The most English of New Zealand’s cities, Christchurch is the provincial capital and also serves as the international gateway to the many scenic wonders of South Island.
Punts glide down the picturesque Avon River, an Anglican church lies at the heart of Cathedral Square, vintage trams rattle down streets which have traditionally English names and plenty of parks and gardens adorn the city.
Exploring the city
The centre is small enough to be negotiated on foot, with the wonderful advantage of being perfectly flat. The Botanical gardens are charming, with geraniums, chrysanthemums and carefully edged lawns perfectly manicured with not a blade of grass out of place.
Also worth a visit is the International Antarctic Centre, the home base for the United States, Italian and New Zealand Antarctic programmes. Christchurch is home to the New Zealand Cup and Show Week, an international racing event which creates a festival atmosphere each year as racing, fashion and local lifestyle are celebrated throughout the city.
At the heart of the city, part of the original University of Canterbury has now been developed into a vibrant and exciting Arts Centre, housing over 40 speciality shops, fine art galleries, cinemas, bars, restaurants and cafes. During the weekend you can wander through the art, craft and produce market, and throughout the year the site features an array of festivals and events.
The extensive Canterbury Plains which surround Christchurch are one of the driest and flattest regions in the entire country, fertile farmland framed by the snow-capped peaks of the ever-present Southern Alps.
Just outside Christchurch is Lyttelton Harbour, home to one of the world’s rarest dolphin species, the Hector’s dolphin, most often seen - along with other marine species - from wildlife cruises that operate from the harbour.
A further option for exploring the region is to take the TranzAlpine train on one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys out of Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass and on to the West Coast.
Suggested itineraries featuring Christchurch
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Christchurch, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Christchurch
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Christchurch
- Akaroa & Banks Peninsula 41 kilometers away
- Arthur's Pass National Park 109 kilometers away
- Hanmer Springs 114 kilometers away
- Kaikoura 152 kilometers away
- Hokitika 164 kilometers away
- Lake Tekapo 182 kilometers away
- Punakaiki 191 kilometers away
- Mount Cook National Park 206 kilometers away
- Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers 212 kilometers away
- Twizel 219 kilometers away
- Blenheim 249 kilometers away
- Nelson 258 kilometers away
- Picton 274 kilometers away
- Kahurangi National Park 286 kilometers away
- Marlborough Sounds 291 kilometers away
- Haast & Lake Moeraki 292 kilometers away
- Abel Tasman National Park 292 kilometers away
- The Otago Peninsula 303 kilometers away
- Wellington 306 kilometers away
- Lake Wanaka 309 kilometers away
- Dunedin 311 kilometers away
- Collingwood & Farewell Spit 318 kilometers away
- Arrowtown 342 kilometers away
- Martinborough 347 kilometers away
- The Kapiti Coast 354 kilometers away
- Wairarapa & surrounds 356 kilometers away
- Queenstown 358 kilometers away
- Greytown 359 kilometers away
- Glenorchy 370 kilometers away
- Milford Sound 398 kilometers away
- The Catlins 441 kilometers away
- Te Anau & Manapouri 444 kilometers away
- Whanganui National Park 448 kilometers away
Accommodation choices for Christchurch
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Christchurch. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Christchurch
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Christchurch, and which use the best local guides.