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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

Banks Peninsula

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The Banks Peninsula is a side of Christchurch that too many visitors miss out on. This mostly-undeveloped, circular peninsula juts out from Christchurch like a swollen thumb, yet despite its obvious prominence on a map, a large majority of Christchurch visitors make the mistake of never exploring the area. The lone exception is the town of Akaroa which is one of the most popular day trips from Christchurch. This charming outpost of French heritage is located a 90-minute drive from Christchurch, and the boutique shops and rose-lined cottages gaze out towards a protected harbor. The harbor itself is the flooded caldera of the volcano which formed the peninsula, and the calm waters are a popular place for boating and swimming with dolphins. Along the drive to Akaroa you weave through pastures and farmlands, and a handful of wineries and gourmet food stops are sprinkled along the highway.More
#2

Pegasus Bay Winery and Restaurant

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Pegasus Bay Winery is a family-owned and run winery and restaurant located in the Waipara Valley, north of Christchurch. Pegasus Bay wines are made with estate-grown fruit from the Donaldson family’s vineyards. The Donaldsons have been growing grapes and making wine since the early 1970s. A husband, wife and three sons team, the family uses natural methods, and the winery produces a sauvignon, Reisling, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot and cabernet. The winery is also known for half a dozen reserve wines.More
#3

Lake Pukaki

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If you've ever seen a picture of Lake Pukaki, you can be forgiven for thinking there’s no way that this lake could possibly be real. After all, the color of the water—a shining, rich, deep shade of turquoise—has the same captivating and alluring effect as a pair of misty-blue eyes. The hue of the water seems to match the sky, and in addition to being surrounded by open plains, the towering spire of Aoraki/Mount Cook stands watch over most of the shoreline. Isolated, empty, and incomparably scenic, there are few places on the South Island of New Zealand which can inspire nearly as much awe. Running north-to-south and glacially-fed, this narrow lake parallels the road which leads to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. It’s the glacial silt from the Southern Alps which gives the lake its trademark hue, and on the clearest of days when the turquoise waters are backed by snowcapped Mount Cook, it’s a panorama that easily has the ability to drain your entire camera battery.More
#4

Christchurch Tram

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Hop aboard a vintage tram for a leisurely tour of central Christchurch. It’s the most relaxing, fun way to get your bearings and see the city's attractions and landmarks. The trams leave from Cathedral Square in downtown Christchurch. The route then crosses Worcester Bridge over the River Avon, loops past the Botanic Gardens and travels along past the shops of Armagh Street. All trams have an informative on-board commentary. Why not combine sightseeing on wheels with your evening meal, and take an evening ride on the Restaurant Tram? The colonial-style tram has every comfort, and the menu features local lamb and seafood.More
#5

Lake Tekapo

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The turquoise-colored lake set among a mountain backdrop will wow you by day, but when the sun sets, the stars come out and give you another reason to love Lake Tekapo. Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it a fabulous spot for stargazing, so be sure to save time to visit the Mount John Observatory. Residents work to reduce light pollution and the astronomical rewards are clear. The high-powered telescopes can provide a view of the sky like you’ve never seen before. If the timing is right, Mount John Observatory is also a great place to see the Southern Lights, the southern hemisphere’s version of the Northern Lights, which is best seen from April through September. Tekapo Springs can warm you up after a chilly night of stargazing. With hot pools and spas, it’s all about relaxing, unless you are traveling with kids. Then it’s about the water slide, skating rink, tube park or a combination of them all.More
#6

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

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Christchurch is known as the garden city, an Anglophile settlement of well-tended gardens and tree-lined streets. Pride of place in this flower-loving town goes to the Botanic Gardens, attractively set within a loop of the winding Avon River. The gardens are planted with thousands of exotic and indigenous plants, with particular note going to its lime tree walkways, inviting lawns and seasonal flowers such as magnolias, azaleas and roses. A number of conservatories protect a range of species, including desert plants, tropical blooms, begonias, alpine plants and orchids. The gardens are an ideal location for a picnic, or to find a relaxing spot for an hour or two, away from the bustle of the city.More
#7

