Christchurch is a city you really can’t miss visiting during your New Zealand Holiday. Often referred to as the gateway to the South Island, the city offers a mixture of culture, elegance and history, with a remarkable spirit of resilience and creativity following the earthquakes of 2010/11.
There are so many things to do in the city and these are just a small selection of some of our favourite highlights. So for more information or to discuss your plans and ideas for visiting Christchurch during your New Zealand holiday do get in touch.
Visit the Restart shopping Mall
Colourful shipping containers have become a statement as well as a necessity following the Earthquake in 2011 that destroyed so many of the cities buildings.
RE:Start is a pop up shopping mall build on Cashel Street, on the site of the old Cashel Street Mall. You’ll find cafes and restaurants, bookshops, gift shops and fashion boutiques housed in the mall, so it’s a great place for a browse, or to pick up gift and souvenirs.
Ride on a historic Tram
Take a 2.5km inner city loop around Christchurch on board the tram and get your bearings of this ‘oh so English’ city.
Hop on and buy your tickets on board – they’re valid for 48 hours and as the tram takes you past some of the cities most well loved and iconic sites, you can hop and off when you fancy.
Go punting on the River Avon
A great activity regardless of the season, this is certainly a different way to explore Christchurch. Climb aboard a flat bottomed boat, sit back, relax and take in the sights as an Edwardian attired punter does the hard work from the platformed till at the back of the boat.
There are two options to choose from: You can depart from the historic Antigua boat sheds and glide through the Botanic Gardens, admiring the beautiful flora and fauna that gained Christchurch it’s title as ‘The Garden City’, Or you can take the city centre departure point and journey through the heart of the city to see the developments that are underway as Christchurch continues to rebuild itself.
Visit Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens
You can’t visit the ‘Garden City’ and not spend some time enjoying the beautiful gardens.
Hagley Park is Christchurch’s biggest public park, and houses the Botanic Gardens as well as a golf course, tennis courts and cycle tracks. On a sunny day, it’s a great place to settle back on the grass with a picnic to watch the world go by.
Its especially beautiful during the springtime when the ground is covered with daffoldils and bluebells though we think that whever the time of year, it’s well worth a visit.
Ride to the top of the Port Hills on the Christchurch Gondola
For unrivalled panoramic views of the surrounding areas, we recommend taking a ride on the Christchurch Gondola (or cable car as you might call it) to the summit of the Port Hills.
Once you reach the top of the hills, to the west you will see Christchurch City stretching out before you, with the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps beyond. To the east and the south, enjoy views of Lyttleton Harbour, Lake Ellesmere and Banks Peninsula and to the north the Pacific Ocean leads out to the distant Kaikoura Peninsula.
While you’re there, is worth taking the time to visit The Time Tunnel, a fascinating creative exhibit that chronicles the history of Christchurch and The Port Hills from its early settlement to the present day.
Visit the Christchurch Farmers Market
Head to the grounds of Riccarton House on Saturday mornings for a real foodie experience. Over 300 growers, makers and producers gather from the region to sell their wares, and their passion and enthusiasm for what they do is seriously infectious.
Wander amongst the stalls picking up breads, meats and cheeses for a picnic, grab a coffee and one of the many sweet treats there to tempt you and soak up the atmosphere as you discover the area through its culinary delights.
Visit the Cardboard Cathedral
An un-missable Christchurch sight to visit, not only because of its incredible engineering, but also because of the story it tells of the admirable resilience, creativity and determination of the city following the earthquake.
The cathedral is built on the site of the St Johns Latimer Square Anglican Church, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and opened its doors to the public in August 2013.
It isn’t fashioned entirely from cardboard, but uses huge cardboard tubes alongside timber beams, structural steel and concrete creating a fascinating piece of architecture that offers a new focal point for the city as well as being a venue for concerts, exhibitions and events.