Staying in Christchurch for a day, for a month or even all year long and no ideas of what you can do? Well, no worries, we put together a list of the 'must do' sight seeing, restaurants and activities to keep you busy and have an unforgettable time in the third biggest city of New Zealand.
What to visit in the city :
Located on Cathedral Square, the spire has been demolished by the big 2011 earthquake, but it is still worth a visit to see both the architecture and the damage from the outside.
To learn more about the Christchurch history and how the 2011 earthquake changed the city, you can visit Quake City. Located next to it, the 185 empty chairs tribute for the victims.
The bridge of remembrance
This bridge linking Oxford and Cambridge Terraces over the Avon river stands for the service men and women of World War Two as well as subsequent conflicts in Borneo, Korea, Malaya, and Vietnam.
The Botanic Garden
Located in the middle of the city and surrounded by the Avon river, it is kind of the Christchurch Central Park. You can wander through the 20 hectares of nature admiring sculptures, flowers and trees but if you want to learn more about the gardens, you can take one of the walking or shuttle tours through this splendid area.
The Cardboard Cathedral
Because of the damage on the main Cathedral, this transitional Cathedral has been built in Latimer square. Don't hesitate to go have a look as you can enter for free and contemplate this monument build in a modern way with cardboard tubes, timber and steel.
New Brighton Pier
Take a walk along the the biggest ocean pier in Australasia. You can go during the day to enjoy a promenade on the beach or for a sunset walk to experience the great light installations along the pier.
Sculptures, paintings and street art
The city is full of wall painting and sculptures. Just walk around the city centre and admire the beautiful displays of art. You can find here a map that will tell you where they are located.
Visit the city by Tramway
Get into the tramway and enjoy a guided tour of the city. Hop on and off as often as you want as the ticket is valid for the entire day.
Where to eat :
Looking for a breakfast or afternoon tea, this place makes expresso and bakeries primarily with its own produce in a green and sustainable way.
Build your own bowl with fresh fish, rice, chicken, avocado, cheese, peanuts, fruits and pretty much everything you want for a result full of protein.
This friendly place serves sides, beer, wine, cocktails and fantastic burgers with great bacon or excellent vegan options but above all, they serve winks, hugs and happiness.
No you are not in New York city, but it almost feels like it! The American style pizza are made with ingredients imported straight from the United States.
Visiting the city and looking for somewhere a little different to eat? Be welcomed by a glass of wine and have a great gastronomic dinner. Just remember to book in advance.
With a wide choice of dishes, this restaurant is mainly known for its fabulous deserts made of chocolate, fruits and cream. A piece of cake could be considered dinner.
What to do :
Christchurch Zip Line
From September to April, you can fly over the hills while admiring the city from above thanks to the longest and highest zip line in New Zealand. Available on weekends as well as week days, it is the perfect family attraction.
Quad bike tour
Ride your own quad bike in the high country, splashing through rivers and crossing mountains and plains. You can enjoy this activity in summer or in winter. The tours are adapted to all kinds of riders, from beginners to experienced, so you can be sure you will have lots of fun while discovering breathtaking scenery.
All year round, you can enjoy thrilling experiences on the Waimakariri river. This boat speeds and spins in the twisting arms of the river and you can choose between a 30 minutes or a 60 minutes tour depending on how much of the river you want to discover.
Situated about 20 minutes drive from Christchurch, the Icelandic horses have a great temperament and have a special pace - Tölt. Whether you are a good rider or you have just ridden a few times, the horses will offer you speed as well as a calm and quiet experience. All year long, Inga, the owner, and her horses will take you in the forest or on the beach for an unforgettable adventure.
Surf in Sumner
If you want to learn how to surf, Sumner is the safest beach of Christchurch for it. Located in a bay, the waves of the ocean are not too strong and and you can sign up for a group or private lesson. Of course if you are an experienced surfer, you can have as much fun by hiring a board and hitting the waves.
During the summer, every Saturday night, sprint cars come out to race in Templeton. The different car categories will race from 6.30pm until 10pm. Think about taking warm clothes that can get dirty and I assure you, you will have a great time.
