Located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch is the largest city on the island and has a rich English heritage. Despite being hit by two devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the city has rebuilt itself back through urban regeneration and features New Age architecture, creative street art, and pretty green urban spaces along the banks of the Avon River, which bisects the city. Some of the South Island’s most beautiful natural landscapes are within close reach of the city such as the famous Canterbury Plains, the Banks Peninsula, and the majestic Southern Alps. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Christchurch Botanic Gardens
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is home to an array of beautifully preserved gardens and conservatories, New Zealand blooms and native trees, and exquisite flowering and fragrant herb gardens. Established in 1863, the arboretum began as a single English oak tree that was planted to celebrate the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark and has grown into one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants in the country. Other notable attractions in the park include the early 1900s Peacock Fountain, the original Curator’s House, which is now a casual restaurant serving light fare, and the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.
Rolleston Ave, Christchurch City Centre Christchurch, 8013, New Zealand, Phone: +64-39-41-89-99
2.The TranzAlpine Train
The TranzAlpine Train and rail journey is an epic train adventure that travels through spectacular natural landscapes between Christchurch and Greymouth. The five-hour journey covers 139 miles of incredible terrain in the South Island’s West Coast region, including the splendid Canterbury Plains, vast tracts of native beech forest, the winding glacier ice-fed Waimakariri River, and the majestic Southern Alps. The TranzAlpine rail journey operates daily.
Christchurch Railway Station, Troup Drive, Addington Christchurch, 8011, New Zealand
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© Colin & Linda McKie/stock.adobe.com
Hagley Park is a vast urban green space with large open spaces and towering trees that offers a tranquil area with numerous recreational facilities for the public to enjoy. Established in 1855 by the Provincial Government, the 165-hectare park was named after the country estate of the same name owned by Lord Lyttelton. Bisected by Riccarton Avenue and interlaced with the Avon River, which winds its way through the park, Hagley Park offers an array of recreational activities, including jogging, cycling, picnicking, boating and kayaking on the river. The park also has facilities for petanque, croquet, golf, netball, and tennis.
14 Riccarton Avenue, Christchurch Central Christchurch, 8011, New Zealand
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4.Bridge of Remembrance
The Bridge of Remembrance is a famous memorial dedicated to the soldiers who died in the First World War and honors the memory of those who took part in following wars and conflicts like the Second World War, Borneo, Malaya, Korea, and Vietnam. Built in 1873 by civil engineer Edward George Wright, the Bridge of Remembrance spans the Avon River, connecting Cashel Street to the Oxford and Cambridge Terraces and was pedestrianized on Anzac Day in 1977. The Bridge of Remembrance is one of two such memorials in the city.
Cashel Street, Christchurch, 8011, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-79-96-29
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5.Godley Head - Awaroa
Godley Head is a projecting headland at the entrance of the Lyttelton Harbour that offers a spectacular coastal walk with scenic views. Also known as Awaroa or Otokitoki to the Maori, or Cachalot Head as it was called by early French explorers, the peninsula is named after John Robert Godley, founder of Christchurch. The headland is a nationally significant heritage site with the remains of a distinguished World War II coastal defense battery and historic military buildings and features a network of scenic walking trails that boast unfettered views of Lyttelton Harbour, Taylor’s Mistake, New Brighton Beach, and the city.
Sumner, Christchurch, 8081, New Zealand
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6.Victoria Clock Tower
Standing sentry in the heart of Christchurch, the Victoria Clock Tower is an architectural landmark and much-loved icon of the city. Also known as the Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower, the heritage-registered clock tower was designed by Benjamin Mountfort, constructed in Coventry, England in 1860 and sent to Christchurch in 142 packages. The clock tower was seriously damaged during the earthquake that hit the city in 2011, which stopped the clock face at 12:51. After being lovingly restored to its former glory, the Clock Tower was fitted with a time capsule for future generations to discover. The Victoria Clock Tower now stands proudly on the corner of Montreal and Victoria Streets.
