45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ
45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]

© ChristchurchNZ

The Top Attractions, Activities and Tours 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, we even have The Complete Guide to Christchurch, we’ve selected something for all types of travellers in this list of the best things to do in Christchurch.

What’s more, there’s so much to do that you’ll want to stay awhile, so get some inspiration from the 20 Best Hotels in Christchurch or the 10 Best Budget Accommodations.

1. Wander Around 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 the best things to do in Christchurch. Not only is it a super accessible activity from the city centre, but it’s also free and has lots to discover! Wander in the rose gardens, find all the water features (there are interactive ones too), and do native bush walks or people-watch from under a giant oak tree. Check out 10 Beautiful Gardens & Parks in Christchurch for more gardens to visit.

Location: Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch city centre.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

2. Visit the Canterbury Museum

[Update: The Rolleston Avenue Canterbury Museum is closed for redevelopment during 2023 (but there’s a cool street art gallery in its place). A pop-up museum is available from mid-2023 at 66 Gloucester Street].

We can’t resist adding that classic indoor activity to this list of things to do in Christchurch! The Canterbury Museum is a great place to learn all about the South Island’s largest city, as well as the surrounding region. What’s more, the museum is out of any bad weather and 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. See more experiences like this in the 26 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch.

Location: Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Check Out Christchurch’s Vibrant Art Scene

Christchurch has a vibrant art scene with countless murals to discover across the city. Once you’ve finished checking out the street art, head to the Christchurch Art Gallery boasting a lively exhibition programme. The art gallery is free and even open late-night on Wednesdays, making it one of the amazing 10 Things to Do in Christchurch at Night.

Location: Corner of Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street, Christchurch city centre.

© Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ

4. Hike and Soak in the Scenery of the Port Hills…

The Port Hills that skirt the city are 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 and the Crater Rim walk at Sign of the Bellbird. The 4 km (2 mi) track takes about 1 h 30 mins to complete one way. Even if you’re not much of a hiker, you can always take the Christchurch Gondola, providing access to walks, a restaurant, a cafe, a shop and more. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Location: Summit Road, Port Hills, approximately 9.5 km (5.9 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

5. … Or Take the Christchurch Gondola into the Port Hills

If you’re not much of a hiker, you can always take the Christchurch Gondola, which grants easy access to walks, a restaurant, a cafe, a shop and more. Not to mention, the panoramic views on the way up provide plenty of photo opportunities. Find out more on Viator and Klook.

Location: Summit Road, Port Hills, approximately 9.5 km (5.9 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© Nancy Zhou -ChristchurchNZ

6. Do Some Sightseeing on the Christchurch City Tramway

Step back in time and enjoy this old-worldly transport method of getting around the inner city. The beautifully restored Christchurch Tramway (more info on Viator and Klook) is a fun way to explore the city where you can hop on and hop off as much as you like. What’s more, families will be pleased to find that kids get to ride for free! Check out more experiences like this in the 30 Things to Do in Christchurch with Kids.

Location: You can get on the tram at any of its 17 stops. The easiest to find is along Rolleston Avenue near the Canterbury Museum.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

7. Take a Trip to Lyttelton and Quail Island

Just through the 1,970 m (6,463 ft) Lyttelton Tunnel is the quaint suburb of Lyttelton with its harbour being the base for some great boat trips out to Quail Island. After checking out the cafes, bars and boutiques (and the 10 Best Things to Do in Lyttelton), catch a ferry to Quail Island (Ōtamahua). Quail Island is not only full of walking tracks with some great photo opportunities, but it also has a fascinating history of being a quarantine island which you’ll have lots of opportunities to learn about as you explore the island. What’s more, the beaches are very tempting on a sunny day. See more family-friendly activities like this in the 30 Things to Do in Christchurch with Kids.

Location: Take the Ferry from Lyttleton Harbour, approximately 13 km (8 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Lyttelton is on the Christchurch public transport network.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

8. 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 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 food-related activities, check out the 10 Foodie Experiences in Christchurch. Plus, check out a whole list of markets in the 26 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch.

