Christchurch (Māori: Ōtautahi) is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the second most-populous urban area in the country. As well as having the most attractions of any place in the South Island, it's the major international entry point for visiting the rest of the island. It is on the east coast of the South Island, and is the centre of the Canterbury region.

Christchurch is rebuilding after an earthquake in February 2011 that severely damaged it. The city is back in business and open to visitors – you will just encounter construction sites, roadworks and vacant land (often used as temporary car parks) as you travel around.


Christchurch has a rich English heritage. This especially shows in the older buildings, especially in the cultural precinct along Worcester Boulevard (which is open from the Avon River towards the west), where most heritage buildings remain. The Avon River flows through the central city and disrupts the regular rectangular layout of the city streets.

Christchurch is known as the Garden City, a well-deserved name. Looking from a few floors up, one is struck by the number of trees that grow like a forest throughout the suburbs.


The quake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral in 2015
ChristChurch Cathedral in 2008

The Canterbury Association was established in London in 1848, with the intent of settling English emigrants in what was to become Christchurch and the Canterbury region. The city's name was chosen on 27 March 1848, named after the Christ Church college at the University of Oxford. The first settlers arrived in the future Christchurch in December 1850. Christchurch was declared a city in 1856, New Zealand's first. Construction began on the landmark ChristChurch Cathedral in 1864; the cathedral was completed and consecrated in 1881.

At 4:35AM on Saturday, 4 September 2010, the city and region was hit by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, located 10 km deep and 40 km west of the city centre. Parts of the city were damaged, but there were no fatalities. However, 5½ months later, at 12:51PM on Tuesday, 22 February 2011, a magnitude 6.3 aftershock struck 10 km south of the city centre at 5 km deep. Already damaged buildings collapsed, killing 185 people, 115 of which resulted from the six-storey Canterbury Television building collapsing and catching fire. Many other central city buildings, old and new, were damaged beyond repair and were subsequently demolished. The landmark ChristChurch Cathedral lost its spire tower and most of its western facade. Liquefaction severely affected the eastern suburbs, resulting in 10,000 homes having to be abandoned due to land damage (the "residential red zone"). Some residents moved out of the city after the quake – many moved out to the Waimakariri and Selwyn Districts north and south of the city respectively, and some moved to other areas in Canterbury and further afield.

A very hip scene has developed in some of the suburbs close to the centre, and many 'gapfiller' projects (as part of the earthquake recovery) are stunning. In 2013, Lonely Planet declared post-earthquake Christchurch as one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world.

In March 2019, an Australian man carried out a terrorist attack on two mosques in the city, killing 51 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern New Zealand history. He has been sentenced to life in prison. The attacks resulted in a significant tightening of gun laws in New Zealand.


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Source: NIWA
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

Like the rest of New Zealand, Christchurch has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, mild to warm summers, cool winters, and rainfall evenly distributed throughout the year. The city is the driest of New Zealand's major cities with only 630 mm of rain per year, half of what Auckland and Wellington receive. This is due to the city being in the lee of the Southern Alps, which blocks the moist westerly winds off the Tasman Sea and causes the moisture to fall back as rain on the West Coast. The Southern Alps also causes a hot and strong foehn wind, locally known as the "Nor'wester", to blow across Christchurch and the Canterbury plains. The Nor'wester is most pronounced in summer and can cause temperatures in Christchurch to soar over 35 °C (95 °F). Christchurch occasionally receives snow during winter; on average one significant snowfall occurs in the city every 1 to 3 years.

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

There are two regular public bus services from the airport to the city centre. The number 29 bus travels via Fendalton, while the number 3 bus travels via the University of Canterbury and Riccarton. The 30-min trip costs $4.00 (or $2.00 with a Metrocard) and between the two routes buses operate every 15-30 minutes during the day, 7 days a week. A door-to-door shuttle service to all parts of Christchurch is available; the price to the city centre is $24 for the first person and $5 for each additional person travelling to the same destination. Taxi stands (about $45-65 to the city centre) and rental car parks are close to the terminal building.
If you have a few hours to spare and no heavy luggage, you can walk to the airport. There is a footpath alongside Fendalton Road/Memorial Avenue all the way to the airport and the 8 km walk through residential neighbourhoods is quite pleasant.

By car[edit]

Christchurch lies at the intersection of State Highways 1 and 73. State Highways 1, 74 and 76 form a ring road through the outer suburbs of the city.

From the Upper South Island, follow State Highway 1 southbound through Waipara, Amberley, Woodend and Kaiapoi to approach Christchurch from the north.

From the West Coast, follow State Highway 73 over Arthur's Pass and via Darfield and West Melton to approach Christchurch from the west. Alternatively, you can follow State Highway 7 over the Lewis Pass, meeting State Highway 1 at Waipara and approaching Christchurch from the north.

From the Lower South Island, follow State Highway 1 northbound through Ashburton and Rolleston to approach Christchurch from the south-west.

Typical distances and non-stop travel times to Christchurch are:

  • Picton – 340 km, 6hr (via Kaikoura); 480 km, 7hr (via Lewis Pass)
  • Blenheim – 310 km, 5hr 30min (via Kaikoura); 450 km, 6hr 30 min (via Lewis Pass)
  • Nelson – 420 km, 6hr (via Lewis Pass)
  • Greymouth – 240 km, 3hr 15min
  • Timaru – 170 km, 2hr 15min
  • Dunedin – 360 km, 4hr 30 min
  • Queenstown – 480 km, 6hr
  • Invercargill – 570 km, 7hr

By bus[edit]

National operator InterCity provide multiple daily connections to destinations throughout the South Island. There are daily bus services to and from Picton to the north, Dunedin, Queenstown and Mt Cook to the south, and the West Coast (Greymouth, Hokitika). The bus stop is outside the Bus Interchange on Lichfield Street, and there is an Intercity office inside the Interchange. Newmans Coach Lines buses (to Tekapo/Queenstown) depart from outside Canterbury Museum in Rolleston Ave, nearest the Worcester Boulevard intersection.

