Christchurch and Canterbury Attractions

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Funky Christchurch city and the vast Canterbury region have plenty to keep you busy, whether you're a shopaholic, wild adventurer or history buff.

Christchurch - Canterbury
Popup shopping, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism

Re:START shopping centre, Christchurch

Explore the ever-changing city of Christchurch

  • Check out the Re:START shopping area in and around Cashel Mall. Built out of shipping containers, this innovative village project features a mixture of fashion retailers, specialty gift stores, cafes and more. 
  • Visit the entertainment hubs of Victoria Street, St Asaph Street, Strange’s Lane and Poplar Lane
  • Find out what it's like in the middle of an Antarctic storm at the International Antarctic Centre.
  • Stroll around the Farmers Markets, showcasing the best of Canterbury’s produce.
  • Saunter through Hagley Park, then admire Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
  • Take a guided bike tour of Christchurch city.
  • Explore the Canterbury Museum, including the Hall of Antarctic Discovery.
  • The Air Force Museum brings you face to face with 28 classic aircraft, thousands of artefacts, artworks and stories of famous aviators.
  • Take an iconic punt ride down the Avon or explore the city via the hop-on hop-off Christchurch Tram.
  • Discover Christchurch from up high with the Hassle Free Discover Christchurch tour on classic 1960’s London open top double decker buses (closed top in the winter months).
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Christchurch - Canterbury
Port Hills, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism

Go walking or biking in the Port Hills, Christchurch

Get close to nature, close to the city

  • Driving, walking or cycling in the Port Hills for fantastic views of Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains, Banks Peninsula and Lyttelton Harbour. Still a great spot to visit but check the Christchurch City Council website for up-to-date information on tracks that may be closed and any areas to avoid.
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve has a kiwi breeding programme and native New Zealand bird life.
  • At Orana Wildlife Park you can experience the diverse splendour of the animal kingdom in tranquil, spacious surroundings.
  • Ride the Waimakariri river in a jet boat; pickups are available from Christchurch City. 
Christchurch - Canterbury
Akaroa Daly's Wharf, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Hollie Hollander

Winter in Akaroa is quiet and peaceful.

A day or two around Banks Peninsula

Around 10 million years ago, the Banks Peninsula area was a very active volcanic island. The two main volcanic vents are now Akaroa and Lyttelton harbours.

  • Get a taste of the French colonial past in Akaroa - picturesque, charming and a haven for artists and crafts people, with a highly developed culinary culture. Fresh local ingredients include salmon, crayfish, beef, Canterbury lamb and venison.
  • See New Zealand's rarest dolphin - the Hector's dolphin - on a wildlife cruise of Akaroa Harbour.
  • Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Visit Linton, the 'Giant's House' and judge for yourself. It's provocative, different and fun!
  • Explore the historic port town of Lyttelton, offering a bubbling mix of restaurants, cafes and shops, with a farmers market each Saturday. 
  • Take a short drive to Governors Bay and visit the unique chocolate and culinary attraction, She Chocolat.
Christchurch - Canterbury
Hanmer Springs, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism

Enjoy the hot pools at Hanmer Springs.

The Waipara Wine Valley and Hanmer Springs

Head north from Christchurch to the start of the Alpine Pacific Triangle Touring Route. Here you will find delicious food and wine, hot pools and all kinds of outdoorsy activities.

  • Discover the fabulous array of award winning wineries in the Waipara Valley. Home to 31 wineries, 12 have cellar doors and four winery restaurants it is a premier wine growing region.
  • Ride the Weka Pass historic railway from Waipara to Waikari.
  • Discover heritage icons such as Maori rock art, historic hotels and cob cottages.
  • Soak in the hot thermal pools at Hanmer Springs Thermal & Spa, enjoy a relaxing treatment or have fun on the SuperBowl aquatic thrill ride.
  • Hike or bike through 50km of fantastic forest trails in Hanmer Springs.
  • Go jet boating or rafting on the Waiau River with Thrillseekers Adventures.
  • Ski at Mount Lyford or Hanmer Springs Ski Area.
  • Visit beautiful Gore Bay and the Cathedral Cliffs.
  • Fish for trout and salmon in pristine waters.
Christchurch - Canterbury
Whale watching, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Sara Orme

The picturesque coastal town of Kaikoura is all about adventure on or near the sea. Watch whales, snorkel with seals or feast on a plate of crayfish.

Have a whale of a time in Kaikoura

A variety of rare marine mammals converge off the coast at Kaikoura - sperm whales, New Zealand fur seals, dolphins and penguins.