Location: Every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm, Riccarton Racecourse, Riccarton Park, 146 Racecourse Road, a 15-minute drive from the city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ

9. Walk Along the Avon River

The Avon River meanders through the centre of Christchurch. The walkway along the banks is a great way to see some of the city highlights, such as the Antigua Boat Sheds, the Bridge of Remembrance, the Worcester Street Bridge, the Kate Sheppard National Memorial, the Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake Memorial and much more. There are many entry and exit points along the river to make the walk as short or as long as you like.

Location: Montreal Street, Cashel Street, Hereford Street and more from Christchurch city centre.

ChristchurchNZ© ChristchurchNZ

10. Jump on Board One of the World’s Most Scenic Train Journeys

The TranzAlpine 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 8.5 km (5.3 mi) 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 it all over again. Find out more about the TranzAlpine train journey on Viator and Klook.

Alternative options are also available on the TranzAlpine, such as a day trip to Arthur’s Pass, the heart of the Southern Alps, to enjoy the area’s short walks before taking the train back to Christchurch. You can also arrange tours with Canterbury Trails and Leisure Tours who, after taking the train to Arthur’s Pass, can bring you back to Christchurch via the Arthur’s Pass Road along with its attractions, such as Castle Hill and the Waimakariri Gorge.

Location: Christchurch Railway Station, Addington, approximately a 10-minute drive from Christchurch city centre.

KiwiRail© KiwiRail

11. Discover Great Eateries and Bars

Whatever your mood, budget or taste, there’s something yummy to try in Christchurch. Visit The Terrace to find Christchurch’s newest bars and restaurants along the Avon River. Alternatively, head to Victoria Street with a real mix of eateries, from Mexican to Latin to Asian fusion. For those of you on a budget or looking for some amazing street food, be sure to check out our recommendations in Cheap Eats in Christchurch. Plus, more restaurant recommendations can be found in The Food Guide to Christchurch.

Location: All over Christchurch! See the links above for recommendations and their locations.

© Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ

12. Go to the Beach!

Christchurch has a number of great beaches that we’d love to mention, but if we’re being picky 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 explore with its interesting arches and caves. The beach is also backed with fish and chips restaurants and ice cream completing the beach experience. Check out our 10 Top Surf Breaks in Christchurch for more amazing surf beaches.

Location: Main Road and Esplanade, Sumner, approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

13. Take a Tour of the Waipara Wine Region

Why not explore one of the South Island’s most underrated wine regions, the Waipara Valley, with one of the wine tours from Christchurch? You’ll be picked up from your accommodation and enjoy a 45-minute journey to the Waipara wine region. Wine tours typically stop by around four specially-selected boutique wineries, either your guide’s favourites or ones curated to fit your group’s taste.

Small-group wine tours are available with Leisure Tours, Giles Tours, Canterbury Trails and Cheeky Wine Tours, while NZSI Tours & Travel offers private wine tours.

Location: Christchurch accommodation pick-ups are available.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

14. Hit New Regent Street

The most photographable street in Christchurch is New Regent Street so don’t miss it when on your city exploration adventures! It’s cool, colourful and quirky! With its romantic flair, we’ve fit this street into the 20 Romantic Activities in Christchurch for Couples.

Location: New Regent Street, Christchurch city centre.

10 Christchurch Must-Dos© Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ

15. Journey to The Lord of the Rings Filming Location of Edoras

There are many fantastic tours exploring the South Island that depart from Christchurch, but one that combines breathtaking scenery with a nerdy theme is the Hassle-Free Tours‘ “Lord of the Rings Tour”. Journey through the Canterbury Plains to the stunning alpine region of Mt Sunday, also known as Edoras in The Lord of the Rings movies. You’ll get the opportunity to pose with props at a filming location, as well as learn about the flora and fauna of the area. The tour is approximately nine hours and included lunch, refreshment stops and commentary throughout the day.

