Christchurch’s Most Romantic Experiences
Gorgeous gardens, historic trams and scenic train journeys, Christchurch is a city where couples can enjoy some of the more traditional-yet-charming romantic experiences of New Zealand. You’ll get a good dose of the metropolitan lifestyle with boutique cinemas, indulgent restaurants and cocktail bars. Saying that, there’s always room to escape the city, whether it’s on a wine tour or tackling one of the nearby hikes together. Plan things to do on your romantic retreat, honeymoon or date night with this list of the most romantic things to do in Christchurch.
For more things to do in Christchurch for couples, see The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Christchurch.
1. Experience Punting on the Avon River
Arguably, the most romantic thing to do in Christchurch is punting on the Avon River. Join Christchurch Attractions for a gentle 30-minute float on a flat-bottom boat 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.
Location: 2 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch city centre.
2. Walk Hand-in-Hand Through the Botanic Gardens…
The picturesque and themed gardens that make up the Botanic Gardens are a fine example of Christchurch’s beautiful grounds that have given the city the nickname of the “Garden City”. Smell the roses in the rose garden, observe beautiful water features, or even take a picnic using the services of Christchurch Luxury Picnics who curate irresistible hampers and picnic displays in your chosen Christchurch location. Learn more about the city’s gardens in the 10 Beautiful Gardens & Parks in Christchurch.
Location: Access off Rolleston Avenue. Car parks on Riccarton Avenue and Armagh Street, Christchurch city centre.
3. … Or Hike to the Top of the Port Hills
If you’re more of an active couple, head to the Port Hills for the tremendous scenery. Hike to the top of the Port Hills on the Bridle Path, which is a steep two-hour return walk but offers breathtaking vistas of Christchurch, the Lyttelton Harbour, the Banks Peninsula and all the way to the Southern Alps on a clear day. If you don’t fancy walking, you can always take the Christchurch Gondola (more info on Viator and Klook) to the top.
Location: Bridle Path car park, 10 Bridle Path Road, Heathcote Valley, approximately 9 km (6 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
4. Indulge in a Wine Tour of the Waipara Valley
Go from boutique winery to boutique winery, sampling the unique terroir of the Waipara wine region on a guided wine tour. Companies like Leisure Tours and Cheeky Wine Tours offer affordable small-group wine tours, while NZSI Tours & Travel offers private wine tours should you want to keep things more intimate. Learn more about the wineries in the 10 Wonderful Wineries in the Waipara Valley.
Location: Christchurch accommodation pick-ups are offered.
5. Wander Around the Picturesque Mona Vale
A popular wedding venue, Mona Vale is one of the most romantic corners of the city. These elegant gardens consist of beds of roses, irises, mature trees and sloping gardens ideal for a romantic picnic or a short stroll. The grounds are also home to a gorgeous homestead and lodge, a bathhouse and a fernery offering endearing travel photos for your honeymoon or romantic escape.
Location: 40 Mona Vale Avenue, Fendalton, approximately 4 km (2 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
6. Snuggle Up at the Back of a Boutique Cinema
While going to the cinema doesn’t sound like the most imaginative idea for date night, the boutique cinemas in Christchurch offer something pretty special. Lumiere Cinemas sits in the grand building of the Christchurch Arts Centre opposite the Botanic Gardens. Pick up a cocktail, wine or craft beer from the Bijou Bar with some gourmet chocolates, cheese platter or gelato to complement, while sitting in the plush and spacious chairs in one of the two cinemas.
Alternatively, pick a movie from Alice in Videoland, a DVD rental store (yes, really) stocking an unusual range of foreign and art house films to take back to your romantic accommodation in Christchurch. They also have a boutique cinema!
Location: Lumiere Cinemas – 26 Rolleston Avenue. Alice in Videoland – 209 Tuam Street.
7. 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 every couple.
Location: Isaac Theatre Royal – 145 Gloucester Street. The Piano – 156 Armagh Street. The Court Theatre – 36 Clarence Street South, Addington.
8. Enjoy a Scenic Train Journey on the TranzAlpine
Often ranked as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, the TranzAlpine train journey makes a picturesque transition from the lush Canterbury Plains to the mountainous Southern Alps (find out more on Viator and Klook). Either get off for a few hours in Arthur’s Pass in the heart of the Alps or journey all the way to Greymouth for the full experience. Activities like guided hikes in the Arthur’s Pass National Park or sheep farm visits can be organised through Canterbury Trails and Leisure Tours.
Location: Christchurch Railway Station, Troup Drive, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
9. Book a Table-for-Two on the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant…
Combine your evening meal with a memorable experience on the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant. Cosy up at a window seat and indulge in a four-course meal of New Zealand cuisine while seeing the sights of the inner city, including the lush Botanic Gardens and the gentle waters of the Avon River. It’s that simple!
