The largest city in the South Island, Christchurch offers up a LOT to do. From snowboarding and bungy jumping to surfing and whale watching. The choices are endless! Sadly, in 2010 and 2011, much of the cities historical sites were damaged by earthquakes, but the city is still very vibrant and rebuilding by the day!
How To Get Around New Zealand:
Renting A Car: This is a MUST while visiting New Zealand, as most of its sights are far apart. Be sure to rent/bring a GPS, especially if you won’t have wifi on your phone. For 2 weeks, we rented a car for about $600USD (around $40USD/day). Note: New Zealanders drive on the opposite side of the road as Americans, so be careful!
RV Rental: Many people rent a camper van/motor home and utilize that as both their transport and accommodation (we’ll be doing this next time!). Juicy Rentals is by far the most popular in town. A standard camper van will cost about $1470USD for 2 weeks (around $105USD/day). Don’t forget to factor in the cost of gas.
How To Get To Christchurch:
If you don’t fly into Christchurch, it’s a 5 hour drive from Franz Joseph Glacier and a 6 hour drive from Queenstown. If you’re coming from Franz Joseph, be sure to stop at Arthur’s Pass along the way. Arthurs Pass is a GIANT, iconic bridge between the mountains. The lookout creeps up suddenly after the bridge on the left, so it’s easy to miss. There are many things to see and do in Arthur’s Pass National Park. Just to list a few options: hiking, skiing and snowboarding. If you’re planning to participate in any of those activities, I’d recommend staying a night or two.
Where To Stay In Christchurch:
Airbnb Sumner Beach:
If you’re beach people like us, then there is no better place to stay than at this Airbnb on Sumner Beach (just 15-minutes outside of downtown). It was the nicest Airbnb we’ve ever seen, located just across from the beach. The host was incredibly hospitable!
For $55 off your first Airbnb booking, click HERE!
Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch:
Rendezvous Hotel is in a great location in the center of the city and reasonably priced around $125USD per night.
Le Petit Hotel Sumner:
Le Petit Hotel is an adorable bed and breakfast with great customer service. It’s a 2-minute walk to the beach. Rates start at $100USD/night.
Where To Eat In Christchurch:
Pedro’s House of Lamb (Christchurch):
Pedro’s House Of Lamb was once an actual restaurant, but, unfortunately, the building was destroyed in the earthquake. Now it’s a small free standing building, so the food must be ordered to go. Fortunately, this doesn’t take away from the amazing flavor of it’s delicious food! Be sure to order the whole baked lamb shoulder with scalloped potatoes…you won’t be disappointed! Best of all, they’ve even expanded with locations in Auckland and Queenstown!
Bloody Mary’s (Christchurch):
Bloody Marys is an upscale steakhouse and bar with excellent food and reputation. Bring your appetite because the portions are generous.
Beach Bar (Sumner Beach):
Located right on the beach, the Beach Bar is the perfect spot to grab a drink and watch the sunset. Note: They’re closed Monday and Tuesday.
What To Do In Christchurch:
There are so many things to see and do in this beautiful city, it’s honestly hard to decide with the time you’ll have there. If you have the time, I suggest doing one beach day at Sumner and two days of exploring and enjoying the city.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens:
The Botanic Gardens are beautiful gardens with gorgeous flowers…perfect for a stroll, run or picnic!
185 Empty White Chairs:
185 Empty White Chairs is an emotional tribute to the 185 individuals who lost their lives in the earthquake of 2011. It has been relocated to St Paul’s Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church site on the corner of Cashel and Madras Streets.
The Gondola is perfect for gorgeous 360-degree views of the city overlooking the Canterbury Plains out to Southern Alps and the hills of Banks Peninsula. The ride takes about 10-minutes each way. Cost per ride is $28NZD ($20USD) per person.
Tram City Tour:
The historic heritage Christchurch Tram (like the San Francisco Trolly) takes you through the heart of the city. Hop on and off at any of the 17 stops, as your ticket is good for 24-hours for $25NZD ($17USD). NOTE: Combo tickets for the Christchurch Tram City Tour and Gondola Ride are sold for adults at $48NZD ($33USD) and children for $12NZD ($18USD).
Punting On the Avon:
Similar to the gondola ride through the canals of Venice, Punting On The Avon is an iconic 30-minute activity in the city that shouldn’t be missed. Note: There are two departure points, city and park. Park Site is located at Antigua Boat Sheds, 2 Cambridge Terrace. City site is located at Worcester Bridge, Worcester Street. Cost per person is $28NZD ($20USD).
NOTE: All 4 attractions including the Scenic Gondala Ride, Tram City Tour, Punting on the Avon and the Botanic Gardens Tour can be purchased as a package for $86NZD ($60USD) for adults and $25NZD ($17USD) for children.
Sumner Beach/ Cave Rock:
Nothing is better than spending a day than at the beach, especially if it’s in New Zealand. Sumner Beach is a perfect little spot, located just 15-minutes outside of the city. Be SURE to climb Cave Rock, for some epic views (especially at sunrise and sunset!).
Looking For More Info On Other Cities In The South Island, New Zealand? Check Out My Other Blog Posts!
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