With a buzzing foodie scene, world-famous street art, and splendid green spaces everywhere you look, Christchurch has solidified its place as one of New Zealand’s best travel destinations, loved by locals and visitors alike. Check out our guide to the South Island’s biggest city below:
FOOD & DRINK
From tasty cheap eats to innovative fine-dining experiences, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to cuisine in Christchurch, with eateries dotted all over the city. Start the day right with an excellent brunch at either Miro in the city, Hello Sunday in Sydenham, or Caffeine Laboratory in New Regent Street. Speaking of – the enchanting New Regent Street is also home to several superb culinary options, including the intimate Twenty Seven Steps and the newly opened Story.
For something a bit different, book a table at the heritage Tramway Restaurant and be treated to a delicious four-course dinner while taking in the sights of central Christchurch. End the night with a well-crafted cocktail at Terrace Tavern, or a pint at Smash Palace – one of the city’s most loved bars. Lastly, no trip to Christchurch is complete without a visit to Rollickin Gelato for a few sweet scoops.
Named by Lonely Planet as one of the street art capitals of the world, Christchurch has emerged as a thriving creative hub, full of colourful street art, eclectic pop-ups, and inspiring post-quake pieces each with a story to tell. Take a stroll through the city to discover a range of vibrant art displays, before visiting Christchurch’s Art Gallery: Te Puna o Waiwhetū, to peruse their latest exhibitions.
For a sophisticated evening watch a play at the historic Isaac Theatre Royal – a beautifully restored theatre dating back to 1863, or if you’re feeling fancy, catch a film at the luxe Lumière Cinema and settle in with a G&T and gourmet snacks from the bar. If you’re into live music, check out the iconic Christchurch Town Hall which continues to attract a host of local and international artists.
For the active adventurer, the suitably named Garden City is geographically blessed with an array of scenic walking tracks and trails. The Awaroa/Godley Head loop track features breathtaking coastal scenery, while popular Port Hills offers different tracks to suit various fitness levels. Here, you can also pay a visit to the Christchurch Adventure Park for a ride on New Zealand’s longest zip line.
If you prefer something a little less intense, spend the arvo peacefully meandering through Christchurch’s beautiful botanic gardens. Free-to-enter, the gardens feature an extensive collection of ever-changing flowers and native plants, with plenty of picturesque picnic spots. While there, why not try your hand at punting or peddle boating down the Avon River?
Known as the ‘Gateway to the South Island’, Christchurch is the perfect base from which to explore some of New Zealand’s most popular attractions. Take a short drive to Banks Peninsula and visit the charming, French-influenced town of Akaroa; escape north to the alpine village of Hamner Springs for a relaxing thermal soak; or perhaps head to Kaikōura for an unforgettable whale-watching excursion.
Further afield lie the snow-capped Southern Alps and magnificent Arthur’s Pass. Get there in style onboard the famed TranzAlpine – rated as one of the world’s greatest train journeys – and prepare to soak in spectacular panoramic views along the way.