Smaller shuttle operators also operate from Christchurch:

By train[edit]

See also: Rail travel in New Zealand
Coastal Pacific train at Christchurch station
  • 2 Christchurch railway station, Troup Drive, Addington (adjacent to Tower Junction shopping centre). Shuttles from the station are chargeable, or you can walk into town along the edge of Hagley Park in about 45 minutes. The station has limited facilities. Christchurch railway station (Q5109090) on Wikidata Christchurch Railway Station (New Zealand) on Wikipedia
The TranzAlpine can take you coast-to-coast between Christchurch and Greymouth, a town on the West Coast. This scenic train journey can be done as a day trip. The train departs from Christchurch daily at 8:15AM, arriving at Greymouth at 12:45PM, then leaves Greymouth at 1:45PM, getting back to Christchurch at 6:05PM. During the trip you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains, followed by spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. The train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to Greymouth.
The Coastal Pacific runs between Picton and Christchurch. At Picton the Coastal Pacific connects with the Cook Strait ferries from Wellington in the North Island. The train departs Christchurch at 7AM and arrives in Picton at 1:15PM, connecting with the 2PM ferry to Wellington. The 9AM ferry from Wellington connects with the train departing Picton at 2:15PM and arriving in Christchurch at 8:30PM. Canterbury Shuttles pick-ups for the Coastal Pacific are 6-6:30AM.

Get around[edit]

Christchurch is mostly flat with a grid-pattern layout, so navigation by road is generally simple. The central city is contained by the "four avenues" – Bealey Ave in the north, Fitzgerald Ave in the east, Deans Ave in the west, and Moorhouse Ave in the south. Watch out for one-way streets and bus-and-taxi-only intersections in the central city.

By bike[edit]

Many people get around on bicycles, and special-purpose bicycle lanes have been added to many streets to help promote cycling. The city is more bike-friendly than many other New Zealand cities and almost all Australian cities. The Central City also has a uniform 30 km/h limit on all streets, which means that it is mostly safe to cycle even on the main street. Drivers in general are also a bit friendlier toward cyclists compared to other cities in the region.

By car[edit]

Parking in the city uses a pay and display system and costs $2.60/hour. You can pay with coins, credit card (Visa, MasterCard or AmEx) or with a mobile phone text message (the latter two attract a 50c surcharge) then display the ticket with the expiry time visible on the kerbside dash. Rental cars are available. Most depots are on the airport side of town, with just a few near the CBD.

By tram[edit]

The city has a small heritage tram loop, best regarded as an attraction rather than a transport system due to its small size of coverage, high price ($35 day pass for adults, free for children), limited hours, and odd choice of route (it is faster to walk in most instances).

By bus[edit]

A public bike repair station

The city bus service is called Metro. Buses interconnect through the 3 Bus Interchange on Lichfield St, just east of Colombo St. A standard cash bus fare within the city is $4 or $2 with a Metrocard. The Metrocard costs $5 and needs to be topped up with a minimum of $5, its purchase will then cost you $10. By using the card you will travel for free the same day after paying two trips, and a maximum cost of $16 per week. Services cover the whole city and areas of interest for a visitor that lie outside the central city, such as Sumner and New Brighton beaches, Lyttelton, and the Gondola.

The core bus network has four cross-city routes and a circular route through the inner suburbs. Buses on these routes run every 15 minutes during the day, seven days a week. The four cross-city routes converge at the Bus Interchange.

# Route Name Start Major destinations End Notes
Or Orbiter Eastgate Mall St Martins Shops, Princess Margaret Hospital, Barrington Mall, Riccarton Mall, Canterbury University, Northlands Mall, The Palms Mall Eastgate Mall
1 Rangiora –


Princess Margaret Hospital

or Cashmere

Sydenham Shops, Bus Interchange, Bealey Ave, Northlands Mall Belfast or

Rangiora via


1x Rangiora – City


Ara Institute Bus Interchange, Bealey Ave, Northlands Mall, Belfast, Kaiapoi Rangiora Weekdays only
3 Airport/Sheffield

Crescent – Sumner

Airport or Sheffield Crescent Avonhead Mall, Canterbury University, Riccarton Mall, Chch Hospital, Bus Interchange, Ara Institute, Ferrymead Shops Sumner
5 Rolleston/New Brighton The Hub Hornby or

Rolleston via Templeton

Church Corner, Riccarton Mall, Chch Hospital, Bus Interchange, Fitzgerald Ave, Eastgate Mall New Brighton
5x Rolleston/New Brighton Rolleston Templeton, Hornby Hub, Church Corner, Riccarton Mall, Chch Hospital, Bus Interchange Ara Institute Weekdays only
7 Halswell/Queenspark Halswell Addington, Chch Hospital, Bus Interchange, The Palms Mall, Burwood Hospital Queenspark
  • Route 1 - Runs north–south between Belfast and Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH). Every other service continues north of Belfast to Kaiapoi and Rangiora, and every other service continues south of PMH to Cashmere. Connects with Orbiter at Northlands (north) and PMH (south).
  • Route 3 - Runs northwest–southeast between the Airport or Sheffield Crescent (alternating services) and Sumner. Connects with Orbiter at University of Canterbury and Westfield Riccarton.
  • Route 5 - Runs west–east between Hornby and New Brighton. Every other service continues west of Hornby to Rolleston. Connects with the Orbiter at Westfield Riccarton (west) and Eastgate Mall (east).
  • Route 7 - Runs south-west-northeast between Halswell and Queenspark. Connects with Orbiter at The Palms Mall.
  • The Orbiter (Or, green) - Runs a circular route through the inner suburbs, starting and ending at Eastgate.

