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Best Things to Do in Christchurch:  Leave Your Footprints

Welcome to Christchurch, leave your footprints and look forward to being part of its evolving story. The city’s history is intertwined with innovation to create a unique experience. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or embarking on your first adventure, Christchurch offers countless opportunities to make lasting memories around every corner. Located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch is a city that blends rich history with modern innovation. From the moment you set foot in this vibrant city, you’ll be captivated by its stunning natural landscape, innovative arts scene and welcoming community spirit. In this guide, we’ll introduce the best things to do in Christchurch; these experiences will leave an indelible impression on you and allow you to contribute to the development of this extraordinary city. Let’s embark on a journey that will inspire curiosity and exploration and connect us all.

Fun Things to Do in Christchurch

Christchurch, as the second largest city in New Zealand and the first most significant city in the South Island, is the largest city in Canterbury province, second only to Auckland and Wellington; it is New Zealand’s “garden city”. Christchurch is located in the coast of the peninsula and the middle of the Canterbury Plain, the east has the Pacific Ocean and the mouth of the Avon River and the Heathcote River, the south has the volcanic rock slope of the Harbour Hill, and the north has the Waimakariri River. The quiet Avon River winds through the city, and old residential buildings make up a lively arts district. The city is the perfect blend of elegant lifestyle and interesting cultural fun.

Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum is located in the heart of Christchurch, with an elegant European architectural appearance. The museum has a wealth of information and various exhibition areas. Tourists can explore different regions according to different tastes, from the history of New Zealand and the Maori people to learning about art exploration, old clothes and street displays to environmental conservation education. Those interested in history and culture will enjoy the Canterbury Museum. It is an incredible treasure trove of artefacts, artworks and exhibitions that showcase the history of Christchurch. For anyone interested in art, history or both, visiting a museum is undoubtedly one of the fun things to do in Christchurch, opening the eyes of visitors and, more importantly, giving an educational meaning to the trip.

Canterbury Museum

  • Location: 66 Gloucester Street, Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Opening hours: April – September, 9 am-5 pm, October – March to 5:30 pm.
  • Admission: Free.

Christchurch Art Gallery

As one of the public art galleries in Christchurch, New Zealand, the Christchurch Art Gallery is well worth a visit. This art gallery has a unique charm, with a skilful blend of old and new architecture. There are 20th-century British paintings, 19th-century French artworks, and modern New Zealand artworks. Although the works of New Zealand’s famous painters have early solid European influences, the art gallery has also introduced more local young contemporary artists, where visitors can deeply feel the different flavours of Christchurch. Especially for art lovers, visiting this art mecca will be one of the fun things to do in Christchurch.Christchurch Art Gallery

  • Location: Worcester Blvd & Montreal St, Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Opening hours: 10 am-5 pm, extended to 9 pm on Wednesdays.
  • Admission: Free.

Cardboard Cathedral

Situated in the centre of Christchurch, the Cardboard Cathedral is an architectural marvel and a testament to human resilience and innovation. Built from sustainable materials, including cardboard, this unique building responds to the 2011 earthquake and offers a place of spiritual solace and inspiration. The cathedral is surrounded by trees, providing visitors with a peaceful environment to appreciate the harmony of nature and design truly.

  • Location: 234 Hereford St, Christchurch 8011 New Zealand.
  • Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 am-4 pm, with Sunday worship.
  • Admission: Free.

New Regent Street

New Regent Street is the most famous walking street in Christchurch; opened in 1932, it is the only complete heritage building streetscape in Christchurch. The whole street is full of colourful, pastel shades of European row houses, which tourists along the street especially love, and it has become the most exciting thing for tourists in Christchurch. New Regent Street runs in a north-south direction and is only 120 metres long, a 2-minute walk away. When some visitors want to stop and feel the beauty of the journey, they can taste the local specialities in the street’s cafes, restaurants, and dessert shops, as well as browse jewellery shops and retail outlets, which are convenient for tourists who want to buy tourist souvenirs.

