21 people found this article useful

10 Christchurch Must-Dos

Tourism NZ

Things you can’t miss in Christchurch!

Welcome to Christchurch! It’s the South Island’s largest city; a bustling hub for art, culture, food, walks, beaches and more! While there’s so much to do in Christchurch, which is outline in our Christchurch City – Guide for Backpackers, we’ve whittled down the offerings to just 10 Christchurch must-dos!

The activities on this must-do list are a mix of free and affordable activities, but be sure to check out 15 Free or Cheap Things to do in Christchurch for more ways to experience Christchurch on a budget. There’s so much to do that you’ll want to stay a while, so get some inspiration in our Christchurch hostels list or other budget accommodation list.

Live Chat

1. Check out the Botanic Gardens

Christchurch is known as the “Garden City” and for good reason! That’s why the Christchurch Botanic Gardens tops our list of Christchurch must-dos. Not only is it a super accessible activity from the city centre, it’s also free and has lots to discover! Wander in the rose gardens, find all the water features (there are interactive ones too), do native bush walks or people-watch from under a giant oak tree.

Location: Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch City Centre
BackpackerGuide.NZ

2. Do a Double Decker Tour of the city

As well as being the Garden City, Christchurch is also considered the most English city outside of England so there’s nothing more fitting than an open-top double decker tour. This is a great way to see most of the city sights and learn about Christchurch in a short amount of time.

Location: Tours depart from outside of the Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens on Rolleston Avenue.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

3. Take a trip to Akaroa

Christchurch is definitely not all about the city centre. For those of you with more time, be sure to add Akaroa to your Christchurch travel itinerary! The Akaroa Peninsula is not only considered the “French Town” of New Zealand, it’s also a mecca for wildlife. As well as walks, great eateries and bike rides, getting out on the Akaroa Harbour is almost guaranteed to give you some sightings of Hector’s dolphins, little blue penguins, seals and seabirds!

Location: Akaroa is 1h25 minutes drive from Christchurch City Centre down State Highway 75. Bus trips and shuttles also depart from Christchurch city.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

4. Visit the Canterbury Museum

We can’t resist adding that classic indoor activity to this Christchurch must-do list! The Canterbury Museum is a great place to learn all about the South Island’s largest city, as well as the surrounding region, which is also out of any bad weather and a free activity. Take a journey through the Canterbury region from the times of the early wildlife and early settlers called the Maori to the arrival of the Europeans.

Location: Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch City Centre
BackpackerGuide.NZ

5. Head to the Port hills

The Port Hills that skirt the side of Christchurch is the best place to stretch your legs in Christchurch and grab some awesome views. While you have a great deal of choice when it comes to walking or biking tracks, a favourite has to be the Ahuriri Reserve, the Crater Rim walk at Sign of the Bellbird. The 4km track takes about 1h30min to complete one way.

Location: Sign of the Bellbird, Summit Road, Port Hills. 35-minute drive out of Christchurch City Centre.
 TRAILSOURCE.COM on Flickr

6. Take a trip to Lyttleton & Quail Island

Just through the 1,970m Lyttleton Tunnel is the quaint suburb of Lyttleton with its harbour being the base for some great boat trips out to Quail Island. After checking out the cafes, bars and boutiques, catch a ferry to Quail Island. Quail Island is not only full of walking tracks with some great photo opportunities, it also has a fascinating history of being a quarantine island which you’ll have lots of opportunities to learn about on the island. What’s more, the beaches are very tempting on a sunny day.

Location: Lyttleton is a 20-minute drive southeast of the city centre. Lyttleton is part of the Christchurch public transport network.
BackpackerGuide.NZ

7. Feast at the Riccarton Farmers’ Market

If there’s only one place you can go to get your foodie experience in Christchurch, it has to be the Riccarton Farmers’ Market. With over 300 stalls, it’s the biggest and most popular farmers’ market in New Zealand. Try some tasty treats and drinks, all produced by passionate locals. Browse for the perfect New Zealand souvenir on the crafts stalls and more. There’s always some form of great entertainment too like live music. For more great places to eat on a budget, head to Cheap Eats in Christchurch.

Location: Every Sunday 9am-2pm, Riccarton Racecourse, Riccarton Park, 146 Racecourse Road Christchurch New Zealand
BackpackerGuide.NZ

8. Jump on-board one of the world’s most scenic train journeys

The TranzAlpine Express from Christchurch to Greymouth is on many lists as one of the world’s most scenic train journeys. A journey from Christchurch takes you through the Canterbury Plains to the stunning mountainous scenery of the Southern Alps as you go through Arthur’s Pass National Park. You’ll make a quick stop in the middle of Arthur’s Pass before going through the 8.5km Otira Tunnel. You’ll then journey past rainforests and lakes of the West Coast before arriving in Greymouth. Either continue your trip from there or the train soon departs back to Christchurch to enjoy all over again.

Location: Christchurch Railway Station, Addington, Christchurch
KiwiRail

9. Go to the beach

Christchurch has a number of great beaches that we’d love to mention, but if we’re being picky – as is the reason for a must-do list – then we’d say you should definitely check out Sumner Beach! It’s easy to access by public transport or car by being on the edge of the city. Plus, it’s a great place to swim, surf and go for walk with its interesting arches and caves. The beach is also backed with fish and chips restaurants and ice cream completing the beach experience!

Location: 20-minutes drive from Christchurch City Centre.
 Bernard Spragg. NZ on Flickr

10. Hit New Regent Street

The most photograph-able street in Christchurch is New Regent Street so don’t miss it when on your city exploration adventures! It’s cool, colourful and quirky!

Location: New Regent Street, Christchurch
Tourism NZ

New Zealand's Biggest Gap Year on YouTube
Was this article useful? Useful Useless
Help other travellers, share this article now:
Pin
Working Holiday Insurance

Most Popular Videos

Video Thumbnail
Video Thumbnail
Video Thumbnail
BackpackerGuide.NZ
Natural Attractions

15 Stops You Can’t Miss on the Road to Milford Sound

Essential pit stops on the Milford Sound Road The Road to Milford [...]

Jucy
Rental Car/Campervan

The Best Car Rental Companies in Queenstown

What is the best car rental company in Queenstown? Travelling New Zealand [...]

HiFX - Money Transfer
Hot on Backpacker Guide
National Parks
BackpackerGuide.NZ

Fiordland National Park – Guide for Backpackers

Cruise the fiords and get harassed by a kea in Fiordland! Once again, […]

South Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

10 Must-Dos in The Catlins

Things you Can’t miss in The Catlins! The Catlins Coast, the South […]

Biking

12 Super Scenic Cycle Trails in Otago

Which bike trails to try in Otago. Snow-capped mountains, lakes, river gorges, […]

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
I accept

Menu