How to Plan a Luxury Trip to Christchurch
The South Island‘s largest metropolis goes by many names: The Garden City, The Most English City Outside of England, and so on. Locally, it’s simply known as Christchurch, a sprawling and vibrant hub with an inspiring story of resilience in light of the Canterbury Earthquakes. Additionally, the city is surrounded by iconic South Island attractions, from the peaks of the Southern Alps to the beaches lining its shores. This makes Christchurch an idyllic base for exploring New Zealand if you’re on limited time. If you have the luxury of time, however, then Christchurch can provide the luxury. Find out how with the most premium tours, lodgings and dining experiences in this luxury travel guide to Christchurch.
The Top Luxury Tours in Christchurch
- Take to the skies in a luxury helicopter excursion with Christchurch Helicopters or Garden City Helicopters
- Indulge in a Waipara wine tour with NZSI Tours & Travel or Cheeky Wine Tours
- Explore the South Island highlights on a private tour with local Maori guides on Maossie Tours
- Ride Scenic Plus Class on the renowned TranzAlpine
- Feast on a four-course gourmet meal on the historic Christchurch Tramway Restaurant
- Soak in the scenery from a hot air balloon with Ballooning Canterbury or Adventure Balloons
- Take a timeout with a luxury spa day at Lotus Day Spa or Moss Spa
- Do a multi-day luxury trip of the South Island, starting from Christchurch, with The Road Trip.
For elaboration on each experience, see the 10 Best Luxury Experiences in Christchurch.
Luxurious Outdoor Adventures
Yes, even in the city, there are some spectacular adventures to be had, whether it’s taking to the skies or hiking trails with the locals.
Scenic Helicopter Tours
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 – more on that below.
Scenic Hot Air Balloon Tours
Another, perhaps more unique, 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 chilled Champagne, orange juice and a seasonal fruit platter.
Banks Peninsula Guided Hike
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.
As for other Christchurch adventures, you’ll find them combined in the all-weather section below or in the 10 Luxury Experiences in Christchurch.
Luxury All-Weather Experiences
Whatever the weather is doing, exploring Christchurch and its surrounding wine regions and landscapes are well worth doing from the comfort of a luxury vehicle.
Waipara Wine Tours
Explore the boutique wine region of the Waipara Valley, just outside of Christchurch, on a guided wine tour. Join NZSI Tours & Travel for a hassle-free excursion to the Waipara wineries including four different wine tastings and a gourmet lunch. What’s more, the private tour is entirely for you. Alternatively, Cheeky Wine Tours offers more social yet small-group wine tours of the region to various cellar doors with lunch, snacks and fine wine included. Tours include pick-ups.
Day Spas in Christchurch
A rainy day in Christchurch might be a good excuse to hit the pause button and relax with a spa treatment. You have some spectacular day spas to choose from, including Lotus Day Spa (9 Ernlea Terrace, Cashmere) amidst the picturesque Swan Lake Gardens. Alternatively, Moss Spa (49A Salisbury Street) is conveniently located in the city centre and offers an array of spa and beauty treatments in a contemporary yet elegant setting.
TranzAlpine Through Arthur’s Pass
For sightseeing with a difference, jump onboard the TranzAlpine for one of the world’s most scenic railway journeys. Starting from the Christchurch Railway Station, the journey takes you through the lush Canterbury Plains to the mountainous wilderness of Arthur’s Pass National Park. You’ll have no issue seeing it all as you relax in carriages with panoramic windows while dining on New Zealand cuisine and regional wines in “Scenic Plus Class”.
Either journey all the way to Greymouth in the wild West Coast (check out tickets Viator and Klook) or stop off in Arthur’s Pass Village to enjoy the short walks before embarking on the journey back to Christchurch. Canterbury Trails also offers guided walks, lunch and afternoon tea in Arthur’s Pass between your train journeys.
For more all-weather inspiration, head to the 20 Things to Do in Christchurch on a Rainy Day.
Fine Dining in Christchurch
Christchurch certainly has no lack of fine dining. If looking for that special place to celebrate a big occasion, or simply because you’re only going to be in Christchurch once, these are the fine dining establishments well worth booking a table.
Inati (48 Hereford Street) is a fine dining restaurant with cuisine designed to be shared. Showcasing quality Canterbury cuisine, the menu dips into the earth, land and sea for a comprehensive gastronomical experience.
Impeccably-presented plates in a restaurant adorned in fabric draping down the walls, Chillingworth Road (478 Cranford Road) offers a European bistro experience in elegance.
For something a little different, dine on Christchurch’s beautifully restored historic tram-turned-restaurant as you travel the city. The Christchurch Tramway Restaurant (13 Cathedral Junction) serves a four-course gourmet dinner of New Zealand cuisine paired with a welcome drink and hot drinks after your meal.
Other honourable mentions include Bloody Mary’s (30 Latimer Square) and 50 Bistro at The George (50 Park Terrace).
For more recommendations, browse The Food Guide to Christchurch.
More About Christchurch
That’s it for the luxury travel guide to Christchurch. For more tips for planning the ultimate getaway to the South Island’s largest city, take a look at these guides:
- 45 Best Things to Do in Christchurch
- 10 Beautiful Gardens & Parks in Christchurch
- The Complete Guide to Christchurch
Find even more tips to make your luxury getaway exceptional in The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.