Destination Guide

Christchurch, New Zealand

Proclaimed ‘Garden City of the World’ in 1997, Christchurch is a joy to explore. Though much of its inspiration comes from England - it even has its own River Avon - this is a unique city with its own vibrant character. Its 'Garden City' title is well-deserved, with its proliferation of parks and tree streets; and in Summer these erupt with an array of outdoor festivals to rival any city in the country. Its glorious beaches, like the quaintly named Taylor’s Mistake, are just a scenic bus ride from the city.

With flights connecting the south island through Christchurch to the rest of New Zealand as well as to international destinations, it’s also a perfect base for the adventures this dramatically spectacular region offers. If striking out on your own is your plan, it's easy to arrange motorhome rental in Christchurch and drive off to see New Zealand at your own pace.

Getting in and around Christchurch

Christchurch Airport

Christchurch International Airport(CHC) is located 12 kilometres, and about 20 minutes' drive, from the city centre. There are ATMs, currency exchange, mobile phone rental, luxury car and motorhome rental and facilities for those travelling with bicycles. As the gateway to the South Island, flights leave from Christchurch Airport to most New Zealand airports as well as international destinations including Australia, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore.

Getting into the city and your hotel from the airport is easy. The ‘Super-Shuttle’, regular bus services, and Christchurch taxis are readily available, even if you arrive at 1 in the morning.

Christchurch Transport

Getting around inner Christchurch is simple, whether you choose to use the excellent local bus service, walk, buy a 2-day pass to use the vintage tram that loops the inner city, motorcycle hire or take cabs.

If you’re arriving by train, Christchurch railway station is a 10-minute taxi ride to the city. There is a taxi/shuttle-bus arrangement as well.

Christchurch Car Hire

If you don't want to be confined to the inner city where public transport options exist, definitely consider hiring a car or other vehicle: Christchurch is well-placed for starting your exploration of the spectacular South Island and you should take advantage of this opportunity. Its connectivity to everywhere means Christchurch is well-prepared for tourists, with plenty of motorhome and car rental options for those beginning driving tours here. Or hire a motorcycle for a no-obstructions view of this region's incredible scenery: New Zealand is known for having some of the best driving roads around, and also some of the most magnificent.

^ Back to top

Christchurch accommodation

In Christchurch there's something for all tastes and budgets, including some of the best backpackers' accommodation in New Zealand.

  • Rydges, Christchurch, cnr Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street offers deluxe rooms and suites plus fine cuisine at the Sepia Restaurant and Bar.
  • Peppers Clearwater Resort has luxurious suites and villas in a lakeside setting. Golf and fly-fishing are among its attractions and an award-winning restaurant.
  • Cashel Apartments provide extra-comfortable self-catering accommodation right in the city.
  • Garden View B&B, 10 minutes south of Christchurch in Rolleston, is the place for peaceful ambience and a magnificent garden, which supplies the vegetables you’ll enjoy at dinner.
  • Gothic Heights Motel, opposite Hagley Park, is close to the Arts Centre and Botanic Gardens. Breakfast in your room or stroll to one of the cafes close by.
  • Thomas’s Hotel is an attractive building on Hereford Street close to Cathedral Square. It offers a range of accommodation from backpacker quad rooms to hotel rooms with en suites.
  • Jailhouse Backpackers is close to the railway station. Have the fun of staying in a superbly restored heritage building — an old prison!
^ Back to top

Things to do in Christchurch

  • Hop-on Hop-off vintage tram to get around the heritage-rich inner city. In the evening, try the Tramway Restaurant and experience luxury dining as the vintage tram shows you Christchurch attractions by night.
  • Garden Guided Tour. Take one of these tours and see Christchurch's best public and private gardens. Central Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens, Victoria Square, its green avenues and its 30 hectares of exotic and indigenous plants along the banks of the River Avon, amongst others, have helped make Christchurch a two-time international "Garden City of the World" winner. In Summer Hagley Park also plays host to regular concerts and festivals.
  • Banks Peninsula Track. Following along the spectacular coastal path of this, New Zealand's original tramping track, you'll pass through bush, pasture and the beautiful Hinewai Reserve. Maps are available from Christchurch City Council.
  • International Antarctic Centre located near Christchurch airport, experience a thrill as you ride a Hagglund, the amazing all-terrain vehicle that's the workhorse of Antarctica.
  • Christchurch's beaches offer great experiences for the surfer or the family and are easily accessible by bus from the city centre. Taylors Mistake is the popular surfer destination. Sumner offers great conditions for swimming as well as beachside cafes, restaurants and ice-cream stores, or try the New Brighten Pier for the same facilities as well as kids' play areas and a paddling pool.
  • Visit Christchurch Library and its heritage photograph collection, notably of Addington Camp, a Boer War training camp.
  • ^ Back to top

    Day trips in and around Christchurch

  • Sunrise hot air ballooning enjoy the experience of Canterbury's stunning landscapes, from the sparkling ocean to its snow-capped peaks.
  • Canterbury Fishing Adventures offers half or full day fishing tours with gear and fishing licence provided.
  • Lord of the Rings, Journey to Edoras tour. Take this trip and see how the films magic transformed high country landscape into the home of the Rohan people.
  • White-water rafting on the Rangitata River. Includes the thrill of leaping from the 'Jump Rock'.
  • Whale Watching in Kaikoura for the opportunity to encounter marine life including various species of whale (varies seasonally), New Zealand fur seals, Dusky Dolphins, and the endangered Wandering Albatross. A scenic 2-hour t rip north of Christchurch.
  • Christchurch Wildlife Cruise on Lyttelton Harbour, an ancient volcanic caldera. The cruise includes Quail Island where doomed Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott trained the ponies he planned to use for his race to the South Pole.
  • ^ Back to top