Location: Pick-up is included from Rolleston Avenue and selected Christchurch hotels.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

16. Visit the International Antarctic Centre

Christchurch is an important connection between many countries and the Antarctic, so it’s only fitting to have the International Antarctic Centre based here. While the attraction is a bit “Disney” like with 4D theatre and a -18Ā°C Antarctic storm experience, it provides interesting insights into Antarctic exploration. One of the highlights is a ride in an all-terrain Hagglund vehicle.

Location: 38 Orchard Road, Harewood, approximately 11 km (7 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

© NZPocketGuide.com

17. Ride the Chairlift and Zipline Over the Trees at Christchurch Adventure Park

Christchurch Adventure Park offers an easy way to get views of Christchurch city without the effort thanks to their chairlift rides up the Cashmere Hills. When you get to the top, enjoy walking trails or the mountain bike park with trails suitable for kids too. For the more adventurous, check out the Zipline Tour, tackling four epic ziplines with duel lines to race each other to the bottom!

Location: 225 Worsleys Road, Cracroft, approximately 8 km (5 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

18. Paddle a Maori Waka on the Avon River

Experience the satisfaction of teamwork, all while immersing in New Zealand’s indigenous culture, in a waka paddling tour on the Avon River. Known in Maori as “Ōtākaro“, the Avon River is not only an iconic feature of Christchurch but a gorgeous setting for learning to paddle a Maori canoe with Ko Tāne. Enjoy early stories of Canterbury’s local iwi (tribe) and see what it’s like to use the river’s original method of transportation!

Location: 794 Colombo Street, Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

19. Explore the Forest on the Riccarton Bush Walk

Despite being in the middle of the South Island’s largest city, the Riccarton Bush Walk transports you to the wild side of New Zealand. Set behind the historic settler’s cottage, Deans Cottage, there are two short walks (15-minute and 30-minute return) winding through dense stands of kahikatea. Look out for fantails (piwakawaka), silvereyes (tauhou), grey warblers (riroriro) and wood pigeons (kereru).

Location: Walks start from Riccarton House, 16 Kahu Road, Riccarton, approximately 4 km (2.3 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ

20. Take to the Skies on a Helicopter Excursion

Ideal for travellers on limited time on the South Island or who want to simply do something epic, Christchurch Helicopters offers thrilling helicopter excursions to the South Island’s highlights and hard-to-reach places. Land on the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps as part of the Southern Alps Scenic tour or try flying a helicopter yourself on the Trial Flight experience. You can even fly as far as New Zealand’s longest glacier, the Tasman Glacier, and enjoy a glacier landing to the backdrop of the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook, on the Mt Cook Experience. All tours feature insightful commentary from local pilots.

Alternatively, soak up the views of Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula on a 20-minute scenic helicopter flight with Garden City Helicopters. They also offer a helicopter trial flight should you want to be a pilot for the afternoon, while their helicopter wine tour is a unique way to visit the Waipara vineyards. For more upscale tours like these, check out the 10 Best Luxury Experiences in Christchurch.

Location: Christchurch Helicopters – 25 Aviation Drive, Harewood Aviation Park, Christchurch International Airport, approximately 15 km (9 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Garden City Helicopters – 73 Grays Road, Yaldhurst, approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

21. Explore More of Hagley Park

Located in the heart of Christchurch, Hagley Park is one of the most famous parks of the Garden City. Not only does it host many sporting events, concerts and community events in the city, but the park offers a few year-round attractions of its own, including the Botanic Gardens and the Canterbury Museum (see above).

Location: Rolleston Avenue and Deans Avenue, Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

22. Discover the Gardens of Mona Vale

A picturesque English-style garden, Mona Vale is an easy walk or bus trip from the city centre and well worth the visit. The garden once belonged to Annie Townend, who was thought to be the richest woman in New Zealand during her time. See plantings of English and European trees and flowers surrounding a conservatory and homestead. Again, more gardens can be perused in our 10 Beautiful Gardens & Parks in Christchurch.

Location: 40 Mona Vale Avenue, Riccarton, approximately 4 km (2.4 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

23. Shop and Delight the Senses at the Riverside Market

A shopping experience that’s different enough to keep the kids’ senses ignited, the Riverside Market is a permanent indoor market awash in street food and laneway shopping. There are more than 75 vendors to try their fare, browse their eco-products, try on their attire, sample their cosmetics and more.

