Christchurch is an ever changing city. With the devastating earthquake of 2011 causing so much damage, Christchurch is continuously rebuilding itself. Known as The Garden City, it's a fascinating place to visit. There are plenty of things to do in Christchurch from visiting the beautiful parks and checking out the excellent markets to more adrenalin fueled activities.
Best Things To Do in Christchurch
1. Go to Canterbury Museum
Learn more about the history of New Zealand and the Canterbury region. It's well worth joining the hour long tour of the museum by the very knowledgable guides. Entry to the museum is free but the tour, and museum entry, both welcome donations.
2. Visit Quake City
Quake City is an ongoing exhibition which gives an insight into the 2 earthquakes that affected Christchurch in 2010 and 2011. Showing the resilience and heroism of the locals and emergency services and explaining what liquefaction is and how that caused so much damage, Quake City is an important exhibition to visit to see the recent history of Christchurch and also what the city is doing moving forward. It costs $20 to get in and is well worth it.
3. Relax in Hagley Park
With Christchurch being known as The Garden City you should probably visit at least one of the parks within the city! Hagley Park is a large outdoor space that has been around since 1855. The Avon river runs through the park and you'll also find the Botanical Gardens here. The park is so large it's split into North and South Hagley Park, Little Hagley Park and even has an 18 hole golf course and Hagley Oval (cricket ground) within the grounds.
4. Check out the old and new Christchurch Cathedral
Christchurch Cathedral was one of the most iconic landmarks of the city before the earthquake but it was sadly destroyed. Click here to see what the Cathedral used to look like and how it currently looks. A short distance away from the remains of the old stone cathedral you'll find the temporary replacement - the Cardboard Cathedral.
5. Spend a day at the suburb of Sumner
Head out to Sumner Village and Beach, a lovely coastal suburb around 40 minutes away from the CBD (by public transport). Spend the day on the beach surfing or swimming or check out the cafes, bars and restaurants of the village. There are some lovely views around Sumner as well.
6. Go Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is very popular in Christchurch, with some great places for outdoor climbing. If you're more of a beginner then there are a few indoor places to find your feet.
7. Visit the Adrenalin Forest
If you want 3 hours of fun in what can only be described as an obstacle course in the sky then the Adrenalin Forest is where you need to go. So good!
8. Go punting on the Avon River
Go for a gentle trip down Avon River being guided by someone in Edwardian garb. Surreal, serene and stunning!
9. Head out to Quail Island
Quail Island is a small uninhabited island in Lyttleton Harbour. Although it's uninhabited you can actually stay overnight if you book the 12 bed Ōtamahua Hut in advance. Book a boat trip to explore this former Leprosy colony and to spot some native birds including little blue penguins.
10. Check out the Markets
Like most major towns you can expect to find some good markets. If you like Farmers markets then head to The Riccarton Market every Sunday or The Christchurch Farmers Market every Saturday. Head to the New Brighton Seaside Market for more crafts and entertainment as well as good food.
11. Take a walk on New Brighton Beach Pier
If you've headed to New Brighton to see the markets then you might as well also check out the pier. It's actually the second pier after the first wooden one was demolished in 1965.
13. See New Zealand's Big 5 at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
This is one of the few places where you're guaranteed to see the elusive Kiwi as well as many other native birds and wildlife. It's a really lovely wildlife park where you can see New Zealands Big 5; Kiwi, Tuatara, Takahe, Kaka and Kea, as well as animals from around the world.
14. See the 185 White Chairs Memorial
A very moving unofficial memorial to the 185 people who lost their lives in the 2011 Earthquake. There is also a more recent official memorial site that you can visit.
15. Head to Ferrymead Heritage Park
If you like Olde Worlde things then you'll love Ferrymead Heritage Park. It's an Edwardian township with restored cottages and buidlings reflecting the early 1900's way of life. They even run trams and steam trains (not daily).
You'll love Christchurch, it's hard not to!