Popular Attractions in Christchurch New Zealand
Hagley Park, Christchurch. Photo Credit: Julian Apse, Visuals New Zealand
Christchurch, the most populous city in New Zealand’s South Island, has emerged from a series of devastating earthquakes as a vibrant regional hub full of unforgettable activities.
Christchurch attractions range from adventure activities, gardens to galleries; there’s something for everyone in the city centre and its surrounding suburbs. For visitors to the ‘Garden City’ who only have a couple of days to explore, we’ve compiled a short list of great things to see and do.
Go for a Bicycle Ride
Consider renting a bicycle for an easy way to visit Christchurch attractions while enjoying some leisurely exercise. The city centre’s layout and flat topography (somewhat contrary to New Zealand’s other major cities) make it an excellent place to enjoy a bicycle ride on a sunny day. The city centre is also relatively small, so getting from place to place shouldn’t be too difficult.
Check out Christchurch’s Art Galleries
For its size, Christchurch contains a remarkable number of attractions for visitors who are interested in art. Popular Christchurch contemporary art galleries include The Centre of Contemporary Art and the Jonathan Smart Gallery, both of which present work from artists working with a host of disciplines.
The dynamic Jonathan Smart Gallery, which has been successfully displaying art since 1987, hosts a different exhibition each month. Located in Sydenham, the gallery is a worthwhile visit for its diverse range of work, from photography to painting.
The Christchurch Art Gallery, a public gallery funded by the council, displays exhibitions both by New Zealand artists and those from further afield. The gallery, which was opened in 2003, also houses its own sizeable collection of art.
Take a Walk in the Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking for a low-key activity to finish off a day of sightseeing, consider visiting Christchurch’s botanical gardens. The gardens, which span 21 hectares, offer a relaxing experience to the 1.5 million visitors who wander through them each year. The exotic collection of trees that the gardens are host to are some of the most fascinating to be found in the country; their height and their age are sure to impress even the most discerning nature-lover.
Visit the City’s Container Shops
Christchurch is a city of innovative people, as illustrated by the shops built out of shipping containers that popped up in the city centre after the 2011 earthquakes. A sign of the city’s resilience and refusal to give up, the collection of containers allows visitors to have a meal, grab a cup of coffee, shop for clothes, or even do their banking at one of the businesses housed there.
Have Breakfast at a Café
Any good day in New Zealand starts with excellent coffee, preferably alongside a substantial breakfast. Christchurch is no stranger to the coffee culture that has swept New Zealand, and is host to a variety of cafés popular with tourists and locals alike. Local favourites include Under the Red Verandah, in the suburb of Linwood, and Hello Sunday, aptly named for its suitability for a lazy weekend brunch.
Embrace Your Inner Child at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground
One of the best attractions in Christchurch is the Margaret Mahy Family Playground. Don’t be fooled by the name – this is an experience designed to be enjoyed by adults and children alike, as is evident by the amount of people found there every weekend! Named after the famous children’s author Margaret Mahy, who called Christchurch her home, the playground contains a flying fox, a ‘tower of terror’ slide, and a climbing wall. The water features are sure to be a hit with children in the summer, and the trampolines will have adults fondly remembering their own childhood.
Getting to the Garden City is easy, with international flights to Christchurch flying in via Australia, Asia and the Middle East.