Christchurch, located in the province (region) of Canterbury, is the largest city on the South Island, yet remains a friendly and welcoming city compact enough to easily explore on foot or bicycle, all within arm's reach from stunning nature.
Following the 2010-2011 earthquakes, Christchurch has re-emerged as a lively, ever-changing city and is doing better than ever. A unique destination where creativity and innovation flow and where the hospitality and arts scenes have really taken off.
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Most shops are normally open from 9am to 5pm with bigger malls staying open till 6pm Saturday to Wednesday and 9pm on Thursday and Friday.
369,006 (2018 census)
Māori oral history and archaeological evidence suggests that people first inhabited the Canterbury area about a thousand years ago. These first inhabitants were moa-hunting tribes and this migration continued until about 1830. The first European landed in Canterbury in 1815 and Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it the oldest city in New Zealand. Many of the city's original Gothic buildings dated from this period.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and one of the world’s most unique destinations. Bordered by the Port Hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps as a majestic backdrop, allowing for a huge array of experiences all within just a few hours’ drive.
Known traditionally as “The Garden City”, the serene Avon River flows through the centre of the city (its banks now largely forming an urban park), and through the award winning Christchurch Botanic Gardens which are 150 years old this year. The gardens feature one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand, and are home to one of Christchurch’s most iconic activities, Punting on the Avon.
More recently however, Christchurch has been rebuilding and revitalizing itself following the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and making way for some of the most innovative and creative projects in the world. With a huge emphasis on sustainable and envionmental issues, Christchurch is embracing it’s new future, and is excited about the possibilities of having a chance to reinvent itself with modern buildings and bright urban events. This is a chance to visit a city on the brink of reimagining itself with world class technology and innovation alongside history and heritage.
It is important not to forget about Christchurch’s backyard of Canterbury. You can ski at a world-class alpine resort, play golf, bungy jump, raft, mountain bike, hot-air balloon, wind surf, whale watch and visit internationally-acclaimed wineries and gardens – all within a short drive of the city. And that is just the beginning!
New Zealand’s garden city, and capital of the South Island, acts as the perfect gateway to discovering some of the country’s most spectacular scenery and National Parks. There is also plenty to explore in the city itself, with acres of parks and gardens, stunning Gothic architecture and a wide choice of restaurants and bars.
Punting on the Avon River
International Antarctic Centre
Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
The Court Theatre
Hiking and Cycling the Port Hills
Air Force Museum of New Zealand
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
Orana Wildlife Park
Hassle Free – Discover Christchurch Tour
Christchurch Segway Tours - Urban Wheels
Caterpillar Garden Tours
Transitional 'Cardboard' Cathedral
Oi Manawa - Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial
TranzAlpine Train Ride
From the Pacific Ocean, ancient volcanic peninsula and wondrous marine life, across patchwork plains, home to adrenalin pumping activities, lush vineyards and braided rivers rising to pristine glacial lakes and the majestic Southern Alps presided over by Aoraki / Mount Cook. You will find something special in Canterbury. Most destinations are possible in a day trip from Christchurch but Canterbury is best enjoyed as a multi-day trip, with time spent in each unique destination.
Akaroa & Banks Peninsula
Arthur’s Pass & Selwyn
Hanmer Springs & Hurunui
Once known mainly for its superb lamb, Canterbury and Christchurch are now gaining a reputation for a wide range of food and wine. Local meat produce includes venison, emu and ostrich. There is fresh seafood readily available including scallops, crayfish and Mount Cook Salmon, all which are recommended. Canterbury is also a large wine producing region, specialising in Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Curators House Restaurant
Leinster Rd. Bistro
Cook 'N' With Gas
Kinji Japanese Restaurant
Winnie Bagoes City
King of Snake
Burgers & Beers
Fiddlesticks Restaurant & Bar
There is no shortage of great cafés in Christchurch and the inner city is bustling with good options where to have relaxing breaks with a cup of coffee or tea. Many new outlets have emerged alongside old favourites, many of which are used as social hubs for the Christchurch locals.
Boat Shed Café
Under the Red Verandah
Black Betty Cafe
Addington Coffee Co-op
Crafted Coffee Company
Joe's Garage Sumner
Passengers & Co
Local at Riccarton House
Untouched World Kitchen
The Raspberry Cafe
Dunsandel Café & Store
Visitors to this evolving city are spoiled for choice! From refurbished shipping containers to casino and music venues, Christchurch has a great range of bars and an exciting nightlife. Enjoy a quite cocktail or dance the night away, you will for sure find your favourite place in the CBD or in the surrounding suburbs.