In some areas buses may be infrequent, particularly at the weekend, when there may only be one or two buses per hour.

  • Metro Info, Bus Interchange, cnr Lichfield St and Colombo St, +64 3 366 8855. M-F 7:30AM–6PM, Sa Su 9AM–5PM.

By scooter[edit]

  • Lime and Beam electric scooters can be hired by the minute using a phone app. They do not come with safety equipment such as helmets. Pedestrians may need to watch out for inexperienced riders.


Art centres[edit]

Interior of the Great Hall of the Arts Centre
  • 1 Arts Centre, Worcester Blvd, Central City. Gothic Revival stonework of former University campus. This area was damaged during the 22 Feb 2011 earthquake. By late 2022 reconstruction work was mostly complete, with two buildings still to be restored. The beauty and historical significance of these building can be appreciated by viewing them from surrounding streets such as Worcester Blvd and Hereford St, or from the internal courtyard. Four art galleries, the Great Hall (and the courtyard outside) and Rutherford's Den (donation requested), an exhibition on physics, are open. If you want to stay, the Observatory Hotel has 33 upmarket rooms. Centre entry free. Christchurch Arts Centre (Q863801) on Wikidata Christchurch Arts Centre on Wikipedia
Christchurch Art Gallery
  • 2 Christchurch Art Gallery, Worcester Blvd and Montreal St (one block east of Botanic Gardens), +64 3 941-7300. Th-Tu 10AM-5PM, W 10AM-9PM. Spectacular $47-million facility opened in 2003, the largest in the South Island, with over 5000 items and visiting exhibitions. The gallery reopened in Dec 2015, after 5 years of being a Civil Defence Centre and then repairs. You can store your suitcase at the reception, so it is a nice place to go in the morning if you are leaving in the afternoon. Usually free. Christchurch Art Gallery (Q5109058) on Wikidata Christchurch Art Gallery on Wikipedia

Cathedrals and churches[edit]

  • 3 Cardboard Cathedral (Transitional Cathedral), 234 Hereford St, Central City, +64 3 366 0046. Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, well known for his use of cardboard elements in buildings, the cathedral was completed in August 2013 to serve as the Anglican cathedral while ChristChurch Cathedral is rebuilt. It is built on the site of St Johns church, which was demolished after being severely damaged in the 2011 quake. Cardboard Cathedral (Q15207543) on Wikidata Cardboard Cathedral on Wikipedia
St Michael and All Angels Church
  • 4 St Michael and All Angels Church, 86-90 Oxford Terrace. Services Su 8AM, 10AM, 7PM; M-F 9AM; and for viewing at other times. This wooden Anglican church dating from 1872 suffered only minor quake damage (it was closed for three months). It has an unusual separate bell tower. Church of St Michael and All Angels (Q5117629) on Wikidata Church of St Michael and All Angels, Christchurch on Wikipedia


  • 5 Air Force Museum, 45 Harvard Ave, Wigram (take Yellow or #80 bus from Central Station platform C), +64 3 343 9542. Daily 10AM–5PM. Opened in 1987 before the closure of the Christchurch RNZAF base, this museum has full-size replicas of fighting planes and dramatizes the history of New Zealand's Air Force from World War I to Vietnam and beyond. Free. Air Force Museum of New Zealand (Q4697927) on Wikidata Air Force Museum of New Zealand on Wikipedia
  • 6 Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Ave at end of Worcester Blvd (adjoining Botanic Gardens), +64 3 366-5000. Daily 9AM-5:30PM summer, 9AM-5PM winter. Includes colonial, Māori and natural history sections, Antarctic exploration display, and visiting exhibitions. Admission free to main exhibits (but donation appreciated), $2 for Discovery children's section. Canterbury Museum (Q1033769) on Wikidata Canterbury Museum, Christchurch on Wikipedia
  • 7 International Antarctic Centre, 38 Orchard Rd, Christchurch Airport (take Purple or #29 bus from Central Station platform C), +64 3 357-0519, toll-free: 0508 736 4846. 1 Oct–30 Apr: daily 9AM–7PM; 1 May–30 Sep: daily 9AM–5:30PM. A world-class Antarctic experience with simulated polar weather, Hagglund All-Terrain Vehicle ride, penguins, extensive exhibits about Antarctic science missions, café and gift shop. $55, $36 child. Unlimited Hagglund all day rides $20, Penguin Backstage Pass $20, $15 child. International Antarctic Centre (Q6048193) on Wikidata International Antarctic Centre on Wikipedia
  • 8 Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities, 3 Hereford St, Arts Centre (entry off the South Quadrangle). W–Su, 11AM–3PM. A collection of artefacts from Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Near Eastern cultures. Free (suggested donation of $5 per adult).
  • 9 Yaldhurst Museum, Main West Rd (near the airport, first right past Yaldhurst Hotel), +64 3 342-7914. 10AM–5PM daily (5–9PM by arrangement for groups of 10 or more). Mostly interesting for its collection of over 150 classic and vintage vehicles. $20 adult, $5 child. Yaldhurst Museum (Q8047320) on Wikidata Yaldhurst Museum on Wikipedia

Earthquake tourism[edit]

Tours of affected sites are available. Visitors can also make their own way to sites of particular significance such as:

