Two days in Christchurch means you can cover plenty of ground in the Garden City. Delve into the city center with a variety of sightseeing options by bus and beyond. Whether you hop on a heritage tram, horse, or scenic train, there’s plenty to see. Below are some options for maximizing time on your 2-day stay.
Day 1: In and Around Town
Morning: Sightseeing by double-decker bus is a great way to get your bearings. Hear narration about Christchurch’s rebuild following the devastating earthquakes, with the opportunity to hop off and learn more at stops including Quake City. A sightseeing pass includes the Christchurch Tram, Gondola, and Botanic Gardens with a punt (boat) ride.
Afternoon: Devote the afternoon to animal antics at the Penguin Encounter at the International Antarctic Centre, or observe New Zealand’s endangered national bird—the kiwi, of course—in its nocturnal habitat at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Choose a tour with meal options and round-trip transport provided from hotels for convenience.
Night: Settle in for a 4-course dinner and a nearly 3-hour tour of city lights aboard the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant. Take a window seat on the heritage tram and discover the evening views. It’s elegant, but Christchurch-casual, dining and sightseeing at its best.
Day 2: Easy Escapes
Morning: When you’ve had your fill of city highlights, it’s time to head for the hills. You have your choice of traveling by horseback, helicopter, or railway. Trot alongside Waimakariri Canyon, view the Banks Peninsula from above, or hop on the TranzAlpine Train for Arthur's Pass via the Southern Alps.
Afternoon: A quick escape from the city awaits. Swap your urban landscape for nature’s splendor with an outdoor adventure on the Waimakariri River, aka the Waimak. Jet boating takes you through scenic gorges and canyons. Alternatively, there’s time for a Hagglund snowmobile ride at the International Antarctic Centre.
Night: If you opted to take the family to Willowbank, why not stay for dinner? A traditional hangi buffet is accompanied by evening entertainment with a Maori cultural performance of dance and music. It’s a great way to learn about New Zealand’s indigenous community while partaking in a traditional feast.