Ōtautahi Christchurch

This vibrant city offers spectacular culture, heritage, and nightlife – along with the world’s most stunning scenery, right on its doorstep.

This vibrant city offers spectacular culture, heritage, and nightlife – along with the world’s most stunning scenery, right on its doorstep.

Getting there

  • 1h 25m from Auckland
  • 1h from Wellington
  • 1h 5m from Dunedin
  • 1h 5m from Queenstown
Domestic Flights
  • 5h 15m from Nelson
  • 5h from Dunedin
  • 6h from Queenstown
Driving in New Zealand

By rights, Christchurch should top lists of the world’s most livable cities, but it usually flies under the radar in this respect. Which is another point in its favour. Its relaxed vibe and genuine hospitality are part of its charm.

More than a decade after two earthquakes devastated the city, it is being rebuilt and reimagined. Some of the eye-catching blue-stone heritage buildings may have gone, but in their place are new spaces, designed for modern city living. This includes more green spaces, with the biggest a swath of land twice the size of Central Park in New York.

For most cities, their historical architecture seems at odds with its modern counterparts. Here, the two meld harmoniously together. A fact that is mirrored in the city’s cultural life. If you want art, restaurants, and accommodation (or just an attitude and way of life) that look back or forward in time, or both together, this is where you’ll find it. In short, this a city that often surprises and is always hard to leave.

Arts and Culture

Christchurch is a hub for all things artistic. Visit Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū(opens in new window) and Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA)(opens in new window) for art, talks, film, and live performance. Find out what makes the city tick with a Watch This Space(opens in new window) tour of the city's street art. And explore The Arts Centre(opens in new window) for boutique galleries, museums, crafts, and events. For live performance, visit The Court Theatre(opens in new window).

Restaurants and bars


Christchurch has a long hitlist of attractions. To see Banks Peninsula, head to Akaroa or Lyttelton. These superb coastal towns offer plenty to see and do, including fantastic cafés and restaurants. Or head inland with the TranzAlpine train, which runs from Christchurch to the West Coast, via the Southern Alps. For a trip that combines alpine with coastline, take the Alpine Pacific Touring Route. Highlights include Kaikōura and Hurunui. To stick within city limits, try The Arts Centre(opens in new window), He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools(opens in new window), New Regent Street(opens in new window), The Tannery(opens in new window), and the Christchurch Adventure Park(opens in new window).

Family Attractions

Christchurch is a great family destination. For once in a lifetime nature experiences, visit the Pōhatu Penguins or join Black Cat Cruises to swim with Hector’s Dolphins. To see the city’s best sights, take a Christchurch Tram or the Christchurch Gondola(opens in new window) to the Port Hills. Or for the next best thing to Antarctica, visit the International Antarctic Centre

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