur's Pass National Park

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In the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Arthur’s Pass National Park is a sprawling landscape marked by soaring mountains, lush valleys, and powerful rivers. It offers adventurous visitors of all levels varied hiking tracks, open ski fields, and remarkable natural wonders such as forests, caves, waterfalls, glaciers, and more.More
#3
TranzAlpine Train

TranzAlpine Train

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The TranzAlpine Train is New Zealand’s most spectacular train journey, one which winds its way through the dramatic gorges and alpine forests of the Southern Alps, over staggering viaducts and dizzying mountain passes. From Christchurch on the East Coast to Greymouth on the West Coast, this almost 5-hour trip serves up endless photo opportunities as it runs through the heart of the South Island.More
#4
Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram

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The Christchurch Tram combines leisurely transportation with narrated city sightseeing aboard a restored vintage tram. Visitors learn about historical landmarks in central Christchurch as well as the Garden City’s revival efforts following the earthquake damage of 2011. With 17 hop-on hop-off stops, it’s an easy and fun way to get oriented to New Zealand's third-largest city.More
#5
Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

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Christchurch, coined the Garden City, is an Anglophile settlement of well-tended gardens and tree-lined streets. Its crowning jewel is the 52-acre (21-hectare) Christchurch Botanic Gardens, attractively set within Hagley Park alongside the winding Avon River. The gardens are planted with thousands of exotic and indigenous plants and trees including seasonal blooms such as magnolias, azaleas, and 250 varieties of roses.More
#6
Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

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Bright turquoise Lake Pukaki is one of the most beautiful—and most photographed—bodies of water in New Zealand. Many travelers make a quick stop by the lake en route to Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain, but it’s worth spending a bit more time there to hike, bike, or just savor the views.More
#7
Hagley Park

Hagley Park

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Take a break from the cars and crowds of Christchurch without leaving the city. Covering 407 acres (165 hectares) of central Christchurch, Hagley Park is a tranquil park full of green, open spaces. Take a paddleboat down the Avon River, play a match of soccer or rugby, or explore the flower beds and glasshouses of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.More
#8
New Regent Street

New Regent Street

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New Regent Street, a short street in central Christchurch, is often called New Zealand’s most beautiful street. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, most visitors would agree that the pastel-colored shop fronts on New Regent Street are definitely attractive. They were built in the 1930s in the Spanish Mission style, which is unusual in New Zealand, making New Regent Street a worthwhile detour while touring Christchurch.More
#9
Church of the Good Shepherd

Church of the Good Shepherd

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Built in 1935 as a memorial to the pioneers of Mackenzie County, the Church of the Good Shepherd is set on the scenic shores of Lake Tekapo, framed by snow-capped mountain peaks. In addition to being a popular tourist attraction, this heritage building continues to serve as a place of worship.More
#10
International Antarctic Centre

International Antarctic Centre

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Across the road from New Zealand’s Christchurch International Airport lies the next best thing to visiting Antarctica itself: the International Antarctic Centre. Here the whole family can experience a simulation of the harsh Antarctic climate, learn all about the icy continent, and meet the center’s cutest residents—little blue penguins.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Christchurch

How to Spend 2 Days in Christchurch

Ways to Experience Maori Culture in Christchurch

Ways to Experience Maori Culture in Christchurch

Top activities in Christchurch

Christchurch Hop-On Hop-Off Tram

Christchurch Hop-On Hop-Off Tram

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Mount Cook, Lake Tekapo & Tasman Glacier(Small Group Day Tour From Christchurch)
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Lyttelton Shore Excursion: TranzAlpine and Arthurs Pass Tour
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Christchurch Zipline Tour

Christchurch Zipline Tour

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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Christchurch