Location: 96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

24. Check Out New Zealand’s Coolest Library

We know what you’re thinking; The library? Seriously? But wait, Christchurch’s library is pretty darn cool and well worth checking out. TÅ«ranga has so much going on between its Production Studio with 3D printers to try, as well as sewing and embroidery machines! Or if you’re into a different type of crafting, see their Audio/Video Studio or Creative Space for the latest art workshops. There’s a cafe on-site and, oh yeah, there are books too.

Location: 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

25. Walk Out to Sea on the New Brighton Pier

In fact, there are quite a few things to do in the New Brighton suburb that we list a whole bunch in the 10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in New Brighton. Other than walking along the 300 m (980 ft) New Brighton Pier, the beaches are popular for surfing and sunbathing weather permitting, of course. Plus, a walk along Marine Parade offers shops and cafes.

Location: New Brighton, approximately 9 km (5.6 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

26. Relax in the He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools

If you don’t go to New Brighton for the pier, at least go for a rejuvenating soak in the He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools. The complex features five saltwater hot pools ranging from 26Ā°C to 40Ā°C (79-104Ā°F). Special sunrise sessions are also available on selected days to enhance the experience!

Location: New Brighton, approximately 9 km (5.6 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

27. Check Out the Air Force Museum of New Zealand

Experience New Zealand’s aviation history through the magnificent aeroplane exhibitions of the Air Force Museum of New Zealand. A diverse collection of planes and aviation memorabilia is scattered through diverse exhibition rooms and hangers – all of which are free to visit! Affordable additions to your visit include Behind the Scenes Tours, a Mosquito Mission flight simulator and a scavenger hunt. For more free museums, check out the 26 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch.

Location: 45 Harvard Avenue, Wigram, approximately 9 km (5.6 mi) from Christchurch city centre. 

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

28. Go Punting or Kayaking on the Avon River

More ways to experience the Avon River are through kayaking or, more uniquely, punting. Join Christchurch Attractions for a gentle 30-minute float on a flat-bottom punt as you pass willows lining the riverbank and ducks on the water. With your punter dressed in traditional costume using a long pole to propel the boat along the river, this is a truly unique experience that exists nowhere else in New Zealand. Alternatively, kayaks are available to hire from the Antigua Boat Sheds, also where punting trips depart.

Location: 2 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© Pixabay

29. Learn About the Christchurch Earthquakes at Quake City

Another museum in Christchurch, Quake City aims to give visitors a deeper understanding of Christchurchā€™s recent history of the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquakes. We recommend visiting Quake City early in your visit to Christchurch in order to get some perspective of the city and learn about New Zealand’s relationship with earthquakes. Note that there is an admission fee for this museum.

Location: 299 Durham Street North, corner Armagh Street, Christchurch Central.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

30. Bargain-Hunt at The Tannery

A unique shopping experience in Christchurch is within the striking architecture of a restored Victorian Tannery, affectionately known as The Tannery. It’s a place for bargain-hunters, fashionistas and eco-warriors alike with around 60 enticing fashion stores, bookshops, secondhand shops, homeware and fabric vendors, health and beauty stores and, of course, cafes.

Location: 3 Garlands Road, Woolston, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

31. Escape to the Hills of the Banks Peninsula on a Guided Hiking Excursion

Soak in the scenery and enjoy hiking without having to bring all your own heavy equipment with Crater Rim Walks. After a morning pick-up and 30-minute drive, start your walk with the backpack, walking poles, food and bottled water included. Your knowledgeable guide will share fascinating insights into the volcanic-formed scenery you’re observing, as well as give you access to photo opportunities that you wouldn’t find on your own. The experience also includes morning tea and lunch, of course, with a magnificent view.

Location: Christchurch accommodation pick-up included.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© Crater Rim Walks - Viator

32. Check Out the Gardens of Halswell Quarry

What was once a quarry used for the development of Christchurch has been transformed into an attractive recreational area. Halswell Quarry is located on the edge of the city, easy to find if driving along Kennedys Bush Road. Enjoy a myriad of short walks around the old quarry which features six sister-city gardens and a Canterbury botanical collection.