  • 10 Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. Dedicated to those who died or were injured in the 22 February 2011 earthquake. It is beside the Avon River, immediately downstream from Montreal St and upstream from Rhododendron Island in the Avon. Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial (Q28735451) on Wikidata Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial on Wikipedia
  • 185 Empty Chairs. Was an art work and memorial to the 185 people who died in the 22 February 2011 earthquake. The chairs were on the site of the demolished St Paul's Church, across the road from the site of the most casualties, the Canterbury Television building, where 115 people died. The chairs were removed in April 2023 and have been dispersed around the city; most are in private gardens, but a few may be visible. 185 chairs (Q31825029) on Wikidata 185 empty chairs on Wikipedia
  • 11 Site of Canterbury Television building. The site of the CTV building, where 115 people died was planted as a memorial garden in 2018. CTV Building (Q5014631) on Wikidata CTV Building on Wikipedia
  • 12 ChristChurch Cathedral, Cathedral Square, Central City. The Gothic revival cathedral was consecrated in 1881 as the seat of the Christchurch Anglican diocese. Damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, the cathedral sat largely untouched for years due to debate over what should be done with it. Removal of rubble commenced in late 2018 and rebuilding work is expected to take 10 years. ChristChurch Cathedral (Q1077977) on Wikidata ChristChurch Cathedral, Christchurch on Wikipedia
  • 13 Quake City, 299 Durham St N (near Tram Stop 16). Daily 10AM–5PM. Coordinated by Canterbury Museum, it has exhibits about earthquakes in Christchurch, particularly the quakes of 2010–11. Adult $20; free for children under 16.

Parks, gardens and memorial sites[edit]

Peacock Fountain at the Botanic Gardens
  • 14 Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave, Central City (car park entrance opposite Armagh St), +64 3 941 7590. Gates open 7AM until one hour before sunset, conservatories 10:15AM–4PM. Information centre open 10:15AM–4PM daily summer, 11AM-3PM winter. 30 hectares of exotic and indigenous plants and trees wrapped in a loop of the picturesque Avon River and linking to the 160-hectare Hagley Park. These put the "Garden" in the "Garden City", and the combined total with Hagley Park makes them the second largest inner city park in the world (after New York's Central Park). A new visitor centre and cafe opened in 2014. Free. Christchurch Botanic Gardens (Q1186086) on Wikidata Christchurch Botanic Gardens on Wikipedia
  • 15 Bridge of Remembrance, Cashel St. A memorial to those lost in World War I and subsequent conflicts. A memorial arch was added to an existing bridge over the River Avon in 1923-24. The arch was damaged in the 2011 quake and reopened after repairs on Anzac Day 2016. The bridge is open all the time to walk across, but has been closed to vehicles since 1976. Bridge of Remembrance (Q913658) on Wikidata Bridge of Remembrance on Wikipedia
  • 16 Ferrymead Heritage Park, Ferrymead Park Dr (off Bridal Path Rd; take Purple bus east to Ferrymead, then 20-min walk or change to #535 bus), +64 3 384 1970. 10AM–4:30PM daily. A recreated Edwardian township and museum with horse and carriage (daily), tram (weekends and school/public holidays) and train (first and third Sunday) rides. Not all attractions run at all times, due to the voluntary nature of the historical societies managing the park. Special events are often held and the park has been used to film the TV One reality show Colonial House. Admission price is based on whether trams/trains are operating or not, and include unlimited rides if available. Train & tram days, adult $30, student $25, child $15; tram, no train, days, adult $20, student $15, child $10. Ferrymead Heritage Park (Q5445548) on Wikidata Ferrymead Heritage Park on Wikipedia
Bridge of Remembrance and Avon River
  • 17 Orana Wildlife Park, McLeans Island Rd (10 min drive W of airport), +64 3 359-7109. Daily 10AM-5PM, last entrance 4:30PM. New Zealand's largest wildlife sanctuary and conservation project featuring endangered animals from around the world. The park's design minimises fences and cages in favour of natural boundaries and habitats. Lion Encounter (limited 20 tickets per day, participants must be above 1.4 metres in height). Adult $34.50, child $9.50. Orana Wildlife Park (Q15264222) on Wikidata Orana Wildlife Park on Wikipedia
  • 18 Riccarton Bush (Dean's Bush). The last remaining forest remnant on the Canterbury plains is in Christchurch city. If your time is limited in NZ, this is a great way to experience an example of the country's native forests. The circular track passes under tall kahikatea trees, and there is a diversity of small trees, shrubs, climbers and ferns. Christchurch's oldest house, Dean's Cottage (built 1843), is adjacent. Five minutes drive from central city and easily accessible by bus. Riccarton (Q7322943) on Wikidata Riccarton, New Zealand on Wikipedia
  • 19 Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, 60 Hussey Rd (off Gardiners Rd), +64 3 359 6226. Daily 10AM-10PM, kiwi viewing from 11AM. A smaller park than Orana, with a focus on New Zealand species including kiwi in a natural environment. The site also houses Ko Tāne replica Maori village which offers cultural performances and hangi dinners. $16, $8 child. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve (Q8022394) on Wikidata Willowbank Wildlife Reserve on Wikipedia
  • 20 Statue of James Cook, Victoria Square. Commemorating the 3 journeys of Captain James Cook to New Zealand. The statue was unveiled in 1932 and was moved to its present location in 1989. Cook Statue (Q5167005) on Wikidata Statue of James Cook, Christchurch on Wikipedia


