Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island of New Zealand and some of our most unique breathtaking landscapes. If you are unsure about staying in the city after the Christchurch earthquake, you can fly in, collect your motorhome hire, and head off to explore the South Island without witnessing any evidence of the earthquake.
However, we encourage you to stop over for a day or two. The best way to help the city rebuild is to bring in tourist income. You can be sure that the people of Christchurch still have a warm welcome for visitors in spite of what they have been through over the past couple of years.
Our team’s top 10 things to do in Christchurch
- Visit the International Antarctic Centre. Don’t miss the world’s most informative and exciting insight into the frozen continent. View the penguin encounter, take a ride in an Antarctic explorers’ vehicle, and experience “being there” through the amazing 4D audiovisual presentation.
- Take a stroll through the beautiful Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens on the banks of the meandering River Avon. Christchurch is known as New Zealand’s garden city. A walk through this area will take you to the true heart of the city.
- Visit Canterbury Museum. This free museum was a special place before the earthquake but it is even more so since. Amidst the destruction in the cultural and historical precinct around it, this repository of local treasures was left virtually unscathed.
- Visit Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Learn what makes New Zealand’s flora and fauna special before you embark on your own New Zealand tour. View our unique native birds and creatures as well as introduced species. Willlowbank is one of the best places to see the rare kiwi bird. Stay for dinner and a Maori concert in the evening.
- Visit Orana Wildlife Park. Wander through New Zealand’s only open range zoo. This sanctuary for endangered animals is set in park like grounds on Macleans Island. Take a picnic and enjoy a great day out.
- Take a drive to the Sign of the Kiwi. Capture panoramic views over the city, the Canterbury Plains, the Southern Alps and the coastline north to Kaikoura. Take a walk on one of the many well marked trails or enjoy a Devonshire Tea in the historic tearooms.
- Try hot air ballooning. Experience the city and surrounding Canterbury Plains in a balloon. Take off at sunrise and get ready to be amazed.
- Take a day hike or mountain bike ride. Visit the Travis Wetlands, Spencer Park and the Groynes recreation areas as well as Victoria Park, Kennedy's Bush Reserve and the Halswell Quarry. You can hire a bike from City Cycle Hire who also offer guided tours.
- Take a day trip to the French settlement of Akaroa. This beautiful little village on Banks Peninsula is full of charm. You can take the harbour cruise (swim with dolphins) or just wander around the boutiques and cafes. If you’re feeling adventurous, visit the Pohatu Penguins by 4WD vehicle or sea kayak.
After a disaster, it is human nature to want to help in some way. You can help the people of Christchurch recover from the earthquake by visiting the city, by having a coffee in the cafes or lunch in the local restaurants. In the future, when it is rebuilt, Christchurch will be a beautiful city that will definitely be on everyone’s travel wish list - we would love you to be part of that future by supporting Christchurch now.