Location: Kennedy’s Bush Road, Halswell, approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

33. Experience the Thrills of a Jet Boat or Airboat Ride

In New Zealand, you’re never too far from a jet boat ride and the same goes for Christchurch with Alpine Jet Thrills. Just 15 minutes from the city, their “Braided Shallows” 20-minute jet boat experience takes you along the braided waters of the Waimakariri River with exciting speed, twists and 360-degree spins. Alternatively, try their US-style fan-powered airboat to explore the shallows. See how these experiences compare to the 20 Best Places to Jet Boat in New Zealand.

Location: 1 Main North Road, Kaiapoi, approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

34. Soak in the Scenery from a Hot Air Balloon

A unique yet exciting way to take the skies is on a hot air balloon ride with Ballooning Canterbury. Soak in the scenery of the vast Canterbury Plains without engine noise, without obstructions. Drift with the wind as you float over lush pastures lit up with the golden glow of the sunrise. At the end of the experience, you’ll be treated to sparkling wine/orange juice and a seasonal fruit platter. Alternatively, Adventure Balloons in the nearby town of Methven also offers incredible ballooning experiences. Find out more on Viator and Klook.

Location: Ballooning Canterbury – 2136 Bealey Road, Hororata, approximately 55 km (34 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Christchurch accommodation pick-up is offered. Adventure Balloons – Main Street, Methven, approximately 95 km (59 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

35. Treat Yourself to the Coolest Ice Cream Parlour in the City

If there’s one place for ice cream in Christchurch, it’s the punchy Rollickin Dessert Cafe right on the colourful New Regent Street. Treat yourself to, ya know, ice cream and sweet treats – open every day for fun and late-night! For more evening entertainment, take a look at the 10 Things to Do in Christchurch at Night.

Location: 35 New Regent Street, Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

36. Do the Treetop Obstacle Course of Adrenalin Forest

More active adventures await at Adrenalin Forest. This treetop obstacle course has challenges to tackle for all ages, including flying foxes (ziplines), a Tarzan jump, a wrecking ball, barrels and much more! The obstacle course provides great value considering you can easily spend half a day here.

Location: 110 Heyders Road, Spencerville, approximately 15 km (9 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

37. Learn a New Recipe at a Cooking Class

For a more hands-on experience than simply going to a restaurant, learn to make your own delectable dishes at one of Christchurch’s cooking classes. A popular go-to is the Riverside Kitchen, offering a lively calendar covering all sorts of cuisines in their modern venue upstairs at the Riverside Market. Alternatively, cook with fresh ingredients grown at the Asian Garden Cooking School‘s market garden in one of their themed classes, whether it’s to make Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese cuisine or something else. For more experiences with food at the fore, take a look a the 10 Foodie Experiences in Christchurch.

Location: Riverside Kitchen – 40/100 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch city centre. Asian Garden Cooking School – 7 Whitchurch Place, Harewood, approximately 11 km (7 mi) from Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

38. Dress Up for a Night at the Theatre

In true city spirit, enjoy an evening of the arts at one of the theatres and music centres in Christchurch. There’s a show going on most nights at the Isaac Theatre Royal, which is set in a grand heritage building with ornate interiors that are bound to make you “wow” even before seeing the show. For music lovers, try The Piano: Centre for Music and Arts showcasing musical arts at least a couple of times a week. Finally, check out showings at The Court Theatre, which has run productions for more than 40 years. Comedy, culture, dance and drama; there’s something for everyone.

Location: Isaac Theatre Royal – 145 Gloucester Street. The Piano – 156 Armagh Street. The Court Theatre – 36 Clarence Street South, Addington.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ

39. Check Out the “Cardboard” Cathedral

One of the first new buildings built after the earthquakes, the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral (more commonly known as the Cardboard Cathedral) has become as much of an icon as the city’s original cathedral it was made to temporarily replace. And yes, it’s actually made of cardboard, as one of the very few buildings of its kind. You have to see it to believe it, so pop in between 9 am and 5 pm (or after evening service).

