Our top sights, highlights and exclusive tips
Christchurch is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining innovation with heritage, culture and exhilarating activities. Well-known for its English heritage, Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island. This charming place offers a wonderful arts scene and lovely botanic gardens, as well as the unique landscape of Banks Peninsula with its volcanic origins.
International Antarctic Center
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
The Arts Center
The Riccarton Market
A taste of the Antarctic is what you’ll find at the International Antarctic Center. Rooms are chilled to 17 Fahrenheit in order to assure the most realistic ambiance: Wander this museum and find the best of the Arctic at your leisure. Don’t forget to hop on the Haglund to complete the trip.
Encompassing over 50 acres of downtown Christchurch within Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens are hard to miss. There are more than 10 different gardens to view here, such as the rose garden, New Zealand garden and a conservatory complex, a phenomenal way to spend a cool afternoon after an adrenaline-filled adventure.
400 acres of pristine wilderness and gardens await you at Christchurch’s main park. With the Avon River flowing throughout the park, as well as Victoria Lake, this oasis in downtown Christchurch is home to the Hagley Oval cricket grounds, the Botanic Gardens, and Canterbury Museum. Get lost in the verdant paths of this majestic park.
Delight in the excellent exhibitions on Antarctica, the Christchurch earthquake, natural and human history and the interactive Discovery Center for kids at the Canterbury Museum. Located in downtown Christchurch, on the edges of Hagley Park, the museum is unmissable for anyone looking for a historical background of Canterbury.
A hub for art, culture and creativity in Christchurch, the Arts Center is a unique establishment celebrating all things New Zealand. There are interactive science displays, art studios and galleries, boutique shops, food and beverage outlets, public spaces and numerous events held throughout the year here. The Gothic buildings that form the home of the Arts Center were formerly the home of the Canterbury College.
Due to significant damage to the original Christchurch Cathedral during the 2011 earthquake, the Cardboard Cathedral was created as a temporary place of worship. The Cathedral was the first large building completed after the earthquake, an inimitable building that has become a new landmark in Christchurch is certainly worthy of a visit.
Located at the Riccarton Racecourse, this popular market is held every Sunday in the morning and early afternoon. A Christchurch staple, the market offers a wonderful atmosphere for a little Sunday shopping and is perfect for a bite to eat. Known as a place to find something a little different, the market gives you the opportunity to shop for clothing, jewelry, art, as well as bargain collectibles.
Noteworthy as the only French settlement in New Zealand, this charming little city is sure to entrance you with its historic buildings and striking natural harbor. Akaroa is Maori for “long harbor”—you’ll see why on your visit. Akaroa is well-known for wonderful sea kayaking opportunities on the local waters, as well as the penguin colonies and dolphins that inhabit the area.
Craters form the form the large harbors around the Banks Peninsula, which is unique for its own geology and marine wildlife. On warm summer days, swimming with the rare Hector’s dolphin is also an exciting adventure, and that is not easily forgotten. On land, hiking, mountain biking and horse trekking are all easily available and wonderful ways to explore the area.
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