New Regent Street

  • Location: 24 New Regent St Christchurch, New Zealand.

Best Things to Do in Christchurch with Kids

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Christchurch Botanic Gardens, also known as the oasis in the city’s heart, is located in the core of Christchurch, where the trees and flowers are a vibrant hideaway. The botanical garden covers an area of more than 21 hectares, and visitors can stroll through the charming rose garden and admire the exotic plants in the greenhouse. The garden’s paths are well-maintained and perfect for leisurely walking or cycling. In addition, the botanical garden also provides an excellent venue for families to get close to nature; children can get the closest to nature in the children’s playground relaxation but also have an immersive understanding of plant species, ecosystems and the importance of conservation. Therefore, scheduling family activities in the Botanic Gardens is also the best thing to do in Christchurch with kids, both local and foreign visitors.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

  • Location: Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand.
  • Opening hours: November – February 7 am-9 pm, March and October until 8:30 pm, April – September until 6:30 pm.
  • Admission: Free.

The Avon River

The Avon River flows slowly through the city, a tranquil waterway that adds a bit of charm to Christchurch. Boating on the Avon River is a typical experience where visitors can take a gondola ride along the river led by a skilled boater. Along the way, you will pass through scenic botanical gardens and past historic buildings and get a unique view of the city. The riverbank is perfect for a stroll or quiet reflection. Some locals also bring their children to feed the ducklings along the river, adding more laughter and fun to this quiet old river.

The Avon River in Christchurch

  • Location: 2 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch 8014, New Zealand
  • Opening hours: 9:00 am-5:00 pm
  • Admission: NZ$40 for adults, half price for children.

Christchurch Tramway

Ride the Christchurch Tram and experience the city like never before. It’s perfect for families and one of the best things to do in Christchurch with kids, combining history, sightseeing, and fun. As you ride the tram, you’ll enjoy both the serene Avon River and the vibrant New Regent Street, and even more excitingly, children can take part in a scavenger hunt and quiz during the tour, making their journey fun and informative. They will smile as they piece together the clues and learn something new about the city. The various experiences make the tram tour a visual treat and an educational adventure that helps children fully appreciate the city’s history.

Christchurch Tramway

  • Opening hours: 9:50 am-5 pm operation, about 50 minutes one way.
  • Admission: NZ$35, children free, valid all day.

Top Things to Do in Christchurch

Bridge of Remembrance

The Memorial Bridge has a poetic name and is located in the heart of Christchurch. Its iconic arch spans the River Avon and was originally a tiny white stone bridge. During the First World War, soldiers preparing to go to war were escorted to Wellington railway station by their friends and relatives, and many lives were lost as a result.

In 1923, people rebuilt this small bridge. When descendants stand on the Memory Bridge, they look out over the meandering waters of the Avon River, and the clear, deep water makes them recall the scene at that time. In April 1985, the New Zealand Historic Sites Agency assessed the Bridge of Remembrance as a cultural heritage, hence the name. Since then, tourists from all over the world have come to visit the bridge, and the tourists not only lamented the hard-won peace but also admired and remembered the deceased heroes.

Bridge of Remembrance

  • Location: Cashel Street, Christchurch Central.

Christchurch International Antarctic Centre

New Zealand is one of the closest countries to the Antarctic, and Christchurch is the gateway to the Antarctic. In 1990, Christchurch International Airport Limited established the Christchurch International Antarctic Centre to support Antarctic scientific research. It offers a multimedia audiovisual experience of everyday Antarctic life and history, with an Antarctic marine fish house, an Antarctic storm simulator, and a simulated Antarctic snow and wind chill. Visitors can also experience the awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur of the Antarctic continent through modern technology, such as sophisticated sound and light simulations and realistic audiovisuals.

Christchurch International Antarctic Centre

  • Location: 38 Orchard Rd Christchurch 8053.
  • Opening hours: 9:00 am -5:30 pm

Tips: The little blue penguins feed at 10:30 a.m., 11:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. It is recommended that you arrive earlier than 3:30 p.m.; otherwise, you can’t see them feeding.

Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square is located in the heart of Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand. It is the historical centre of Christchurch, once the central meeting place for citizens. Cathedral Square is also the city’s transport centre, the centre of tourist activities, and one of the top things to do in Christchurch. During its construction period, Christchurch Cathedral encountered two earthquakes, and after completion, it became a classic Christchurch landmark with an elegant shape and a 63-metre-high Gothic spire.

At the centre of the square is a statue commemorating John Robert Codley, the founder of the Canterbury region, where Christchurch is located. In 2001, in anticipation of the millennium and to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Christchurch and the Canterbury region, the Millennium Chalice sculpture was placed in the square. The 18-metre-high sculpture is shaped like an elongated cone, abstract in form and figurative in decoration, hollow and rounded, with a silver-grey outer wall and a blue inner core. Between the layers, the fronds of New Zealand’s national flower, the silver fern, and the leaves of eight native plants intertwine and spread upwards, symbolising vitality and prosperity.

Cathedral Square

Top Universities in Christchurch

University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury, located in Christchurch, New Zealand, is the second oldest university in New Zealand, with a teaching history of 149 years. In 1873, scholars from the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford founded it. It is ranked in the top 1% of the world’s top universities. As one of New Zealand’s public universities, the University of Canterbury is the first university to be awarded the QS five-star rating and is the only university to become a member of the 21st Century International Academic Alliance. 

The University of Canterbury has a range of outstanding academic programs. Its Business school is accredited by the International Association of Elite Business Schools and ranks in the top 5% of business schools worldwide. At UC, teaching in all disciplines is outstanding, with civil and structural engineering and geography ranked in the top 100 in the world, accounting and finance, education, English language and literature, law, and other majors ranked in the top 150.

In addition, many quality student apartments and infrastructure are built near the university, which is conducive to students’ lives becoming more efficient and high quality. For example, 140 Ilam Road, Christchurch, this apartment is a 10-minute walk from the University of Canterbury and has a full suite of facilities. Cafes and restaurants for relaxation are nearby, and Christchurch trains and Christchurch International Airport are within easy reach.

140 Ilam Road, Christchurch City

Lincoln University

Lincoln University was founded in 1878, formerly known as Canterbury Agricultural College, about 20 kilometres from the city centre of Christchurch, for the southern hemisphere’s most famous agricultural university. It is also one of New Zealand’s oldest institutions of learning, QS-rated as the world’s five-star university. The main campus is located in the new park-like campus, and the undisturbed and quiet learning environment attracts many overseas students. There are student dormitories on campus, student apartments, and host families off campus to meet the different accommodation requirements of students. If you have any questions or needs about renting an apartment, please pay attention to uhomes.com. In addition, public facilities such as banks, post offices, and shopping malls surround the university. 

Conclusion

Christchurch offers a vibrant cultural essence and stunning natural beauty. Whether you want to explore the charming streets filled with history and modern art or experience the educational atmosphere of a tertiary institution, Christchurch offers a journey of discovery and delight. Every corner of this extraordinary city invites you to discover new stories and create unforgettable memories. When you plan to visit Christchurch, the best thing to do in Christchurch is to embrace its spirit wholeheartedly. With a curious mind and an open heart, plunge into Christchurch’s rich and varied activities. Let Christchurch’s unique combination of tradition and innovation guide you towards moments of inspiration and joy, ensuring that your time here is not just a visit but a meaningful chapter in your life’s adventure.

FAQ

Christchurch has a small population density, beautiful scenery, and a pleasant environment. It is known as the Garden City; for those who want to study abroad and emigrate, it is a treasure city suitable for study and life.

With a relatively concentrated central area and smooth roads with lots of car-free roads, Christchurch is one of the most walkable cities in New Zealand.

Christchurch is the third largest city in New Zealand, after Auckland and Wellington, and the largest city in the South Island, with a resident population of about 380,000 people.

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