95 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central Christchurch, 8013, New Zealand, Phone: +64-39-41-89-99
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7.Riccarton House & Bush
© Riccarton House & Bush
Riccarton House & Bush is a historic 12-acre New Zealand heritage site that features two landmark buildings, one of which is the Riccarton House, and beautifully manicured gardens and grounds. Forming part of the Riccarton estate, the elegant Victorian-Edwardian homestead was built in three stages from 1856 to 1900 for the Deans family, who were the primary pioneers of the Canterbury region. The estate is bordered by the River Avon and native floodplain forests of centuries-old Kahikatea trees that were established in the area over 3,000 years ago.
16 Kahu Road, Riccarton Christchurch, 8041, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-41-10-18
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8.International Antarctic Centre
The International Antarctic Centre is an interactive museum that takes visitors on a journey to Antarctica, immersing them into the world’s coldest and most remote continent. Located at the International Airport, the center features a range of exhibits and immersive experiences including off-road Hägglund vehicle rides, meeting Huskies, mingling with little blue penguins, and feeling the cold in an indoor Antarctic Storm simulation room. The center is an educational institution for all ages that aims to teach visitors about the fragile environment in Antarctica, the wildlife and ecosystems that call it home, and the human impact on the continent. The International Antarctic Centre is home to the New Zealand, Italian, and American Antarctic Programs.
38 Orchard Road, Christchurch, 8052, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-57-05-19
9.Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
The Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is one of the comprehensive native wildlife parks in New Zealand, offering visitors an up-close experience with some of the country’s rare endemic species. Founded in 1974 by the Willis family, the nature reserve highlights the natural heritage of New Zealand through innovative exhibits and personal interactive experiences and boasts an exceptional display of native species. Willowbank is home to over 50 different animal species, including rare and endangered farm species, such as Arapawa Island goats, Kune Kune pigs, Auckland Island pigs, Damara sheep, and Enderby Island rabbits. The reserve runs a breeding program for kiwis and has a glass-free nocturnal house for the protected birds. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve also takes part in a variety of conservation programs, educational workshops, and rescue initiatives.
60 Hussey Road, Northwood Christchurch, 8051, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-59-62-26
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10.Isaac Theatre Royal
© Isaac Theatre Royal
The Isaac Theatre Royal is a beautifully restored Historical Edwardian Heritage Theatre that hosts an array of performances throughout the year. Opened in 1908 and formerly known as the Theatre Royal, the historic Edwardian-style theater is the only operational one of its kind and is the premier venue for the theatrical arts industry in Christchurch. The grand old lady has 1,266 seats over three levels and is home to several top national performing arts companies and hosts a variety of musicals, recitals, concerts, and community events throughout the year.
145 Gloucester Street, Christchurch Central Christchurch, 8011, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-66-63-26
11.Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park
The Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park is a 140-acre freshwater wetland and ecological restoration program in Burwood that provides a vital habitat for native wetland fauna and flora. Located in the heart of an urban area north-east Christchurch, the wetland was transformed from a dairy farm into an important site for the conservation of local and regional wetland plants. The park is home to a variety of rare species such as the tall baumea reed, manuka, a spider orchid, along with grasses, rushes, ferns, sedges, raupo and New Zealand flax. The park has a network of boarded walkways for walking, jogging, and wildlife watching.
280 Beach Road, Burwood Christchurch, 8083, New Zealand, Phone: +64-39-41-89-99
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12.Christchurch Art Gallery - Te Puna o Waiwhetu
© Christchurch Art Gallery - Te Puna o Waiwhetu
The Christchurch Art Gallery - Te Puna o Waiwhetu, otherwise known as the Christchurch Art Gallery, houses a substantial art collection of local and international works. Based in a striking building with a dramatic glass façade on Montreal Street, the museum hosts a comprehensive exhibition program of national and international exhibitions throughout the year. The Christchurch Art Gallery also hosts a range of lectures, symposiums, artist’s talks, films, and special art-related events.
Montreal Street, Christchurch Central, 8013, New Zealand, Phone: +64-39-41-73-00
The Canterbury Museum is a world-renowned institution dedicated to the natural history of Canterbury and houses the world’s largest collection of artifacts from Antarctica. Established in 1867, the museum is located on Rolleston Avenue next to the Botanical Gardens and features several galleries displaying a wealth of artifacts relating to the human and natural history of the region. Notable attractions in the museum include artifacts and tools from the early Maori tribes; Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House created with more than 1,000 paua shells; and exhibits on the heroic explorers of Antarctica.
Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch Central Christchurch, 8013, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-66-50-00
14.Air Force Museum of New Zealand
© Air Force Museum of New Zealand
The Air Force Museum of New Zealand is dedicated to preserving the history of New Zealand’s aviation and military. Formerly known as the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum, the cultural institution is situated at Wigram, the site of Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) first operational base and is spread across six different buildings. The museum features a comprehensive collection of historic artifacts spanning from the early days of New Zealand military aviation to the present day and includes aircraft engines, aircraft components, art and memorabilia, objects from former enemy forces, and actual aircraft. The museum also has an extensive archive of photographs, documents, and papers, and visitors can enjoy guided tours and a ride in a Mosquito Flight Simulator.
45 Harvard Avenue, Wigram Christchurch, 8042, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-43-95-32
15.King of Snake
© King of Snake
King of Snake is a fine-dining restaurant in the heart of Christchurch Central that offers diners an unforgettable Asian fusion experience. Featuring rich red-accented interiors, dark wood finishes, purple skull-patterned wallpaper, and glimmering gold tiles, the hip restaurant and cocktail bar has an exotic and intimate ambiance. An innovative fusion menu boasts a blend of Eastern and Oriental flavors ranging from India to Thailand with signature dishes like crispy roasted duck with caramelized mandarin sauce, beef cheek Penang curry, and prawn Pad Thai with tofu and mung beans. The bar menu features champagne and wine by the glass and bottle, classic cocktails, and global beers. King of Snake is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
145 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central City Christchurch, Canterbury, 8013, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-65-73-63
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16.The Lotus-Heart Vegetarian Restaurant
© The Lotus-Heart Vegetarian Restaurant
The Lotus-Heart Vegetarian Restaurant is a vegan and vegetarian-centric restaurant that focuses on serving fresh, made-from-scratch fare prepared with locally sourced organic and naturally grown ingredients. Dedicated to healthy and environmentally conscious eating, the restaurant serves a menu vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and raw dishes, along with separate garlic and onion-free menus on request. Natural ingredients like free-range eggs, raw sugar, organic honey, organic natural salt, and omega-rich and virgin oils are used to prepare a range of dishes, and a wide range of hot and cold drinks including fresh juices, superfood smoothies, specialty drinks, coffee, and tea is offered with the food. The Lotus-Heart Vegetarian Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, daily.
363 St Asaph Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-77-27-27
17.Twenty Seven Steps
© Twenty Seven Steps
Twenty Seven Steps is a locally owned eatery that celebrates the bounty of New Zealand with a menu of traditional and contemporary cuisine. Run by Emma and Paul Mettrick, the restaurant is situated in a historic building on New Regent Street with large arched windows, a spacious dining room with stylish décor, retro lighting, and a sophisticated ambiance. A creative and seasonal menu features hearty traditional European fare with a modern touch, prepared from scratch using fresh local ingredients like hand-raised lamb and beef, and sustainably caught seafood. The wine list focuses on local producers, and a good selection of craft beer and signature cocktails are also on offer. Twenty Seven Steps is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday.
16 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central City Christchurch, Canterbury, 8011, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-66-27-27
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© Bacon Brothers
Bacon Brothers is all about the best burgers in town. Tucked in a trendy district of the city, the cozy, locally owned eatery opened five years ago at the Christchurch Farmers’ Market with just a humble bacon sandwich on the menu and has grown into one of the most popular burger brands in the country. Fresh, organic ingredients are sourced from the Christchurch Farmers’ Market, including free-range bacon and eggs, and freshly made bread and the menu features a wide range of standard and one-of-a-kind burgers and unique sides like deep-fried cauliflower. Bacon Brothers operates at the Christchurch Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and is open at The Little High Eatery on High Street for brunch, lunch, and dinner, daily.