  • 1 Antigua Boatsheds, 2 Cambridge Tce, Central City, +64 3 366-5885. Daily; summer 9:30AM-5:30PM, winter 9:30AM-5PM. Boat hire from historic British boatsheds for a hands-on water experience. $12/hr canoe, $25/half-hr rowboat, $25/half-hr paddle boat. Antigua Boat Sheds (Q575687) on Wikidata Antigua Boat Sheds on Wikipedia
  • 2 Christchurch Adventure Park, 225 Worsleys Rd, Cracroft. Very good mountain biking trails for advanced, intermediate and beginner bikers, and also zip-lines. Take the chairlift up then bike down. There are bike and gear rentals, lessons and skills clinics, and a cafe and bar. There are charges for the chairlift, rather than the biking as such – you can take the uphill trail for free.
  • 3 Christchurch Casino, 30 Victoria St, Central City, +64 3 365-9999. Daily except Good Friday, 25 Apr, 25 Dec. Dress code (jeans now allowed). You get a free meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) if it is your birthday (booking essential). Christchurch Casino (Q5109059) on Wikidata Christchurch Casino on Wikipedia
  • 4 Christchurch Gondola, 10 Bridle Path Rd, Heathcote Valley (take #28 bus southeast, or take Purple bus and change to #535 bus at Ferrymead), +64 3 384-0310. Daily except 25 Dec 10AM-5PM. Ride in an enclosed gondola car up to the summit of the Port Hills then view the Heritage Time Tunnel exhibit, take an outdoor nature walk, visit the cafe and shop. The trip takes 10 min but it is recommended to allow an hour all up. A shuttle bus runs daily from Cathedral Square (beside the tram stop). Adult $25, child (5-15 years) $12, passenger & own mountain bike $30, or with mountain bike hire $70. Discount of 10% when booking online 7 days in advance.
Punting on the Avon
  • Cricket: 5 Hagley Oval, 57 Riccarton Ave, +64 27 720 9221. With a capacity of 9000, this hosts Test matches, plus Canterbury Knights men's and Magicians women's teams.
  • 6 Garden City Helicopters, 515 Memorial Ave (next to Christchurch Airport), +64 3 358 4360, toll-free: 0800 359 424, . Scenic flights from 20 min to 3 hours. From $199.
  • 7 Punting on the Avon, 2 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch Central, +64 3 366 0337, . Punts depart from Antigua Boatsheds (see above). Glide down the river in Cambridge University style with a uniformed boatsman. $25.
  • 8 Summit Road. Drive it or bike it or take a bus then walk it. The road (and the Crater Rim Walkway) traverses the crest of the Port Hills, which separate Christchurch from Lyttelton Harbour. Breathtaking views over Christchurch, the Southern Alps, Pegasus Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula – often all from the same vantage point. Lots of sheep on the walkways, some of which traverse working farms. It is not possible to drive along all of Summit Rd because part is closed due to earthquake damage. The route passes through countryside that was badly burned by the Port Hill fires in Feb 2017.
  • 9 Tram ride. Sep-Mar: 9AM-6PM, Apr-Aug: 10AM-5PM. Runs every 8-10 mins on a loop in the central city that takes 25 min in total. Get on and off as you please with your day-long ticket. Adult $25, 15 years and under free (up to 3 children per adult).
  • 10 Christ's College, Rolleston Avenue. Oc–Apr: M-F 10AM. 80-minute tours of the independent (fee-paying) boarding school. The school was established in 1850 and follows the English public school model. The school has about 650 boys who wear a black and white striped blazer. Tour tickets can be bought from the i-Site. $10. Christ's College, Christchurch (Q5108634) on Wikidata Christ's College, Christchurch on Wikipedia
  • Golf: Clearwater GC is part of Peppers Resort on the riverside north of town.


One of Christchurch's trams
  • Electric Avenue. Music festival running in February in Hagley Park.
  • The World Buskers Festival. Runs for two weeks in January and usually features about 30 comedy, street, and circus acts from around the globe.
  • Kidsfest. July. During the midwinter school holiday. Programme is announced in early June.
  • Christchurch Arts Festival. The largest arts festival in the South Island, it takes place every second year around Aug-Sep. Next held 26 Jul – 4 Aug 2019.
  • Carnival Week. Centred on a number of events taking place in November - Guy Fawkes' night (a major public firework display at New Brighton Pier), the two New Zealand Cup (trotting and galloping) horse racing meetings, and the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral show, which is the largest in the country.
  • Carols by Candlelight. 24 Dec 21:00-22:00. A long-standing tradition on Christmas Eve.
  • Open Christchurch. 3-5 May 2024. Architecture festival giving an opportunity to see inside about 50 buildings, some require pre-booking.

See the Christchurch City Council website for a directory of smaller events.


Cardboard Cathedral interior

The famous Container Mall, a temporary replacement for the earthquake-damaged City Mall, closed in Jan 2018.

  • 1 Riverside, 100 Oxford Terrace (On Oxford Terrace / Lichfield St / Cashel St). Daily. Indoor market with fresh produce and food stalls - full of artwork, local products and seating areas
  • 2 Ballantynes, cnr Colombo and Cashel Sts (adjacent to Container Mall), +64 3 379 7400. M–F 9AM–5:30PM, Sa 9AM–5PM, Su 10AM–5PM. This major upmarket department store has been through its fair share of disasters – as well as the earthquakes of the 2010s, in 1947 the store was gutted by the deadliest fire in New Zealand history, with 41 deaths. Ballantynes (Q4851443) on Wikidata Ballantynes on Wikipedia
  • 3 Christchurch Farmers' Market, 16 Kahu Rd, Riccarton. Sa 9AM–noon. Meet the growers, farmers, brewers and other artisan producers. A lively affair in the grounds of Riccarton House.
  • 4 New Regent Street. A beautiful street of terraced Spanish Mission-style speciality shops that opened in 1932 and have reopened since the quake. The tram runs along the street. New Regent Street (Q23035615) on Wikidata New Regent Street on Wikipedia
  • Suburban malls include:
    • 5 Northlands Shopping Centre, 55 Main North Rd, Papanui (Blue or Orbiter bus), +64 3 352-6535. M–W Sa 09:00–18:00; Th F 09:00–21:00; Su 10:00–18:00. 135 stores over 42,000 m2, including Countdown, Farmers, Hoyts cinemas, Pak'nSave and The Warehouse.
    • 6 The Palms, cnr Marshland & New Brighton Rds, Shirley (Orange or Orbiter bus), +64 3 385-3067. M–W Sa 09:00–18:00, Th F 09:00–21:00, Su 10:00–18:00. 110 stores over 34,000 m2, including Countdown, Farmers and Reading Cinemas. The Palms Shopping Centre (Q7755971) on Wikidata The Palms Shopping Centre on Wikipedia
    • 7 Westfield Riccarton, 129 Riccarton Rd, Riccarton (Purple, Yellow or Orbiter bus), +64 3 983-4500. M–W Sa 09:00–18:00, Th F 09:00–21:00, Su 10:00–18:00. The South Island's oldest (1965) and largest (55,000 m2) mall. 200 stores, including Briscoes, Farmers, Hoyts cinemas, Kmart and Pak'nSave. Westfield Riccarton (Q7988735) on Wikidata Westfield Riccarton on Wikipedia
  • 8 Riccarton Rotary Market, Riccarton Racecourse, 146 Racecourse Rd, Sockburn. Su 09:00–14:00 (wet or fine). Selling all sorts of things from plants, fruit and vegetables to kiwi souvenirs and cheap Asian wares. Has performances, bouncy castles and food.



