A city of regeneration and revitalisation, Christchurch, has so much to offer. From nature and gardens to arts and culture to shopping and dining, after a trip to this vibrant city, it may just hold a special place in your heart. Read on to discover our top 10 things to do in Christchurch.
1. Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park
Christchurch is nicknamed “The Garden City” and for good reason, as there are several spectacular gardens and parks nestled throughout the city. Attend one of the many events or festivals at the 165 hectare Hagley Park or head to the children’s playground and pool at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
2. Arts & Culture: Canterbury Museum & Christchurch Arts Centre
With a discovery centre for the kids, a Quake City exhibition telling stories from the Canterbury earthquakes, a bird hall, a shell house and more, the Canterbury Museum is a cultural icon in the city of Christchurch.
The Arts Centre of Christchurch is home to several art galleries, retailers and hosts numerous events in historic buildings which are slowly re-opening in stages after the devastating earthquakes.
3. Shopping in Christchurch
Looking for something a little extra special? You’re bound to find it at The Tannery. This boutique shopping complex is situated in an old industrial precinct from the 19th century, and is steeped in heritage and beauty. You can even watch a movie at the cinemas or catch a live gig!
For some food shopping, head to the Christchurch Farmers' Market located at Riccarton House, former home of the founding family of Canterbury. Support local traders of the freshest New Zealand produce at these premier markets held each Saturday.
4. Places to eat in Christchurch
The Little High Eatery is an open air concept housing a number of eateries in Christchurch central. Complete with outdoor seating and live music, you can enjoy everything from pizza to Argentinian grill as well as more than 40 craft beers and a selection of wines and cocktails.
Sophisticated and edgy, The Terrace, situated on the riverside, is a Christchurch hotspot. With amazing food and views to match, this is the place to be seen!
Step back in time on New Regent Street with its beautiful Spanish Mission architecture, unique colour scheme and a number of cafes to tempt your tastebuds.
5. Christchurch Gondola
One of the best ways to familiarise yourself with Christchurch is by taking a ride on the Christchurch Gondola. Enjoy breathtaking 360 degree views during the relaxing ten minute ride to the summit of Mt Cavendish followed by a bite to eat or leisurely walk at the top.
6. Margaret Mahy Playground
The Margaret Mahy Playground is the number one place to take the kids when visiting Christchurch! Said to be the largest playground in the southern hemisphere, it features a four metre wide slide, double flying fox, sand and water play areas, a dedicated toddler space and more.
7. Orana Wildlife Park
New Zealand’s only open range zoo and home to the only gorillas and orangutans in the country, Orana Wildlife Park is a must-do when visiting Christchurch. Meet a kiwi bird, New Zealand’s national icon, come face-to-face with a white rhino or hand feed a gracious giraffe.
8. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
Learn all about New Zealand’s native species at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Help feed the eels, take a donkey ride or become a keeper for a day during the school holiday periods.
9. International Antarctic Centre
The ‘coolest’ experience in Christchurch, the International Antarctic Centre, will transport you into a world of ice and cold. Located next to the Christchurch Airport, this popular attraction will give you a chilling realisation of what an Antarctic storm is like in the indoor storm room. If that’s not enough, you can even cuddle with a husky or watch as the cute little korora (little blue penguins) are fed their lunch.
10. Imagination Station at Turanga Christchurch library
Located in the brand new $90 million Turanga Christchurch library, Imagination Station is a bright, large space for kids to play and learn with LEGO and DUPLO. Attend a stop-motion animation class, learn robotics or simply build the tallest tower!
Overlooking the shimmering Lake Kaikainui, Peppers Clearwater Resort is the ideal place for a relaxing escape just outside of Christchurch. Choose to stay in a suite or villa with lakeside views and private balcony, and while you’re not out exploring the region, practice your swing on the Clearwater Golf Club course or treat yourself to a three-course degustation at The Lakes Restaurant.
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