CHRISTCHURCH – A BASE FOR EXPLORING NEW ZEALAND’S SOUTH ISLAND
Located on the east coast of New Zealand and South Island’s largest city, Christchurch has a reputation for its distinct British flavour. Not only is the city itself a compelling destination; it also makes the perfect base for exploring the South Island and its breathtaking attractions. Unfortunately, many of the historical Christchurch stone buildings suffered damage from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Nevertheless, the Christchurch legacy lives on in its many heritage treasures. You will still find a wealth of remarkable things to see and do in and around the South Island’s urban hub.
Experience a touch of British tradition
The British-named Avon River meanders through the Christchurch city centre. On either side of its banks, cycling paths border the expansive green landscapes. The famously gorgeous Christchurch Botanical Gardens are a delight of form, scents and colour. Here visitors will discover a bounty of both native and exotic specimens that intoxicate the senses. After taking in your fill, you can stop for quintessentially British tea and scones.
Whether you want to glide along the Avon, ride the Gondola to the Port Hills for a superb view of the city or take a shuttle tour of the Botanical Gardens, Christchurch will enchant and entertain you. You can also hop on and off the iconic Christchurch tram or catch a signature, double-decker red bus to explore the best of the city.
Journey to New Zealand’s past at Canterbury Museum
Canterbury Museum is at the heart of the Christchurch Cultural Precinct. This historical treasure trove dates back as far as 1867. Celebrating the natural history of European Canterbury and New Zealand’s connection to Antarctica, the museum’s displays are internationally significant. Notably, the Christchurch Street and Victorian Museum recreate the city as it was in the nineteenth century. Furthermore, the Maori galleries display treasures and tools from the Maori first peoples. Finally, be sure to take in Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House. This Kiwiana icon boasts the most paua (abalone) shells you will ever find in any one place.
Take a stroll through Hagley Park in the heart of the city
Right next to the Botanical Gardens, Hagley Park is one of the most beautiful and well-kept parks imaginable. In 1855, the Provincial Government established the park for public recreation and enjoyment. In this spirit, entrance remains free to this day. What is more, Hagley Park ranks among the best parks available in the world. The park features a network of walking tracks stretching for 5 kilometres. These tracks are conveniently accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Completing the entire route will take two hours, although you might want to slow down to enjoy the splendid natural scenery.
Explore the South Pole in comfort at the International Antarctic Centre
The International Antarctic Centre offers a huge range of experiences sure to please and entertain the whole family. This award-winning visitor destination teaches visitors about Antarctic exploration through action-packed adventure experiences. Most certainly, the International Antarctic Centre will chill, thrill and astonish you with its interactive displays, 4D theatre and cool hands-on activities. With this real-life polar exploration under your belt, memories of your visit will last long after your journey ends.
Shop, snack and see the sights of Christchurch
With abundant shopping and dining options available, the many Christchurch malls and food courts will keep you well provided for while you shop. You can also shop and dine at the Te Matatiki Toi Ora Arts Centre. At this complex of 23 heritage buildings, you can also browse the many inspirational art displays. Another retail therapy destination is New Regent Street. Often called New Zealand’s most beautiful street, it is lined with traditional architecture that sets the backdrop for trendy shopping and dining.
Experience Christchurch, explore the South Island
Christchurch is the perfect base for exploring the spectacular South Island. It is the starting point for our thrilling Aoraki-Mount Cook All Day Scenic Tour and our Akaroa and Banks Peninsula Wild Penguins Eco-Tour.
To take in even more of the city of Christchurch and the awe-inspiring destinations nearby, you can even design your unique, custom tour with the expert guidance of our tour guides.