181 High Street, Christchurch Central City Christchurch, Canterbury, 8011, New Zealand, Phone: +64-212-87-43-75
19.Nobanno Restaurant Bar Cafe
© Nobanno Restaurant Bar Café
Nobanno Restaurant Bar Café is a modern Bengali (Bangladeshi) restaurant on Riccarton Road in Christchurch. The first and only restaurant of its kind in the city, Nobanno serves a variety of traditional Bengali cuisine with a modern twist, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients and a hand-picked selection of aromatic Asian herbs and spices. A full-service bar offers a selection of tap and bottled beers, freshly brewed espresso coffee, and other non-alcoholic beverages, and the restaurant offers dine-in and takeaway services. Nobanno Restaurant Bar Café is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
91 Riccarton Road, Riccarton Christchurch, Canterbury, 8011, New Zealand
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© Chillingworth Road
Located in the upper Cranford Street strip mall in Redwood, Chillingworth Road is a chic Kiwi eatery that offers an unforgettable dining experience. Helmed by award-winning chef Darren and his expert team, the restaurant offers á la carte dinner and five-, seven- or nine-course degustation menus with wine pairings, which can be enjoyed in the beautifully appointed formal dining room adorned with elegant chandeliers, dark wooden tables, and plush seating. Menus feature innovative dishes of classic European influenced by seasonal New Zealand ingredients such as fresh sustainably caught seafood, hand-raised lamb and beef, and the cuisine is accompanied a selection of fine wines from local New Zealand wine estates. Chillingworth Road is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Monday through Friday and dinner only on Saturday.
478 Cranford Street, Redwood Christchurch, Canterbury, 8051, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-52-77-84
21.Dimitris Greek Food
© Dimitris Greek Food
Dimitris Greek Food brings a slice of Greece to the heart of Christchurch. Founded in 1985, the family-owned restaurant is based at the Riverside Market and serves traditional street-style souvlakis with zesty sauces and wrapped in freshly baked pitas. The iconic establishment is renowned for its hearty portions of juicy meat and fresh, locally sourced vegetables stuffed into pitas and topped with traditional homemade sauces. Dimitris Greek Food serves lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
86 Riccarton Road, Riccarton Christchurch, 8011, New Zealand, Phone: +33-77-71-10
Housed in a beautifully preserved historic Old Government Building, O.G.B. is an elegant restaurant and cocktail bar with a speakeasy charm that serves traditional entree-main-dessert menus in the formal dining room and light bites and sharing plates at the bar. Boasting beautiful views of the Christchurch cathedral, the restaurant is ideal for a long lazy brunch with friends or a romantic dinner for two with delectable dishes like goat’s cheese salad with beetroot and avocado purée and six-hour beef cheek with blackened eggplant. The bar offers an innovative cocktail menu, along with New Zealand wines, local craft beers, and mimosas for Sunday brunches. O.G.B is open for dinner only Monday through Friday and brunch, lunch, and dinner on the weekends.
30, 28 Cathedral Square, Christchurch Central City Christchurch, Canterbury, 8011, New Zealand, Phone: +64-33-77-43-36
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22 Best Things to Do in Christchurch, New Zealand
- Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Photo: momo11353/stock.adobe.com
- The TranzAlpine Train, Photo: daboost/stock.adobe.com
- Hagley Park, Photo: Colin & Linda McKie/stock.adobe.com
- Bridge of Remembrance, Photo: nickichen/stock.adobe.com
- Godley Head - Awaroa, Photo: Steve/stock.adobe.com
- Victoria Clock Tower, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Riccarton House & Bush, Photo: Riccarton House & Bush
- International Antarctic Centre, Photo: bebeball/stock.adobe.com
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Photo: Francesco/stock.adobe.com
- Isaac Theatre Royal, Photo: Isaac Theatre Royal
- Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park, Photo: Prestonia/stock.adobe.com
- Christchurch Art Gallery - Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Photo: Christchurch Art Gallery - Te Puna o Waiwhetu
- Canterbury Museum, Photo: ThoreHertrampf/stock.adobe.com
- Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Photo: Air Force Museum of New Zealand
- King of Snake, Photo: King of Snake
- The Lotus-Heart Vegetarian Restaurant, Photo: The Lotus-Heart Vegetarian Restaurant
- Twenty Seven Steps, Photo: Twenty Seven Steps
- Bacon Brothers, Photo: Bacon Brothers
- Nobanno Restaurant Bar Cafe, Photo: Nobanno Restaurant Bar Café
- Chillingworth Road, Photo: Chillingworth Road
- Dimitris Greek Food, Photo: Dimitris Greek Food
- O.G.B., Photo: O.G.B.
- Cover Photo: Cezary Wojtkowski/stock.adobe.com
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