Fruit and vegetable shops offer locally grown high quality fresh produce for prices often much cheaper than supermarkets.

  • 1 Fresh Choice, Lichfield St (Across the road from the Bus Interchange). The most central supermarket, but also the smallest, and not the cheapest.
  • 2 Countdown, cnr Moorhouse Ave & Madras St. Daily 7AM-11PM. Supermarket.
  • 3 New World, South City Mall, 555 Colombo St. Daily 7:30AM-9PM. Supermarket in a small shopping centre which also has The Warehouse.
  • 4 Pak'n'Save, 297 Moorhouse Ave. Daily 7AM-11PM. The cheapest supermarket chain overall, but may not have as wide a range as Countdown and New World.
  • 5 Aha Wildlife Bakery, 100 Oxford Terrace (Inside Riverside Market), . Daily 7AM-6PM. Wildlife themed bakery shop - bakes delicious animal-shaped bread and cookies fresh on the market. Try a kiwi, have a whale - and enjoy the artwork on the walls! 10.
  • 6 Funky Pumpkin, 290 Colombo St, Sydenham. Daily 8AM-6PM. Fresh fruit and vegetables and some meat.
  • 7 Holy Smoke, 650 Ferry Rd, Woolston (cnr Catherine St), +64 3 943-2222. Tu-Sa 9AM–3PM. Deli specialising in food that has been manuka-smoked in house. The smoked salmon alone is well worth the trip. (No longer has a restaurant.)


This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $15
Mid-range $15-30
Splurge Over $30

Fish'n'chips is the cheapest meal out.

The Asian district is mainly in the Riccarton/Upper Riccarton area. Church Corner is often considered the unofficial 'Chinatown'. It has Chinese supermarkets, all kinds of Asian restaurants and more. There are many Korean restaurants there, and in the shopping precinct near Westfield Riccarton. KOSCO, a Korean supermarket, has several branches in Christchurch, including one in Riccarton.

  • 8 Perry's Cafe, 145 Madras St (opposite Ara Institute of Canterbury – formerly Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology). M-F 7AM-4:30PM. Surprisingly good cafeteria-style food with touches of cafe class, gets crowded around lunchtime. mains $7-12, coffee $4.
  • 9 Welcome, 2 Wharenui Rd, Riccarton (just off Riccarton Rd). Delicious Chinese vegetarian meals. Don't miss the hotplate and clay pot special dishes too! Mains around $20.
  • 10 Afghan Restaurant (AFG), 314 Lincoln Rd, Addington (Orange Line bus), +64 3 338 7029. 5:30-9PM. A rustic place that offers tasty chicken or lamb cooked over an open flame grill, served with rice and salad. A chicken curry is usually available too. Large portions, and you can takeout any leftovers. There is no menu and no toilet on site. $20.


  • 11 Addington Coffee Co-Op, 297 Lincoln Rd, Addington, +64 3 943 1662. M–F 7:30AM–4PM, Sa Su 9AM–4PM. Sells fair trade coffee and clothing in a lively atmosphere. Also has a laundry. Brunch dishes $9–22.
  • 12 Dux Dine, 28 Riccarton Rd, +64 3 348 1436. Pescatarian restaurant with lovely garden seating, the pizzas are good value to share, and the salads are fantastic. Also serves their craft beers including alcoholic ginger beer. One half of the erstwhile Dux de Lux in Hereford St. Mains $19 (pizza) – $35 (salmon).
  • 13 Under the Red Verandah, 29 Tancred St, Linwood, +64 3 381-1109. Breakfast and lunch 7:30AM-3PM. Offers a range of food incorporating fair trade coffee, free range eggs and gluten-free baked goods. Big breakfast $25, coffee $4.
  • 14 Velvet Burger, 111 Riccarton Rd, +64 3 343 5924. Daily 11:30AM 'til late. Gourmet burger joint which also offers local beers. Burgers $7.40–22.90.