Location: 234 Hereford Street, Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

40. Watch a Movie in Style

In Christchurch, going to the cinema isn’t just about watching a movie. It’s a whole experience. Relax in the bug comfortable seats of Deluxe Cinemas at The Tannery with a local craft beer in hand and a cheese platter. Alternatively, there’s Alice in Videoland, a boutique cinema located in the Old High Street Post Office, which promises yesterday’s ambience in the golden era of film with today’s technology. Finally, Lumiere Cinemas sits in the grand building of the Christchurch Arts Centre. Pick up a cocktail, wine or craft beer from the Bijou Bar with some gourmet chocolates, cheese platter or gelato to complement.

Location: Deluxe Cinemas at The Tannery – 3 Garlands Road, Woolston, approximately 6 km (4 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Alice in Videoland – 209 Tuam Street. Lumiere Cinemas – 26 Rolleston Avenue.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

41. Be Treated to a Luxury Picnic in the Garden City

There’s no place more fitting than the “Garden City” for a picnic! Enhance the experience among the lush gardens, riversides and parks of Christchurch with Christchurch Luxury Picnics. From romantic dates to family gatherings to birthday parties, the team will create bespoke picnic setups that cater to your individual needs and preferences. With a focus on using locally sourced and sustainable products, CLP is not only luxurious but also environmentally conscious. See more experiences like this in the 20 Romantic Things to Do in Christchurch.

Location: Anywhere in Christchurch; they bring the picnic to you!

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© Unsplash

42. Catch a Festival!

If you happen to be in Christchurch at the right time, you might just catch one of the free events and festivals that occur every single year. New Year’s in Hagley Park, the Matariki festival of Tirama Mai in Victoria Square, some of the events of The Bread & Circus Festival (World Buskers Festival), and more. For more festivals and events, check out our New Zealand Calendar: What’s Going On? and Top New Zealand Events This Year.

Location: All over Christchurch!

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

43. Let the Kids Loose at The Margaret Mahy Family Playground

If you’ve got little ones in tow, treat them to a galavant at The Margaret Mahy Family Playground. New Zealand playgrounds tend to be pretty epic, but this one in Christchurch is on a whole different level! Funky playground equipment, food and coffee vendors with seating, free barbecues, changing rooms and all that good stuff; there’s everything your family needs here for an hour or two… or three… or four!

Location: Corner of Manchester and Armagh Streets, Christchurch city centre.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© ChristchurchNZ

44. Take a Trip to Akaroa…

Christchurch is not all about the city centre. For those of you with more time, be sure to add Akaroa to your Christchurch travel itinerary! Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula are not only considered the “French Town” of New Zealand, but 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! See more must-do road trips like this in The Best Day Trips from Christchurch or book a tour to Akaroa with Maossie Tours.

Location: Akaroa, approximately 81 km (50.3 mi) from Christchurch city centre, down State Highway 75.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

45. … Or Further Afield to Hanmer Springs, Kaikoura or Arthur’s Pass

Again, if Christchurch is your main base for your getaway, then we fully recommend taking the time to get out of its little bubble and see some of the real New Zealand. Rent a car or a campervan and do a road trip to Hanmer Springs to relax in the town’s famous hot pools, Kaikoura for whale watching or swimming with dolphins, or Arthur’s Pass for world-class mountain scenery.

Take a look at some of The Best Car Rental Companies in Christchurch or The Best Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in Christchurch, as well as places to visit in The Best Day Trips from Christchurch.

Location: See the link above for locations and travel times to each destination.

45 BEST Things to Do in Christchurch šŸŒ· [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

[CLOSED] 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 to do some sightseeing – just like in London! This is a great way to see most of the city sights and learn about Christchurch in a short amount of time. Tours are run by Hassle Free Tours.

Location: Tours depart from outside of the Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens on Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch city centre.

More Things to Do in Christchurch

That’s it for our list of the best things to do in Christchurch. For more Christchurch travel tips, take a look at the following guides:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Travel Guide to Christchurch.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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