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.

The main picture above shows an iconic view of Christchurch before the earthquakes. (source - Mr. Tickle [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

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.

    free things to do in christchurch
    Canterbury Museum

    GordonMakryllos [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    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.

    top things to do on christchurch
    Quake City

    Photo by Jocelyn Kinghorn - license

    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.

    hagley park christchurch
    Hagley Park

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    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.

    chirstchurch cathedral cardboard cathedral
    Christchurch Cathedral - The Cardboard Cathedral

    Schwede66 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    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.

    sumner beach and village
    Sumner Christchurch

    Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

    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!

    christchurch things to do punting
    Punting on the Avon River

    Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

    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.

    quail island christchurch activities
    Quail Island

    Schwede66 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    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.

    New Brighton Beach Pier activities in christchurch
    New Brighton Beach Pier

    Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

    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.

    endemic new zealand reptile tuatara
    Tuatara

    Michael Hamilton Digitaltrails [CC BY-SA 3.0], from [https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tuatara_Sphenodon_punctatus_standing_proud.jpg]

    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.

    185 empty white chairs
    185 Empty White Chairs

    Grey Geezer [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    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).

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