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Christchurch

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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 History

  • 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.

Christchurch Shopping

  • 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.

Christchurch Outdoor

  • 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.

Christchurch Sport

  • 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.

Christchurch Events

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).

Getting Around

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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Hotels in Christchurch

Recommended hotels

From US$57

1 Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch

4 stars
4.7 / 5 40 reviews

166 Gloucester Street Map

Stay 3 Nights & Save 20%

Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch is a centrally located contemporary base offering style and comfort to business and leisure travellers visiting Christchurch. Tourists exploring the South Island of... More

Birthday party
The location is a little tricky to get to with all the works going on the roading with roads one way or blocked .Staff were helpful .
29 Jun 2015
From US$44

2 BreakFree on Cashel

3 stars
Not yet reviewed

165 Cashel Street Map

Book Now & Save 15%

Featuring well-appointed accommodations set in the heart of the city, BreakFree on Cashel makes for a suitable base for Christchurch travellers. Visitors at this cosy hotel can first have fun at... More

From US$67

3 The Towers On The Park

4 stars
4.0 / 5 25 reviews

7 Kilmarnock Street, Riccarton Map

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

Stay at Towers
The rooms were spacious and clean. We booked two rooms, one the spa unit, unfortunately the water ran cold before the spa was full, very disappointing! Also I left to pick up the couple staying in...
2 Jun 2015
From US$82

4 Chateau On The Park Christchurch

4 stars
4.5 / 5 75 reviews

189 Deans Avenue Map

Includes Full Buffet Breakfast

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

Great place to stay.
Very comfortable and great place to stay. Only drawback is the dining room ambience is a bit ordinary although the food is good.
26 Apr 2015
From US$68

5 Sudima Christchurch Airport

3 stars
4.3 / 5 138 reviews

Corner Memorial Avenue & Orchard Road Map

Book Now & Save 10%

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

ok for transfer
Stayed one night while having airport stop over. Hotel is quite old and slowly being renovated but ok for what we needed
20 Jun 2015
From US$166

6 The George Christchurch

5 stars
4.9 / 5 7 reviews

50 Park Terrace Map

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

Very helpful staff - they were welcoming warm and so helpful.
Great experience - breakfast v expensive though. Girl at reception v helpful with scanning a document for me - wish I knew her name because she was wonderful / she was on reception at 930 on the 8th
8 Jan 2015
From US$66

7 Ramada Suites Christchurch City

4 stars
Not yet reviewed

264-266 Tuam Street Map

Stay in the heart of Christchurch Ramada Christchurch offers self-contained accommodation located in central Christchurch. These air-conditioned apartments feature a fully equipped kitchen,... More

From US$75

8 Pavilions Hotel Christchurch

4 stars
4.1 / 5 12 reviews

42 Papanui Road Map

Providing exceptional value, courteous service and comfortable accommodation, Pavilions Hotel Christchurch is an ideal place to take in the view and venture out the exciting attractions of the... More

Frustrated and Disappointed
I was very disappointed by the poor customer service provided by the hotel. The in-room Wi-Fi wasn't working and I requested to the duty manager for a room change. Initially, he told me it was not...
16 Jun 2015
From US$56

9 Bealey Avenue Motel

4 stars
4.1 / 5 42 reviews

229 Bealey Avenue Map

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

Business Room
Good standard central motel. Nothing flash but certainly more than adequate. In this colder weather the addition of a heat pump rather than a panel heater which is pretty slow to warm things up on...
19 Jun 2015
From US$61

10 Southwark Apartments

4 stars
4.0 / 5 13 reviews

25 Southwark Street Map

Book Now & Save!

Featuring upscale self-contained units and modern amenities in the heart of Christchurch, Southwark Apartments makes for an ideal base for travellers on short or extended trips in this side of New... More

wonderful stay, definitely be back
It was a last minute booking, as was not planning to stay in Christchurch. We couldn't have chosen better. Warm, clean and comfortable
29 May 2015
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