At the heart of New Zealand’s famous Canterbury region, lays the largest city in the South Island, Christchurch. Having prime location in the middle of one of New Zealand’s most beautifully nature-rich regions, Christchurch is the perfect base for exploration. The city prides itself on its spirit of exploration and innovation, which is due to its unique history of tribal explorers, early European settlement and vast urban renovation following devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.
As challenging as Christchurch’s history has been, the city has used it as a unique opportunity for exploration and innovation, creating a city which now feels refreshed, creative and unexpected. Below are some of the top attractions in and around Christchurch, to help plan your trip of exploration.
A City of Innovation
Christchurch is a lively hub for art, culture, and innovation, where both urban transformation and heritage thrive simultaneously. As you walk the streets you can expect to see creative street art projects, a thriving hospitality scene and pioneering architecture alongside some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand.
One example of the city’s progressive vibe is the impressive Christchurch Casino, which was New Zealand’s first ever casino, opening in 1994. With its impressive dome glass entrance, over five hundred slot machines, thirty-four table games, three stylish restaurants and two bars, this is not only a poker-player’s paradise but also a significant entertainment centre for the city, being one of the largest job-providers for young people in the city. Whilst not one of the oldest casinos in the world, according to PokerStars. Christchurch casino has played a significant role in the city’s history of urban regeneration and is well worth a visit, for a vibrant evening out in between your adventure-packed days.
Christchurch is the cycling city, with more people cycling here than anywhere else in New Zealand. Not only is the city itself plentiful with refreshing cycle lanes, but there are countless cycle routes in the surrounding area, making this a perfect way to explore this stunning region. There are different routes to suit different tastes and abilities; You can enjoy a leisurely cycle day trip through lush parkland, to the beach, explore forests or a more adventurous mountain biking route to get your adrenaline pumping.
For the more serene day trip, we love the Bottlelake Forest Park cycle routes which criss-cross through the looming, green pine forests towards the coast and back again. Another excellent area for cycling is Port Hills, home to a variety of tracks, all with spectacular views and the challenges and rewards of steeper, sloped terrain.
If you feel like exploring a bit further afield, the ‘Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail’ is an epic trail beginning at the foot of the Southern Alps and stretching throughout the beautiful Canterbury region, along the side of glacial lakes all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Hiking on the Edge
Another perfect way to discover this magnificent area is through one of the many hiking trails, each one abundant with its own history and character. The ‘Taylor’s Mistake’ trail takes you from the south end of Christchurch beach, along the cliff side to the most magnificent viewpoint looking out over the sea. The Crater Rim Walkway is another must-see, which circles all the way around Christchurch as you climb, providing breath-taking birds-eye views of the city and surrounding area.
For the adventurous, the Ngaio Point Track is a great place to stop between Christchurch and Akaroa. It is a short and intense walk where you can discover the magnificent views of the headlands. Another one for those wanting to explore the hills, is Dry Ridge at Mt Vernon Park. This track allows you to view Christchurch from afar as well as wonderful views of the Alps. There are endless beautiful trails around this area, so you can choose between relaxing strolls and more demanding up-hill hikes.
Waka on the Avon River
For those seeking something a little different, we highly recommend this alternative way of exploring Christchurch rivers. You will paddle a hand-crafted waka down the Avon River, while learning about the history of the Maori culture and the region of Canterbury. The trip leaves from Margaret Mahy Playground, heading up the Avon River and allowing you to embrace 45 minutes of nature and culture, all bundled into one unique package. We recommend this unique trip to embrace the true history of Christchurch and get a real vibe of New Zealand.
River Horse Riding
Another alternative way to explore the rivers, Waimak River Riding Centre offer the opportunity to stroll on horseback along the banks of the Waimakariri River, under the willow trees and across beautiful green grassland. You have the opportunity to splash through the shallow waters, a perfect way to feel completely at one with nature.
Hopefully, we have given you some inspiration for your exploration holiday in Queensland. There are many other adventurous activities which you will come across in this beautiful land of discovery, wildlife and exploration.
Maximum thrill in a helicopter
If what we have proposed is not enough for you, you can have a unique experience visiting Christchurch by helicopter. A 20-minute flight over the city in which you will enjoy the picturesque harbour of Lyttelton and the stunning bays in Christchurch. A helicopter flight that will undoubtedly leave you amazed by the breathtaking views that the city offers from the air. A must on your visit!
Enjoying a day in their botanical garden
If your passion is nature, you can’t miss the Christchurch City Botanic Gardens. Open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., passers-by can enjoy a wide variety of different plants in every season of the year. Take a break in the lungs of the city with a good walk, sit relaxed on one of its benches enjoying the sunset or listening to all that nature has to offer in this unique enclave of this wonderful city.
Without a doubt, the city of Christchurch has endless adventures and attractions to enjoy on one of your visits. A unique destination that should be on your list!