Base yourself in this vibrant city & explore it's diverse surrounds on short day trips. Here's a list of the top experiences in Christchurch & Canterbury.
Discover Christchurch's Botanic Gardens, the centrepiece of the 'Garden City'. Take an edible tour, or wander at your own pace among diverse plants, flowers and sculptures. When you're ready to relax, board a punt on the Avon River; it's a truly iconic Christchurch activity.
The Christchurch Art Gallery (Te Puna O Waiwhetu) in Christchurch has always been inspiring, but the city's post-quake rebuild has provided new and giant canvases for artists, bringing fresh creativity outdoors. Wander the central city and immerse yourself in its ever-growing, every-changing street art. Once you're ready to step inside, visit Christchurch Art Gallery and the Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) for diverse artworks, films, talks and live performances.
45 minutes north of Christchurch you’ll find fields of lavender, olive groves, and more than 60 vineyards, with dozens of cellar doors open for wine tasting. Waipara is well known for its Pinot Noir and Reisling, and also provides some fine Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. If you prefer to let someone else do the driving, book a winery tour from Christchurch.
Explore the stunning Port Hills on foot or by bike, only 20 minutes drive from central Christchurch and offering panoramic views of Christchurch City and the Southern Alps. The Port Hills are home to native wildlife, the Castle Rock formation, Christchurch Adventure Park and have a rich Māori and European history all ready to be discovered.
For a relaxing half day adventure, take a boat trip on Lyttelton Harbour, just 15 minutes from Christchurch. Stop at Quail Island and experience a piece of Canterbury's past. On the island's walkway, you'll see shipwrecks, a former leper colony and a quarantine station used by European settlers. Spot native birds like the fantail, kingfisher and silvereye. Black Cat Cruises operate daily trips to Quail Island from October to April. Enjoy the lively café scene, dine at award winning restaurant Roots and take a stroll through a fantastic Saturday morning farmer's market.
The TranzAlpine journey through the Southern Alps is one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Beginning in Christchurch, you’ll travel through the patchwork Canterbury Plains up into Arthur’s Pass National Park. From here, you’ll venture down into the wild beech forests of the West Coast, finishing in Greymouth. The trip takes four hours one way, or nine hours return with a one-hour break in Greymouth.
A trip to Christchurch isn't complete without a visit to Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. Only 90 minutes drive from Christchurch, Hanmer Springs offers the perfect balance of fun and relaxation, with different levels of thrills on the waterslides, and a selection of hot pools will leave you feel relaxed and refreshed. Or pick up the pace and take an action packed jet boat trip through the spectacular scenery of the Waiau River.
There is nothing quite like seeing Canterbury from above. Get away from it all with an early morning flight aboard a Hot Air Balloon. Drift over the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other with Ballooning Canterbury.
Experience the dynamic heart of Christchurch with its historic buildings, cardboard cathedral and colourful street art. Ride the historic tram or settle into one of the eclectic cafés; C1 espresso, Dose Diner and Fush are local favourites.
The village of Akaroa, just 90 minutes drive from Christchurch, is abundant in marine life, including the smallest dolphins in the world, the Hector's Dolphin. Head out with Akaroa Dolphins to explore the coastline and marvel at these unique creatures, or contact Black Cat Cruises for your chance to get up close, swimming alongside as they play.