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After the devastating earthquakes that hit Christchurch in September 2010 and February 2011, the New Zealand city was quite literally shaken. Its confidence, landmarks and spirit all took a hit, but while the aftershocks continue and the repair efforts are still in progress, Christchurch is a city more determined than ever to show you its beauty.
The once-grand Christchurch Anglican Cathedralnow serves a sadder historical purpose, although its pre-earthquake history remains fascinating. The nearby Avon Riverwith its quaint punts floating by is a nod to the city’s strong British roots, while Lichfield Street with its boutiques and cafés is a gaze forward to a funkier, trendier Christchurch that is shedding its conservative roots.
Just outside the city, the rubble gives way to lush greenery and breathtaking natural beauty, and it’s possible to forget – for at least a while – that tragedy occurred here.
Christchurch’s Top 10
10. Mona Vale Set outside the city, this elegant country manor is a step back in time to a more genteel era.
5. Canterbury Museum This grand old museum has a rather one-sided focus on British Colonisation, but the Brits are nothing if not selective with their history…
9. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Spot a kiwi at the largest viewing centre in NZ.
4. Punting on the Avon They say you can tell the difference between an Oxford boy and a Cambridge boy by the technique they use to punt. Check this place out to see how they punt in Christchurch!
8. Adrenalin Forest New Zealanders love to raise their adrenaline. Put your heart rate to the test in this obstacle course of extreme sports.
3. The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Although damaged in the earthquake and set to be partially demolished in the near future, it’s still worth a look.
7. Christchurch Botanic Gardens For a change of pace, immerse yourself in the English charm of these spectacular gardens.
2. Lake Pukaki Pinch yourself – yep, it really is that beautiful!
6. Pegasus Bay Winery A little way out of the city centre, the trek is worth it for the divine Sauv Blanc. Sniff, swill… don’t spit!
1. Waimairi Beach Heathcliff and Cathy would have been happy on this ruggedly beautiful stretch of sand.
- Christchurch Cathedral - The famous cathedral where Anglicans have worshipped for 180 years.
- Heritage Buildings - Located at the Arts Centre of Christchurch. Gothic-style buildings.
- Air Force Museum - Displays of aircraft, medals and collection of vintage, parachute-silk wedding gowns.
- Punting on the Avon - A historic tradition. Ride the river and enjoy the lovely gardens and scenic parks.
- Floral Clock - Gift to the city in 1953; more than 7,000 plants are used every spring and fall to create the spectacular designs.
Christchurch Art & Culture
- Canterbury Museum - Collections from the Classic Maori Period and Antarctica expeditions. Museum cafe and gift shop inside the museum.
- Arts Centre Of Christchurch - Seasonal festivals. Theatres, galleries and cinemas are housed in the complex.
- Cathedral Square - Home to the Arts Centre and close to attractions including Christchurch Art Gallery and Hagley Park.
- Akaroa Tour - Historic area with guided walks to learn about the French heritage of Christchurch.
- Christchurch Art Gallery - Historic and contemporary art collections featuring New Zealand and international art.
- The Arts Centre - Over 40 shops and boutiques. Buy local handcrafts and enjoy the Friday Farmers' Market.
- Merivale Mall - Located in Merivale Village, with 40 shops, restaurants to sample local cuisine.
- New Regent Street - Between Armagh and Gloucester Streets, this cobblestone street features a wide variety of designer boutique shops.
- Victoria Street - By the Parkroyal Hotel, antique dealers from the Christchurch & Canterbury Visitor Centre.
- Primary Shopping Streets - Cashel, Colombo, Gloucester and Armagh, Hereford; and High Street.
Gay & Lesbian Christchurch
- All Stars Bowling League - At the Garden City Bowling Centre. Bowl and socialize with friends.
- Christchurch Gay Social Group - Social events including barbeques, bowling, rock climbing, skating, movie nights and evening coffee.
- Dykes Dining Out - Group dines at different restaurants. Open to singles and couples.
- Crave - Social activism group at the former All Saints Metropolitan Community Church.
- Gayline/Lesbianline - Information about the gay community and phone support. Ph: (03)379-4796.
- Hagley Park - One the biggest of the world's inner city parks, covering an area of approximately 160 hectares.
- New Brighton Pier - Popular outdoor recreation spot offering an array of events, including an annual fireworks display.
- Botanic Gardens - Gardens, displays and playgrounds. Close to museums and galleries.
- Orana Park - Wild animals in natural habitat settings. Farmyard area with domesticated animals local to New Zealand.
- Ski Fields - Mt Dobson, Mt Hutt and Porter Heights are close to Christchurch.
- Fish the Rakaia or Waimakariri rivers.
- Take a thrilling jet boat tour of the Waimak Gorge.
- Ride horses through scenic countryside, view spectacular mountains and enjoy thermal hot springs at Hammer Springs.
- Go for a quad bike ride around Kaikoura.
- Ski the Southern Alps at Mount Hutt.
Get your gold coins ready for the World Busker’s Festival each January.
While a lot has happened in the past few years to change the face of Christchurch, the Biennial Christchurch Arts Festival from August to October has more reasons than ever to celebrate the strength of the city.
Rugby is pretty much a religion in New Zealand. Catch a game while you’re in town – you’ll have plenty to choose from!
When To Go
- Christchurch enjoys relatively mild winters and pleasant summers.
- In winter (June-August), temperatures hover around 10ºC (50ºF) during the day, falling to freezing overnight.
- Summer temperatures average around 22ºC (72ºF).
Much of the inner city is still strictly limited due to quake damage, so check your accommodation in relation to the damaged areas
The Christchurch Shuttle operates around parts of the city. It’s free and sustainable (a hybrid vehicle). Hooray!
For trips outside the city, renting a car is your best option. NZ is best viewed through a windscreen as you pass some of the most breathtaking attractions simply getting from A to B.
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62 hotels in Christchurch
The Heritage Christchurch Hotel offers a mix of dining, recreational and meeting facilities to suit the needs of corporate groups and holidaymakers. For entertainment, guests can visit Christchurch... More
The Chateau on the Park is resort style hotel accommodation in the vibrant city of Christchurch. Set amongst 5 acres of tranquil surroundings and gorgeous gardens, the hotel offers a welcome... More
Travellers looking for a contemporary and cosy retreat while travelling through beautiful New Zealand find ideal base in the well-equipped and conveniently located spaces of Sudima Christchurch... More
Offering a wide range of accommodation and recreational facilities, The Towers On The Park Christchurch Hotel, is ideal for family vacations or corporate outings. Tourists can visit Botanical... More
Hotel 115 is a contemporary hotel with chic accommodations that caters to discerning travellers exploring the heart of Christchurch. This boutique hotel places vacationers within four kilometres... More
Bealey Avenue Motel Christchurch offers modern and luxurious accommodation for corporates and family group travellers for a relaxing night's stay. This property is within easy walk to the Square,... More
Featuring deluxe accommodations and central location, The George Hotel Christchurch makes for an ideal retreat for business and leisure travellers while visiting Christchurch. Tourists at this... More
Discerning travellers find ideal base at the elegant accommodations of Rydges Latimer Christchurch set in the heart of Christchurch. Vacationers at this contemporary property can see the exhibits... More
Avalon Court Accommodation Christchurch is the right choice for those who are looking for quality accommodation and service with pleasant atmosphere. The Robert McDougall Art Gallery in... More