  • 15 King of Snake, 145 Victoria St, +64 3 365 7363. Offers Thai and Asian fusion food. mains $26–42.
  • Pascatore and 50 Bistro, The George hotel, 50 Park Terrace (see listing in sleep), +64 3 379-4560. Two restaurants in this upmarket hotel. Great views of Hagley Park from Pescatore. Pascatore: mains $44, degustation menu $129; 50 Bistro: mains $27–39.
  • 16 Strawberry Fare, 19 Bealey Ave, Merivale (cnr Carlton Mill Rd), +64 3 365-4897. Carries an extensive menu of modern interpreted New Zealand dishes and many dessert dishes. Reservations are required. Mains $26–44.
  • 17 @Tony's, 2 Waterman Place, Ferrymead Central, +64 3 348-5644. M-F noon–2:30PM, M-W 5:30–10PM, Th-Sa 5:30PM–1AM, Su 5:30–9PM. Good Japanese teppanyaki with special all-you-can-eat deals Su-Th ($42). Mains around $30, set menus $56.
  • 18 The Watershed Restaurant & Bar, 12/23 Humphrey's Drive, Ferrymead. Overlooking the waterfront in Ferrymead. Main $25–37.


  • 1 Aikmans, 154 Aikmans Rd, Merivale. An upscale bistro and bar in trendy Merivale. Mains $25–35.
  • 2 Bealey's Speight's Ale House, 263 Bealey Ave. Mains $21–34.
  • 3 The Craic Irish Bar, 84 Riccarton Rd.
  • 4 No. 4, 4 Mansfield Ave. Bar and restaurant. Relaxed during the day and busy (but not too busy) on weekend nights. Great wines, Monteiths beers and a solid menu. Pint of beer $10, mains $25–44.
  • 5 Speight's Ale House Tower Junction, Tower Junction Mega Centre, 55 Clarence St, Riccarton (near the railway station). A relaxed atmosphere bar, a great place for meals. Mains $23–38.
  • If you fancy a short drive or bus ride (approx. 15 minutes from city centre), go to The Wunderbar in Lyttelton. It has a small room for gigs and is popular with artists. The Monster Bar (downstairs, next door) is an excellent Yakitori restaurant and bar though smaller and with more of a focus on DJs.
  • 6 The Beer Library, 78 Buchan St (one block west of Colombo St between Byron St and Sandyford St; take the 1, 8, or 44 bus), . M-W 11a-6p; Th-Sa 11-7. A family-run bottle shop and tap room with craft beer, over 300 varieties of craft beer, wine, and small-batch spirits, and a draft station.


This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under $100
Mid-range $100-$200
Splurge Over $200

Following the earthquakes, some major hotels were demolished. This reduction in supply and the increased demand due to construction work means that accommodation in Christchurch is a little more expensive than other cities in New Zealand.

Backpackers are safe, clean, cheap and cheerful. The cheapest option is a share/dorm room usually costing around $30 per night. Most offer single rooms, twin and double rooms and shared rooms. The standard of backpackers is very good in New Zealand.

Motels are a notch up. Low end around $79 per night. There are also many good quality B&Bs in Christchurch and surrounding district.


Rolleston House YHA
  • 1 Dorset House Backpackers, 1 Dorset St, Central City, +64 3 366-8268, toll-free: 0800 367 738, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Charming hostel accommodation in an 1871 heritage home, top-rated. Open again after full renovation and re-decoration. Free Wi-Fi, car-parking, spacious rooms, no bunks, all beds fully made. Set among flower gardens and 50 m from Hagley Park. On the airport bus route. Multi-share and family rooms available. Secure online bookings available. Share rooms from $41, doubles, twins, single rooms from $89.
  • 2 Jailhouse Accommodation, 338 Lincoln Rd, Addington, +64 3 982-7777, toll-free: 0800 524 546, . Check-out: 10AM. Renovated heritage backpacker accommodation with a colourful history - the former Addington Prison (closed to inmates in 1999). The Jailhouse has single, double, twin, dorm and family rooms. Wi-Fi and free parking. Secure online bookings available. Dorms from $32, rooms from $89.
  • 3 The Old Countryhouse Backpackers, 437 Gloucester St, Linwood, +64 3 381 5504, . Backpacker prices for hotel grade mattresses and linen, spotlessly clean hostel facilities, guest telephone with free local calls, Wi-Fi, Spa Sanctuary with spa pool & sauna. From $42.


  • 4 AAA Northlands Motel, 232 Main North Rd, Northcote (on SH 74, cnr Momorangi Cres), +64 3 352-8478, toll-free: 0800 24 01 22, fax: +64 3 352 -8451, . Close to Northlands Mall and QE2 Park. $120-160.
  • 5 Addington Court Motel, 197 Lincoln Rd, Addington (cnr Twigger St), +64 3 339-4211, toll-free: 0800 782-978, fax: +64 3 339-4233, . Close to Addington Raceway, A&P Showgrounds and Westpac Trust Stadium. $150-270.
  • 6 Airport Christchurch Motel, 55 Roydvale Ave, Burnside (just off SH1 at the airport roundabout. Take first L on Memorial Ave going towards the city), +64 3 977-4970, toll-free: 0800 800 631, fax: +64 3 977-4974, . 4 minutes drive to the airport, but not on any flight path. $175-305.
  • 7 City Central Motel Apartments, 252 Barbadoes St, Central City (cnr Hereford St), +64 3 379-0540, toll-free: 0508 800 888, fax: +64 3 366 4700, . 5 minutes walk to Lichfield St restaurants and 7 minutes walk to Cathedral Square. Rooms feature a decent kitchen and bathroom and are generally very clean. The motel itself might not be the most attractive place, but it is the location that's the draw. $140-235.
  • 8 Classique Lodge Motel, 290 Blenheim Rd, Riccarton, +64 3 348-4977, toll-free: 0800 45 40 45, fax: +64 3 348-4977, . 5 minutes to Westfield Riccarton Shopping Mall. $99-150 (2 people).
  • 9 Designer Cottage, 53 Hastings St West, Sydenham, +64210792907, . A charming and cozy bed and breakfast that served as a sailors' retreat in the 1970s. Accommodations also include a self-contained cottage in the back garden. Guests gather every morning for a friendly breakfast with the hosts, who are extensive travellers in their own right and have many stories to tell. The hosts are local architects who are very involved in the local community and are more than happy to recommend various places to visit and to dine at. Both can also share valuable perspectives on how the city and the region have changed and evolved over the years. Rooms range from $82-191/night.
  • 10 Heartland Hotel Cotswold, 88-96 Papanui Road, Merivale (between Holly Rd and Merivale Ln), +64 3 355 3535, toll-free: 0800 69 69 63, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Free WiFi, free parking, on-site restaurant & bar, large guest rooms. $99-300.
  • 11 Milano Motor Lodge, 87 Papanui Rd, Papanui (between Holly Rd and Merivale Ln), +64 3 355-2800, toll-free: 0800 878 766, fax: +64 3 355-2800, . 5 minutes walk to Hagley Park or Merivale Shopping Mall, 2-3 minutes walk to restaurants $159-269.


