Christchurch travel guide

Christchurch Tourism | Christchurch Guide

You're Going to Love Christchurch

When it comes to New Zealand, Christchurch is an underrated and amazing city. From great shopping to gorgeous rivers and stunning parks, you'll have everything you'd want access to and more in this small city that packs a punch.

Whether you're heading out to the incredible landscape that surrounds Christchurch or simply ambling through the city center, you'll continue to see the beauty in the city and the warmth of the locals.

Be sure to visit the museums and experience Christchurch's rich history, and marvel at how the city has been able to pick itself up following the 2011 earthquake.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Christchurch

1. The Expansive Botanic Gardens

One of the most serene places in the entire city is the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Learn about the local flora, kayak, and take punt tours on the river. With quiet areas for picnics, expansive parks for running around, and beautiful gardens, this spot has it all.

2. The Resilience of the People

It's no secret that Christchurch was torn apart by the 2011 earthquake, and while the effects are still felt, you'll see a city that was able to rebuild and came out even better than before.

3. Explore Surrounding Landscape

The New Zealand South Island is one of the most miraculously stunning places on the planet and you can explore this area very easily from the city of Christchurch.

4. Marvel at Art Sculptures

Throughout the city you'll find non-traditional art displays unlike anywhere else. From eye-catching murals to large sculptures meant to look like wheat, you'll never see a more impressive selection.

5. Extensive Retail Therapy

While many cities have superb shopping, Christchurch is a treat because of some of its historical ties. Be sure to visit Ballantynes, the oldest department store in the city that opened in 1854.

Where to Eat in Christchurch

Christchurch has some amazing dining options that cater to everyone. The city center has excellent food and drink options, but don't forget Riccarton is great for Asian food at affordable pricing, about NZ$15 for a main. In the city center, try Twenty Seven Steps for a high-end experience, where mains may cost you NZ$40. At more mid-range places like Fiddlesticks or Cafe Valentino, your mains will be around NZ$20 and cocktails around NZ$15.

When to visit Christchurch

Christchurch in May
Estimated hotel price
C$ 60
1 night at 3-star hotel
Christchurch in May
Estimated hotel price
C$ 60
1 night at 3-star hotel

Although Christchurch is a lovely city all year round, one of the best times to visit is the spring (September to November). This is because the city has so many parks and green areas and this season is when all the flowers are in bloom and the temperature is perfect for sightseeing. However, unlike its Australian neighbor, Christchurch has a relatively mild climate. Summer days usually don't go above 77 degrees and the winters aren't that harsh, with temperatures usually hovering around 50 degrees.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Christchurch

Plane

Christchurch Airport (CHC) is located just seven miles from the city center. The easiest way to get into the city is to take the public bus that leaves from just outside the airport. This costs NZ$3.50 one way. You can also take a shuttle bus service, which will take you anywhere in the city for a flat rate of NZ$25/person and NZ$4 for every subsequent person. The final way to get into the city is using a taxi, which will cost you around NZ$45.

Train

The most popular train company that serves Christchurch is the TranzAlpine, which has direct services to and from Greymouth, Kaikoura, and Picton. All trains depart and arrive into the Christchurch Railway Station. Prices will vary, but expect to pay around NZ$100.

Car

The main highway leading to Christchurch is the State Highway 1, coming from the south or down from the north. Should you want to come at Christchurch from the east or west, you'll need State Highway 73.

Bus

There are several bus companies that serve Christchurch, such as InterCity and Newmans Coach Lines. You can get daily bus services to Picton, Greymouth, Dunedin, Queenstown, and more. Prices will be around NZ$42 and will depart and arrive into the Christchurch Bus Interchange.

Airports near Christchurch

Airlines serving Christchurch

United Airlines
Good (2,261 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (961 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,718 reviews)
British Airways
Good (709 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (269 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (905 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (424 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (555 reviews)
Finnair
Good (320 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (1,546 reviews)
LOT
Good (206 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (170 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (544 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (109 reviews)
Ethiopian Air
Good (121 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (97 reviews)
Thai Airways
Excellent (26 reviews)
Virgin Atlantic
Good (121 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Excellent (18 reviews)
Asiana Airlines
Excellent (41 reviews)
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Where to stay in Christchurch

Whether you're looking for 5-star hotels, small and historic boutique hotels, or budget accommodation, Christchurch has many options for you. If you're looking for luxury, try the upscale Hotel Montreal or Chateau on the Park in Christchurch Central. For more affordable options, try the YHA Christchurch Backpackers in Christchurch Central or the Novotel Christchurch in Riccarton.

Popular neighbourhoods in Christchurch

Christchurch Central - the most popular area of Christchurch is the very center of this city. This is where you'll find the vast majority of hotels with easy access to all the sights and excellent shopping.

Riccarton - if you're looking for excellent shopping and many delicious restaurant options then this is the neighborhood for you. It's home to the largest shopping mall in Christchurch, Westfield Riccarton, and lots of Asian restaurants, such as Buddha Stix or King of Snake, so you'll have plenty to do.

Hagley Park/Botanic Gardens - just on the outskirts of Christchurch Central, you'll find the area of the city dedicated to beautiful parks and grounds. It's just a 5 to 10-minute walk from the city center and you'll also find the Canterbury Museum here as well.

Most popular hotel in Christchurch by neighborhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Christchurch

Most booked hotels in Christchurch

Hotel Give
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
C$ 43+
Breakfree On Cashel
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
C$ 76+
Heartland Hotel Cotswold
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
C$ 104+
Beachlife Apartments
Good (6.5, Good reviews)
C$ 96+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Christchurch

Public Transportation

Buses are the bread and butter of Christchurch public transportation. They can take you all around the city and if you get a Metrocard, you'll be capped at NZ$5 per day. Should you wish to buy single journeys, it's NZ$3.50 each. There's also the tramway, which has a small circuit in the city center, but because it's a tourist attraction it will cost you NZ$25.

Taxi

Taxis are relatively expensive in Christchurch, but there are multiple companies that serve the city, so there will be plenty around. Base fares are NZ$3 and average NZ$3 per mile. However, the city is small so you probably won't find yourself needing to go too far.

Car

Within the city center you'll find locations for Hertz, Avis, Omega, and Apex. Car rentals can be quite pricey, so expect to pay around NZ$350 for a three-day rental. If you go above four days, the price will only increase marginally. For example, a 5-day rental may only cost you $410.

The Cost of Living in Christchurch

Shopping Streets

One of the coolest shopping places to check out is Re:Start in the city center, an outdoor mall made up entirely of shipping containers. The stores here sell everything from cell phones to stationery and clothes and tend to be pretty affordable. New Regent Street has some beautiful architecture and lovely boutique stores, but expect to pay for the more upscale experience.

Groceries and Other

The grocery stores in Christchurch will sell just about anything you could need, from food to personal care items to homewares. The most popular stores are New World and Countdown. New World tends to be on the cheaper side, but both are good value. A loaf of bread will cost you about NZ$1 and a dozen eggs only about NZ$4. You'll also be able to find things like shampoo for as little as NZ$3 a bottle.

Cheap meal
C$ 18.38
A pair of jeans
C$ 87.78
Single public transport ticket
C$ 3.22
Cappuccino
C$ 4.19