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The lovely old tram,...
Yvonne_B, Mar 2022
Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch
The lovely old tram, friendly staff good way to see Christchurch at night.
star-5
Charming Day Out
Joanna_W, Jan 2022
Christchurch Hop-On Hop-Off Tram
It was awonderful way to see Christchurch Citys sights and beautiful gardens.
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Perfect!
Andrea_C, May 2021
Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch
The meal was great, the staff were all very courteous and professional, and the tram ride itself was an awesome way to see Christchurch on our first eveningthere.
star-5
Great Wines , beautiful gardens, delicious food. What more could you ask for?
Julie_C, Jan 2021
Waipara Wine Trail Afternoon Tour from Christchurch
What a wonderful area to visit.
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Tradition and pleasure
isobelmd, Feb 2020
Christchurch Hop-On Hop-Off Tram
Ideal way to see Christchurch.
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Akaroa - A Great Experience
Rajesh_H, Jan 2020
Akaroa Full Day Sightseeing Tour from Christchurch
The day was clear and cruise was excellent and we got to see the dolphins, and the colony of seals.
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Horse Trek in the Mountains
Hannah_H, Jun 2019
Rubicon Valley Horse Treks - 2 Hour River Trail Horse Trek
Highly recommend if you want to see the incredible views in this part of Christchurch.
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A really pleasant day. A relaxing...
MichaelJ_H, Jan 2017
Akaroa Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch
We did manage to see quite a few along with some penguins.
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This is a must for Christchurch...
Dorothy H, Apr 2017
Christchurch Sightseeing Pass
It allows visitors to get on and off at tourist attractions, and drivers and conductors are friendly, informative and go out of their way to show tourists what is going on.
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This tour was great, the pass really...
Joanne B, Dec 2015
Christchurch Sightseeing Pass
This tour was great, the pass really allows to see a vast part of Christchurch.
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Travelled with kids, and they simply...
Mario P, Jan 2014
Christchurch Snow and Kiwi Tour
Travelled with kids, and they simply loved it, lots to see and learn, a must see attraction if you going to Christchurch
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Nothing in Christchurch is open on...
Marie M, Jan 2011
Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket
It is a good trip to see the city at all angles.
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The driver of the shuttle was waiting...
Nicole C, Jun 2010
Arrival Transfer: Christchurch Airport to Christchurch Central City Hotels
From the airport to the hotel, he told us about places we might like to see in Christchurch.
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Anniversary dinner
Adele_C, Jan 2020
Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch
The food was amazing, service was 1st class and it's also a great way to see some of the changes to this ever changing and evolving city.
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I only had four days to visit...
Hannah M, Jun 2007
Christchurch City Sightseeing: Must See Three Attractions
I saw the main attractions and split them up between two days to fit in other activities.
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This is great to see Christchurch for...
Carlos A R, Feb 2008
Christchurch City Sightseeing: Must See Three Attractions
This is great to see Christchurch for the very first time.
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Wonderful day at Aoraki-Mt Cook National Park
David_D, Jan 2020
Aoraki-Mt Cook Tasman Glacier & Alpine Centre scenic day tour from Christchurch
We would definitely recommend this tour company if you are staying in Christchurch, because outside of renting a car and trekking yourself, it is the easiest way to get out to see Mt Cook that we could find, and definitely the best value.
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Christchurch Tram
Ann_S, Jan 2019
Christchurch Hop-On Hop-Off Tram
Tram drivers excellent guides and a wonderful way to see the City😊Highly recommend this way of seeing Christchurch.
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We did this trip from Christchurch...
Alan R, Mar 2018
Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch
It was a fairly calm day and the boat took us to see the dolphins first - there must have been 200 ahead of us just playing and doing flips.
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The trip was customised to suit most...
Alan R, Mar 2018
Arthur's Pass Full-Day Tour Includes TranzAlpine Express Train from Christchurch
The train left from Christchurch but we travelled to Springfield on the bus to pick up the train as there was little of interest to see between Christchurch and there.
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All about Christchurch

When to visit

Christchurch is a year-round destination, with summer and winter being the most popular times to visit. December through February sees warm, sunny days, though the northwesterly wind—which blows all year but is most prevalent during these months—keeps things comfortable. In winter, Christchurch is a great base for nearby ski fields. To escape the crowds, visit in autumn when the Garden City shows of its fall foliage.

Time Zone
NZST (UTC +12)

People Also Ask

What is Christchurch famous for?

Christchurch is famous for its English-inspired architecture and gardens, as well as for the Christ Church Cathedral in the center of town and its heritage tramway. It’s also famous as a gateway to the Southern Alps mountains inland, and to the Banks Peninsula east of the city.

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What is there to do in Christchurch?

In Christchurch city, ride the heritage tram around the central areas and spend time in Hagley Park and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Punt on the Avon River if the weather’s fine, and shop and dine at colorful New Regent Street. Day trip to the Banks Peninsula for wildlife spotting.

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When was Christchurch founded?

Christchurch was founded as a European settlement in 1848. Maori settled in what is now Christchurch between 1500–1700 AD.

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Where in NZ is Christchurch?

Christchurch is located on the South Island of New Zealand, in the Canterbury region. It’s roughly halfway down the east coast of the island and northwest of the Banks Peninsula. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island.

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What is there to do in Christchurch for families?

There's plenty for families to do in Christchurch. Ride the restored vintage tram through the central city, punt on the Avon River, and visit the Orana Wildlife Park or Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Learn more about New Zealand’s southern neighbor at the International Antarctic Centre and enjoy views from the gondola.

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How many days do I need in Christchurch?

Many travelers find that two to three days in Christchurch is ideal and enough time to experience the central city areas as well as some nearby attractions. Up to five days allows time for half-day or full-day trips to Lyttelton, Sumner, the Banks Peninsula, and Akaroa.

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