The Last Word
Belgian Beer Café Torenhof
Carlton Bar and Eatery
King of Snake
Aikmans Bar & Eatery
The Fox and Ferret - Riccarton
The Fox and Ferret - The Palms
Pomeroy's Historic Brewery Inn
Morrell and Co
The Pedal Pusher
Sullivans Irish Pub
The Craic Irish Bar
Bailies Bar and Restaurant
The Last Word
Pedestrianised streets, outdoor markets and indoor shopping malls mean Christchurch is an ideal shopping destination, where you can find everything from traditional New Zealand arts and crafts to the latest designer fashions.
Innovative and modern shopping hubs such as Re:Start, The Tannery and The Colombo are Christchuch's main shopping centres. The cobbled street of New Regent is also home to a great mix of boutique shops.
Individual shopping highlights include Ballantyne’s Department Store at Re:Start Mall. This historic store dates from 1854, and is still a popular one-stop shopping destination for designer fashions and luxury goods. The Artisan Market is a weekly highlight held every Sunday at Riccarton Bush, you'll find a range of jewellery, arts, crafts and culinary delights.
The large, indoor shopping malls are located in the city suburbs, and are all connected with the Orbiter and Metro bus services. Westfield Mall, in Riccarton, is the largest mall in the South Island with 200 stores, and Merivale Mall is home to a range of excellent boutique shops with high-quality jewellery and gifts.
Hunters & Collectors
Simply New Zealand
Photo & Video International
Ballantynes Department Store
Christchurch Airport (CHC)
Christchurch Airport is New Zealand's second largest airport. Christchurch city is a short 15 minutes' drive (9.4 km) from the airport and several transport options are available from outside the terminal including rental cars, taxis, shuttles and buses.
Regular Metro Red Bus services connect the airport to the city centre such as the Purple Line and the number 29 buses. You can buy tickets from the driver when boarding the bus. You can catch the bus from the northern end of the International Arrivals Hall (between the terminal and the long-term car park). The Purple Line and number 29 runs seven day a week.
Taxis and rental cars are also available at the airport. The major rental car brands are all situated within the International Arrivals Hall (close to the domestic baggage reclaim).
Address: Christchurch International Airport
Citizens of Australia and the UK, as well as visa waiver countries, do not need to apply for a visa for short visitor stays, but may need to produce documented proof of onward travel. Visa waiver countries include the USA and multiple countries across Europe and Asia, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, and Vatican City. Citizens of other countries will need to apply for a visa in advance, which can be done online for solo travelers and in paper format for those travelling with a partner or as a group. The applicant’s passport validity in this case will need to last 3 months after the planned departure date.
Best time to visit
Christchurch is an all-year destination. During the summer season, December to February, Christchurch can get high temperatures with an average temperature of 21°C – 23°C. The daylight can last up until 9:30pm during this period. December, February and March is the peak season, it is also in December and January many domestic travellers have their holiday since the schools are closed. If you decide to visit Christchurch during this season, you probably need to book in advance since it is not easy to find accommodation.
If you prefer the winter season, then June to August are good months to visit. Winter in Canterbury is beautiful and it becomes a true winter wonderland. With good ski areas and a wide range of après activities, you will find yourself busy during this season.
Public buses are a great way to get around while staying in Christchurch, the 3 Airport/ Sumner and 29 Airport / City bus services provide transport to the city centre from the Airport every hour and the bus stop is right outside the international arrivals terminal.
The Orbiter service travels past all the major suburban shopping centres in Christchurch and other services can take you to the city arriving at Central Station and onto the sea side village of Sumner, surf beach at New Brighton, Sign of the Takahe in Cashmere and into the country to Lincoln and Rangiora as well as many other areas around Christchurch city. If you need help planning your travel on the Metro public bus services once you have arrived give their friendly team a call.
Most hotels in the city also offer free hire of bicycles for guests.
Phone: +64 3 366 8855
The taxi fare is based on the meter and should follow set standards. There are a wide range of different taxi companies to choose from. One of them is Blue Star Taxis.
Phone: +64 3 3799 799
One of the post offices in the city is South City PostShop where you can post parcels, letters and purchase postage. The store can be found on:
Address: 555 Colombo Street, Christchurch
Phone: +64 3 379 2527
One of the pharmacies in Christchurch is Unichem. They gave several locations one of them is situated at:
Address: 3/111 Cashel St, Christchurch
Phone: +46 3 595 1289
Country code: +64
Area code: 03
220-240 volts, 50 Hz