The largest city in the South Island, Christchurch offers up a lot to do, whether it be skiing/snowboarding, bungy, hiking, mountain biking, surfing, beaches, golfing, whale watching and shopping… the choices are endless. Sadly, in 2010 and 2011, much of the cities historical sites were damaged by earthquakes, but the city is still very vibrant and rebuilding by the day!
How To Get Around…
Photo Credit: Juicy Rentals
Renting A Car: This is a MUST while visiting New Zealand, as most of its sights are far apart. Be sure to rent/bring a GPS, especially if you won’t have wifi on your phone. For 2 weeks, we rented a car for about $600USD (around $40USD/day). Note: New Zealanders drive on the opposite side of the road as Americans, so be careful!
RV Rental: Many people rent a camper van/motor home and utilize that as both their transport and accommodation (we’ll be doing this next time!). Juicy Rentals is by far the most popular in town. A standard camper van will cost about $1470USD for 2 weeks (around $105USD/day). Don’t forget to factor in the cost of gas.
How To Get There…
If you don’t fly into Christchurch, it’s a 5 hour drive from Franz Joseph Glacier and a 6 hour drive from Queenstown. If you’re coming from Franz Joseph, be sure to stop at Arthur’s Pass along the way, which is a GIANT, iconic bridge between the mountains. The lookout creeps up suddenly after the bridge, so it’s easy to miss. There are many things to see and do in Arthur’s Pass National Park, including hiking, skiing and snowboarding, if you’d like to stay a night or two.
Where To Stay…
Airbnb Sumner Beach:
If you’re beach people like us, then there is no better place to stay than Sumner Beach (just 15 minutes outside of downtown). We stayed in the nicest Airbnb we’ve ever seen just across from the beach and the host was incredible!
For $36 off your first Airbnb booking, click HERE:
Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch :
Great location in the center of the city. $100USD/night
Le Petit Hotel Sumner:
An adorable bed and breakfast with great customer service and a 2 minute walk to the beach. $90USD/night
Where To Eat…
Pedro’s House of Lamb (Christchurch):
Pedro’s was once an actual restaurant, but the building was destroyed in the earthquake. Now it’s a free standing box, so the food must be ordered to go, but this doesn’t take away from the amazing flavor of it’s delicious food! Be sure to order the whole baked lamb shoulder with scalloped potatoes…you won’t be disappointed!
Bloody Mary’s (Christchurch):
An upscale steakhouse and bar with excellent food and reputation.
Cave Rock (Sumner Beach):
Great food and service! You’ll find it across the street from Beach Bar. (No Website)
Beach Bar (Sumner Beach):
Located right on the beach, this is the perfect spot to grab a drink and watch the sunset. Note: They’re closed Monday and Tuesday.
What To Do…
Photo Credit: Google
Christchurch Botanic Gardens:
Beautiful gardens with gorgeous flowers…perfect for a stroll.
185 Empty White Chairs:
Time at Attraction: 1 Hour
An emotional tribute to the 185 individuals who lost their lives in the earthquake of 2011. It has been relocated to St Paul’s Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church site on the corner of Cashel and Madras Streets.
Cost: Adult $28NZD ($20USD), Child $12NZD ($8USD)
Time At Attraction: 1+ Hour, the Gondola takes 10min eat way
Gorgeous 360 degree views of the city, over the Canterbury Plains out to Southern Alps and the hills of Banks Peninsula.
Christchurch Tram City Tour:
Cost: Adult $25NZD ($17USD), Child Free (5-15yrs) *up to 3 children may ride for free per paying adult*
Hours: Summer (Sept-Mar) 9am-6pm, Winter (Apr-Aug) 10am-5pm
Time At Attraction: 1++ Hour
The historic heritage tram (like the San Francisco Trolly) takes you through the heart of Christchurch. Hop on/off at any of the 17 stops, as your ticket is good for 24 hours.
NOTE: Combo tickets for the Christchurch Tram City Tour and Gondola Ride are sold for Adult $48NZD ($33USD) and Child $12NZD ($18USD).
Punting On the Avon:
Cost: Adult $28NZD ($20USD), Child $12NZD ($8USD)
Hours: Summer (Oct-Mar) 9am-6pm, Winter (Apr-Sept) 10am-4pm
Time At Attraction: 30 minutes
Similar to the gondola ride through the canals of Venice, Punting on the Avon is an iconic activity in Christchurch that shouldn’t be missed.
Note: There are two departure points, city and park. Park Site is located at Antigua Boat Sheds, 2 Cambridge Terrace. City site is located at Worcester Bridge, Worcester Street).
NOTE: All 4 attractions including the Scenic Gondala Ride, Tram City Tour, Punting on the Avon and the Botanic Gardens Tour can be purchased as a package for Adult $86NZD ($60USD) Child $25NZD ($17USD).
Sumner Beach/ Cave Rock:
Time At Attraction: half-full day
What better way to spend a day than at the beach? Sumner Beach is a perfect little spot, located just 15 minutes outside of Christchurch. Be sure to climb Cave Rock, for some epic views (especially at sunrise and sunset!).