Location: Cathedral Junction, 109 Worcester Street, Christchurch city centre.
10. … Or Treat Your Loved One to Date Night at One of Christchurch’s Romantic Restaurants
For a more traditional date night or honeymoon treat in Christchurch, book a table at one of the city’s romantic restaurants. A good go-to is along “The Terrace” lining the Avon River with an array of restaurants, such as Delilah for its European-style sharing plates, Amaterrace for a Japanese teppanyaki experience, or Amazonita for charcoal-grilled cuisine combined with creative cocktails.
Elsewhere in the city, enjoy the atmospheric dining room and plush seating of The Monday Room serving New Zealand cuisine. On the funky New Regent Street, find Story offering an intimate dining experience with a three- or two-course set menus reflecting seasonal ingredients. For more restaurant recommendations, check out The Food Guide to Christchurch.
Location: Delilah – 122 Oxford Street. Amaterrace – 134 Oxford Terrace. Amazonita – 126 Oxford Terrace. The Monday Room – 161 High Street. Story – 8 New Regent Street.
11. Spend a Night at the Fair… Of Sorts
A fair experience that’s indoors and available all year round? Cue Archie Brother Cirque Electriq, home to bowling, arcade games, two bars serving cocktail desserts and Holey Moley Mini Golf. Being adults-only from 8 pm Friday and Saturday, this venue is more for those wanting to release their inner child than “full of kids”, ensuring the right tone is set for a fun date night in Christchurch.
Location: 617 Colombo Street, Christchurch city centre.
12. Learn a New Recipe Together 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.
13. Check Out Christchurch’s Most Romantic Board Game Bar
You know what they say; “couples who play together stay together”, so head to Christchurch’s coolest and, arguably, most romantic board game cafe/bar, Dice and Slice. With 250+ board games, New York-style pizzas, cocktails, beer and wine, you’re bound to have a good time.
Location: 181 High Street, Christchurch city centre.
14. Race Each Other on a Giant Zipline
Boasting the highest and longest zipline in New Zealand, Christchurch Adventure Park combines adrenaline with glorious views of the city. What’s more, with a double zipline you can enjoy the experience simultaneously. That’s not all Christchurch Adventure Park has to offer, however, with walking trails, a scenic chairlift ride and a cafe. See how the zipline compares to the 10 Best Places to Zipline in New Zealand.
Location: 225 Worsleys Road, Cracroft, approximately 9 km (5.6 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
15. Relax in the He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools
Venture to New Brighton together for a rejuvenating soak in the He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools. The complex features five saltwater hot pools ranging from 26°C to 40°C (79-104°F). Special sunrise sessions are also available on selected days to enhance the experience! If you’re a fan of hot pools, also check out the 10 Best Hot Pools in New Zealand.
Location: New Brighton, approximately 9 km (5.6 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
16. Discover Christchurch’s Beaches
Speaking of New Brighton, don’t miss the opportunity in Christchurch for a romantic stroll on the beach. New Brighton and its 300 m (980 ft) New Brighton Pier is a good place to start, while Sumner Beach is another popular go-to within each reach of the city. Otherwise, some favourite local spots include Corsair Bay, Taylor’s Mistake and any of the beaches on the Banks Peninsula (see 10 Romantic Things to Do in Akaroa).
Location: New Brighton, approximately 9 km (5.6 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Sumner Beach, approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Corsair Bay – approximately 14 km (8.7 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Taylor’s Mistake – approximately 17 km (10.5 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
17. 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. For more free attractions to enjoy together, check out the 26 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch.
Location: Kennedy’s Bush Road, Halswell, approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
18. 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, yet easily one of the most romantic streets in Christchurch with its Spanish mission architecture and quaint cafes and cocktail bars.
Location: New Regent Street, Christchurch city centre.
19. Soak in the Scenery from a Hot Air Balloon
A memorable way to celebrate a special occasion 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 chilled Champagne, 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. Plus, for more upscale activities like this check out the 10 Luxury Experiences in Christchurch.
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.
20. Take a Day Trip to Akaroa, Hanmer Springs or Arthur’s Pass
If Christchurch is your main base for your romantic getaway in New Zealand, 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 Akaroa to see a French-inspired town combined with dolphins and penguins, Hanmer Springs to relax in the town’s famous hot pools, 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.
More Romantic Things to Do in Christchurch
That’s it for our list of the most romantic things to do in Christchurch. For more ideas beyond the “romantic” category, check these guides out:
- 45 Best Things to Do in Christchurch
- 10 Luxury Experiences in Christchurch
- 10 Foodie Experiences in Christchurch
Finally, plan the rest of your trip around the South Island using the South Island Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 2 Weeks or New Zealand Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 4 Weeks.