For travellers who want to stay a month or longer, there are a number of furnished flats for rent advertised in the papers. A local company called Urban Rooms has furnished rentals specifically for travellers, ranging from rooms in a shared house to self-contained flats with garages.

  • 12 Red Door Cottage, 115 Merivale Ln, Merivale, +64 27 422 0764. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Self-catering for up to 5. Close to City Centre, public transport, restaurants, shopping. Sky TV, free Wi-Fi, rate includes continental breakfast first day. King & queen beds, warm and private, with off-street parking. Minimum stay 2 nights. $170 for 2, $20 each additional person.
  • 13 West Fitzroy Apartments, 66 Armagh St. Large apartments with parking, short walk to city centre, balconies with views.


  • 14 Eliza’s Manor Boutique Hotel, 82 Bealey Ave, Central, +64 3 366-8584, fax: +64 3 366-4946, . Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 10:30AM. Luxury B&B with 8 ensuite rooms, smoke-free. $235-345 double including breakfast.
  • 15 The George, 50 Park Tce. Luxury boutique hotel by the river Avon and Hagley Park. Two restaurants, 50 Bistro and Pescatore. From $295.
  • 16 Novotel Christchurch, 52 Cathedral Square. Built in 2010 and reopened in 2013. Meeting and conference rooms, restaurant, bar, gym and 154 rooms. Qualmark rating of 4 Star Plus. From $219.
  • 17 Rendezvous Hotel, 166 Gloucester St. Built in 2010 and reopened in 2013. From $229, but discounts for advance booking or minimum stays.

Stay safe[edit]

Christchurch has a problem with smog during the winter, but only at night. Although conditions have improved over the years due to the intervention of the city council, take care venturing out on calm frosty evenings if you have a breathing-related medical condition.

While violent crime is relatively rare, some people do have a tendency towards aggression when drunk, as in most cities. Linwood is one of the lower socio-economic area of Christchurch, and is rougher than some other neighborhoods, but is still considered safe. As in any city, take care late at night, especially on Friday and Saturdays, as levels of intoxication can lead to unwanted attention or unprovoked violence. Avoid dark alleyways and confrontations and, if in doubt, make haste to a populated area and call the police (dial 111).

Aftershocks from the 2010-11 earthquakes have long since subsided. There is still a risk of another major earthquake rocking Christchurch, but the chances are comparable to any other New Zealand city.

  • 1 Christchurch Central Police Station, 68 St Asaph St (cnr Antigua St), +64 3 363-7400.
  • 2 24 Hour Surgery, 401 Madras St (just south of Bealey Ave), +64 3 365 7777. 24 hours. Urgent accident and medical centre, with on-site facilities for fractures. Medical $85-190; Accident (ACC) $70-155.



  • Austria Austria, 19 Joyce Crescent, Ilam, +64 21 440 164 (Mobile), fax: +64 3 513-5794, . Honorary Consulate-General - the embassy is in Canberra, Australia. Can issue emergency travel documents. This consulate deals with Tasman, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago, Southland, Stewart Island and the Chathams and there are other honorary consuls in Auckland and Wellington.
  • Cyprus Cyprus, 50-58 Parkhouse Rd, Sockburn, +64 3 343-0587, fax: +64 3 343-348-6788, . M-F 09:00-16:00. Mr Kypros Kotzikas, Honorary Consul.

Go next[edit]

Lewis Pass

As a major gateway to the South Island, Christchurch is often the starting or finishing point for touring the rest of the island.

Greater Christchurch[edit]

The Greater Christchurch area covers the Banks Peninsula southeast of Christchurch and the lowland areas of the Waimakariri and Selywn district, approximately in a 50 km radius of central Christchurch.

  • Lyttelton, the port town just over the Port Hills from the city, is accessible by car/bus through the tunnel, or by the scenic Port Hills route via the seaside suburb of Sumner. (The road from Sumner over Evans Pass to Lyttelton is closed because of earthquake damage; the epicenter of the 2011 earthquake was close to the surface here.) Although only 15 km (9 mi) from the central city, Lyttelton feels like another world entirely, with its cafes, bars, shops and locals, its ever-busy port, its stunning hilly backdrop and beautiful harbour. But because of the 2011 earthquake damage, Lyttelton is no longer the port of call for cruise ships visiting Christchurch; it has been shifted to Akaroa.
  • Banks Peninsula is on the edge of the city, and offers a quieter beauty than the Alps, but quite lovely. At its southern end of the peninsula is Akaroa – beautiful, quaint and packed with good eateries. Try out the "Swim with the Dolphins in the sea" trip.

Further afield[edit]

Routes through Christchurch
KaikouraKaiapoi  N  S  TimaruDunedin
West CoastArthur's Pass  W  E  END
END  N  S  Akaroa

This city travel guide to Christchurch has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions and travel details. Please contribute and help us make it a star!