Christchurch City Highlights

Adventure awaits on the streets of Christchurch.

Christchurch brims with a unique charm and an array of city-central activities guaranteed to enchant solo adventurers, couples and families alike. Enjoy and explore this rejuvenated South Island gem with our top city highlights.

Ride the Christchurch Gondola

Experience Christchurch in all its natural splendor with a ride on the famed Christchurch Gondola up to the top of Mt Cavendish. Relax in your cable car and enjoy 360 degree views of the stunning natural beauty surrounding Christchurch, including unparalleled views of the Canterbury Plains and distant Southern Alps, Banks Peninsula, Pegasus Bay and Pacific Ocean. A snapshot of the region’s ancient history can be experienced as you ride through the Time Tunnel before you reach Summit Station and take in a bite to eat at Red Rock Café or browse the Shop at the Top.

Search for street art

Christchurch has recently been ranked by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s street art capitals, and a day spent wandering around the city makes it easy to see why. Plan your own adventure hunting for creative and eclectic masterpieces boldly displayed on building walls or carefully concealed in lanes and alley ways. Alternatively, take a guided tour lead by Watch This Space and learn about the history of street art from a qualified historian. End your exploration with a visit to the Canterbury Museum in the city’s cultural precinct to learn about the region’s rich history and appreciate visiting exhibitions.  

Get your city adventure on at Port Hills 

A short 10 minute drive from the CBD, Port Hills offers spectacular panoramic views of the city and the ancient volcanic beauty of Lyttelton Bay and Bank Peninsula. Tracks of various lengths and gradients make for both leisurely or challenging walks while Port Hills is also a favourite of visiting and local mountain bikers who appreciate having easy access to quality, cross country terrain.

Take a punt on the Avon River

History buffs will enjoy the traditional Edwardian punting experience on offer along the Avon River. Experience Christchurch from a new perspective as you glide past the iconic Botanic Gardens or take in the city from your flat-bottomed boat and pepper your guide with questions about local history and the river’s beautiful surrounds.

Learn about Māori culture with Ko Tāne

Learn about Maori culture at Ko Tāne, the South Island’s only interactive Māori cultural experience. You will be greeted with a tradition Māori powhiri or welcome on arrival, followed by a visit to Ko Tāne’s interactive village where you will learn about traditional hunting, cooking times, leisure activities and religious instruments. Enjoy a kapahaka performance of song and poi dances (long and short poi), haka, stick games and weapons displays, and learn the poi and haka yourself. Finish your visit with a dinner prepared with a blend of traditional hāngī tastes and contemporary flavours and a traditional farewell ceremony, or the ‘poroporoaki’ from your host.

Explore the Botanic Gardens 

The title of ‘New Zealand’s Garden City’ is bestowed upon Christchurch due to its award winning Botanic Gardens. Nestled among the winding Avon River in the city centre, this famed 21 hectare park contains iconic New Zealand flora species displayed across 10 carefully curated and individually themed gardens. Enjoy the gardens on foot or take a guided tour to learn about the park’s extensive history and collections.  There’s a playground and paddling pool for the kids, or if you’re after a refuel, enjoy a coffee and brunch at Illex Café or lunch on authentic Spanish fare at the Curator’s House Restaurant overlooking the gardens.

Jump aboard the Christchurch Tram Loop 

Fully immerse yourself in the history of Christchurch with a ride on one of the city’s beautifully restored heritage trams. 17 stops and a regular 10 minute schedule means you can jump off your tram at any time and explore some of the city’s popular sites, including the Canterbury Museum, the Arts Centre and Cathedral Junction

Words by Rebecca Walker. Image by Jack Kajon (Shutterstock) - Published 25 October 2018
Quick Facts 
Population Approx 381,000
Area 452 km2
Time Zone GMT +12
Languages English (official)
Currency New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Electricity 220 – 240v 50Hz
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