  • Go whale-watching by boat or air at any time of the year.
  • Meet the local dolphins on a dolphin encounter.
  • Experience seal swimming with the playful New Zealand fur seals in the shallow waters of the beautiful Kaikoura Peninsula.
  • Take a bird watching tour to view seabirds, albatross, molly-mawks, petrels and many more.
  • Hike the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway - three hours return to visit a seal colony, limestone formations and a seabird colony.
  • Visit Fyffe House, a colonial whaler's cottage.
  • Experience genuine indigenous Maori culture, history, traditions and hospitality with Maori Tours Kaikoura.
  • Eat fresh seafood in one of Kaikoura's delightful waterfront restaurants, or take the more casual approach and visit one of the Seafood BBQs, located right on the beach front.
Christchurch - Canterbury
Lake Tekapo, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Fraser Clements

Star gazing at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

Enjoy the high life in Mackenzie

From the stunning turquoise of the lakes to the true splendor of New Zealand’s tallest mountain (Aoraki Mount Cook), the Mackenzie district has more than beauty to offer visitors. 

  • Visit the postcard-perfect living Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo - its altar window frames an amazing view of the Southern Alps.
  • Take a scenic flight from Lake Tekapo or Glentanner Station for breathtaking views over the Southern Alps, the West Coast Glaciers and of course the magnificent Aoraki Mount Cook.
  • Land on the Tasman Glacier in a ski-plane, or go heli-skiing amidst the tranquillity and silence of the pristine alpine environment.
  • Try Tubing at Tekapo Springs which has New Zealand's first summer tube ride, making tubing a year round attraction in Lake Tekapo. Or simply relax in the hot pools and enjoy the stunning views over the lake.
  • Explore the Tasman Glacier terminal lake and icebergs up close with Glacier Explorers. This is the only tour of its kind in New Zealand.
  • If you've always wanted to try mountain climbing, hire a guide and give it a go. Sir Edmund Hillary practised on these mountains before he conquered Mount Everest.
  • Visit Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Farm halfway between Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Here you can see what makes their salmon so special as well as sampling the Saikou Sushi grade salmon.
  • Don’t miss stargazing in the Mackenzie Basin which has been designated the largest International Dark Sky Reserve in the world.
  • Explore Aoraki Mount Cook National Park on a mountain walk - there are many to choose from. In spring and summer, look for the Mount Cook lily - the largest buttercup in the world.



Christchurch - Canterbury
Rangitata Rapids, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Rangitata Rafts

Experience the thrills of the Rangitata River in South Canterbury

History and adventure in South Canterbury

A self-drive tour of South Canterbury delivers the perfect balance of natural, historical and indulgent experiences.

  • The area has the largest collection of Maori Rock Art in New Zealand. Head for Raincliff near the confluence of the Opihi and Opuha Rivers.
  • In Timaru you'll find an impressive collection of preserved urban Victorian and Edwardian architecture.
  • Go rafting on the Rangitata River and launch yourself down the thrilling grade five rapids.
  • The Pleasant Point Railway is home to the world's only Ford Model T Railcar. The railway society has regular steaming days
  • Drive to Opihi to sample the excellent local wines. Enjoy lunch at the vineyard cafe.
  • See the filming location of Edoras, the fortress city of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
  • Go walking or biking on the Waimate Walkway, then visit 'The Cuddy' - a thatched house built in 1854.
Christchurch - Canterbury
TranzAlpine, Christchurch - Canterbury

Von Tourism New Zealand

The TranzAlpine is New Zealand's most famous rail journey

A world of rock and rivers in Mid Canterbury and Selwyn

Between the peaks of the Southern Alps and the city sophistication of Christchurch, there's a lot of room for wild times in Canterbury.

  • Enjoy one of the six most spectacular train journeys in the world - the stunningly scenic TranzAlpine Express journey to Arthur's Pass.
  • Discover some of the best river fishing in New Zealand - hire a guide or ask the locals where to go. The Rakaia River is renowned for its salmon fishing in February and March.
  • See unique and rare wildlife and learn about geology, history and conservation on a high country eco tour.
  • Play a scenic game of golf against a backdrop of the Southern Alps and the mighty Rakaia River at Terrace Downs.
  • Hike the trails around Arthur's Pass - discover waterfalls and alpine plants.
  • Make the most of the longest ski season in Australasia at Mt Hutt.
  • Get away from it all in a hot air balloon. Drift over the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other with Aoraki Balloon Safaris.

Where to next?

Marlborough →

West Coast →

Waitaki →