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 26 miles away
- Arthur's Pass National Park 68 miles away
- Hanmer Springs 71 miles away
- Kaikoura 95 miles away
- Hokitika 102 miles away
- Lake Tekapo 113 miles away
- Punakaiki 119 miles away
- Mount Cook National Park 128 miles away
- Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers 132 miles away
- Twizel 137 miles away
- Blenheim 155 miles away
- Nelson 160 miles away
- Picton 170 miles away
- Kahurangi National Park 178 miles away
- Marlborough Sounds 181 miles away
- Haast & Lake Moeraki 181 miles away
- Abel Tasman National Park 181 miles away
- The Otago Peninsula 189 miles away
- Wellington 190 miles away
- Lake Wanaka 192 miles away
- Dunedin 193 miles away
- Collingwood & Farewell Spit 198 miles away
- Arrowtown 213 miles away
- Martinborough 216 miles away
- The Kapiti Coast 220 miles away
- Wairarapa & surrounds 222 miles away
- Queenstown 223 miles away
- Greytown 223 miles away
- Glenorchy 230 miles away
- Milford Sound 248 miles away
- The Catlins 274 miles away
- Te Anau & Manapouri 276 miles away
- Whanganui National Park 279 miles 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.