Oarana Wildlife Park
Time to change the roles, because those animals are not in cages - but you will be! Meet animals from Australia, Africa, Asia and of course New Zealand. Get up close to them while still respecting their space and even hand feed some of them. If you haven't beem lucky enough to see a kiwi until now, don't worry, the endemic bird of New Zealand is waiting for you there.
The International Antarctic Centre
Meet the blue penguins who have been rescued by the centre, experiment an antarctic storm, go for a Hagglund ride and pet some really cute huskies. Wether you are 2 or 90 years old, you will have an awesome time discovering the wonderful secrets of Antarctica, but be careful, you might want to go there for real...
Rainy day? No worries, Chrischurch is full of indoor activities. The famous thing to do now is an escape game. Be a relic hunter in Antarctica, a scientist traveling in the future or an inmates in one of the most secure prison and try to escape the room in less than 60 minutes. Follow the clues, solve puzzles and above everything, have a lot of fun with your family and friends.
Another fun indoor activity is to go, go karting. Just get a helmet on and you are good to go racing with your friends on the course.
Where to go for a good night out :
This bar is situated in the city centre, you will discover an awesome concept as this place is full of pool tables. Get a drink enjoy the music and play pool with your friends.
if you are at least 20 years old, you can enjoy slot machines, table games, live shows as well as have something to eat and drink in the 3 restaurants and 2 bars of the Casino.
Situated by the Avon river, there are a few different options of restaurants and bars where you can have drinks while listening to good music inside or on the terraces.
Places to go around Christchurch :
Take a ride up the gondola to have a stunning view of Banks Peninsula, Lake Ellesmere, Lyttelton Harbour and the beaches of Pegasus Bay.
You can drive up Port Hills at day or night time and enjoy the stunning view of Christchurch. If you feel like it, you can also walk up there to enjoy a hike along the trails for as long or as short as you like.
Hanmer Springs is known for its Thermal Pools and Spa with its mineral waters. It is good for a weekend, soak in the hot pools, enjoy a walk up Conical Hill and Heritage Forest, play minigolf and have a great meal in one of the cute restaurants. Depending on the season, you can also go skiing or fishing!
If you are here during the winter and want to do some skiing or snowboarding, you can drive to Porters, Mt Hutt or one of the numerous ski field located close to Christchurch. You can rent skis, snowboards and shoes once you arrive at the top. They’ve got gentle runs and easy lifts for beginners and kids, long cruising runs for the intermediates, and super challenging terrain for advanced skiers and riders.
Festivals and events along the year:
All blacks rugby match
The most famous rugby team of the world plays several match during the year in New Zealand. If you are lucky enough to be here while they are playing, don't hesitate to book a place in the Nelson, Dunedin or Christchurch stadium.
Cup and Show week - November
With different events during the week you can go to horse races at the Riccarton Park Racecourse while drinking champaign or you can discover New Zealand's agricultural tradition at the A&P Show.
Lyttelton farmer market
Looking for local products? Well, fresh fruit, vegetables, free range eggs, bread, meat, fish, cheese, juices, herbs and plants are sold at the market every Sunday morning. It is a great place to grab a takeaway coffee and wander around the stalls.
During the summer months, a few movies will be played at the Art Centre. On the second Friday of December, January, February and March, you can enjoy a movie for the kids and one for the grown-ups.
Christchurch Marathon - June
42 km, 21 km, 10 km or Kids' marafun, there is fun for everyone on the Saturday of the Queen's Birthday Weekend. Going through Cathedral Square, Hagley Park, the Avon River and the Red Zone, it is a good occasion to visit the city and challenge yourself at the same time.
Heineken urban Polo - March
Right in the centre of the City, in North Hagley Park, you can go and watch great polo matches while enjoying a fine beverage or two and listening to music. As it is played on a significantly smaller playing field, you will be as close to the action as you want to get!
Electric Avenue - February
During 12 hours, this electronic music festival brings Hagley Park to life thanks to the 20 international and local artists performing on 3 different stages, from 11am to 11pm.
Buskers Festival - January
Performers from all over the world are in Christchurch during 10 days to display street shows. The occasion to visit (or revisit) the city while enjoying nice shows.
Lyttelton festival of lights - June
Food stalls, live music, entertainment,a parade, fireworks and art installations around the town will take place in Lyttelton during this night.