TranzAlpine Train

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Praised as one of the most incredibly scenic train journeys in the world, the TranzAlpine chugs its way from Christchurch to Greymouth, via Arthur's Pass, daily. Making its way from one coast of New Zealand to the other, from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea, the train crosses the broad expanse of the Canterbury Plains to climb the Alps via a series of four viaducts and 19 tunnels known as the Staircase. The train journey reveals a stunning sequence of valleys, mountains and Southern Alps, including river valleys covered in beech rainforests, sky-mirrored lakes and snowcapped peaks. The train carriages include group and individual seating, plus there’s an open-air carriage for top-quality photo opportunities. Food and beverages are available on board.More
#8

Torlesse Wines

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Torlesse Wines is one of the older wineries in the Waipara Valley and owns the title of being the first winery in Waipara to bottle with a screw cap instead of a cork. It started with one wine, and now all of Torlesse Wines have screw caps. The winery produces a dozen wines including sauvignon blanc, Gewurztraminer, rose and a cabernet. The Torlesse Cellar Door is open for tastings seven days a week, from 11am to 5pm.More
#9

Waipara Springs Winery and Cafe

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Started in the early 1980s, the Waipara Springs Winery can brag about having some of the oldest vines in the Waipara Valley. Across more than 64 acres (26 hectares), the site grows Riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, pinot noir and merlot vines. Wine is produced from estate-grown fruit and is available to taste at the winery at the Southern Boundary Wines Cellar Door. Reservations are required for groups of eight or more. The winery also has a popular café that has a seasonal lunch menu focused on fresh local produce.More
#10

Arthur's Pass National Park

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This superbly scenic national park is in Central Canterbury, rising out of the plains. A magnet for wintertime skiers and summertime hikers, Arthur’s Pass National Park is also a popular day trip from Christchurch. Easy day walks fan out from the visitor information center, leading to vantage points affording panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks. Providing an instant snapshot of New Zealand's legendary natural beauty, a day trip to the park also reveals glimpses of extensive beech forests, rainforest, mountain passes and soaring peaks. If you're planning on experiencing a bit of New Zealand 'tramping' (the NZ word for hiking) take note that this is tricky territory, and for experienced hikers only. Tracks are not continuously marked, and they can involve river crossings, plus the weather is notoriously changeable.More

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Top activities in Christchurch

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Recent reviews from experiences in Christchurch

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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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Anniversary dinner
deltrev, 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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Akaroa - A Great Experience
Mansi 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
Travel39047556974, 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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Christchurch Tram
GoPlaces47670507769, 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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A great tour of Christchurch...
CraigandSharon M, Mar 2018
Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch
Awesome food - a great way to see the city.
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A really pleasant day. A relaxing...
Michael J 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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The company was so helpful and...
Lisa F, Aug 2015
Punting on the Avon River with Optional Christchurch Gondola and Botanic Gardens Tour
Amazing service and a great way to see christchurch.
star-4
A lovely way to see the sights and...
Lin, Mar 2015
Christchurch Gondola Ride Ticket
A lovely way to see the sights and view of Christchurch and the surrounding area, highly recommend.
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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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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
daviddannecker, 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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The tour started with a beautiful...
Jennifer S, Jan 2018
Akaroa Full Day Sightseeing Tour from Christchurch
The free time in small sea-side town of Akaroa provided enough time to visit the shops and enjoy a walk along the harbor shore.
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This was a brilliant tour, well...
Lucy P, Oct 2017
Lord of the Rings - Journey to Edoras from Christchurch
To be able to stand on top of Mt Sunday, especially with the snow creating a winter wonderland effect, was excellent.
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What a wonderful way to see...
Michael C, Oct 2016
Tramway Restaurant 4 Course Dinner Service through Christchurch
What a wonderful way to see Christchurch at night whilst we ate an amazing meal and sipped beautiful local wines and beer
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Pick up was right on time from...
Corey D, Dec 2017
Waipara Wine Trail Afternoon Tour from Christchurch
I would definitely recommend going just to see their grounds!

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