While the South Island's largest city is the perfect jumping-off point for any kind of holiday, Christchurch itself is home to world-class cuisine, the very best in contemporary shopping, exciting activities on land and sea, and a vibrant nightlife. Whether you're after family-friendly activities with the kids in tow, thrilling adventures with a bunch of mates, or an urban break with your partner checking out the galleries and museums, you'll find plenty of things to do in Christchurch. Here are some of the best Christchurch attractions to enjoy during a stay in the Garden City - and a few within an easy drive.
One of the best ways to get to know a city is by exploring it on foot, and Christchurch has many fascinating stories worth telling - especially since its devastating earthquake in 2011. Walk Christchurch is one of the best Christchurch attractions for those interested in the city's history and post-quake rebuild offering three options: Classic Christchurch, Christchurch Highlights and River Promenade. For something different, check out the tours offered by Watch this Space which take in the city's street art, murals and graffiti which have emerged during the rebuild, and which goes into detail about the respective artists and the inspiration behind their work.
If you embark on one of the tours mentioned above, chances are you'll spot many eateries, shops and bars you'll want to revisit later. One of the hottest places to hang out is the relatively new Riverside Market, a daily indoor farmers' market overlooking the Avon River where you'll find the best of local produce, good coffee, seafood, meat and baked goods. Alongside the market is boutique shopping area Riverside Lanes - head here for homewares, clothing, handcrafted chocolates and more. You'll also find excellent food and shopping a few minutes' drive out of the CBD at The Tannery in Woolstown which is housed within a 19th century industrial precinct, and, of course, there is plenty of retail therapy and great eating and drinking in the central city itself - definitely check out The Crossing.
If you have a mountain bike in tow - or if you don't you can hire one - the Christchurch Adventure Park should definitely be on your itinerary. Catch the longest chairlift in the country, along with your bike, to the top of the Port Hills while enjoying glorious views of the city and beyond, then make the most of a range of mountain biking trails of varying skill levels. For an extra thrill try another great Christchurch attraction, the park's zipline which at 150m above ground is not only the highest of its kind in Aotearoa but the longest too, at just over 1km.
If calmly making your way around the greens is more your style, combine your Christchurch accommodation with a golfing holiday at Peppers Clearwater Resort. Set on beautiful grounds overlooking Lake Kaikainui, the stylish Clearwater Resort is close to the airport and not far from the central city, meaning you'll enjoy the best of both worlds. The resort's 18-hole Championship golf course, which has uninterrupted views of the Southern Alps, was designed by John Darby in consultation with New Zealand golfing great Sir Bob Charles and is run by the Clearwater Golf Club. Reminiscent of Florida, the course features elements inspired by the best courses in Scotland.
Christchurch is a gateway to many great destinations within a 90-minute drive of the city. Head north to the alpine resort town of Hanmer Springs, home to fabulous thermal hot pools and skiing, suitable for couples, solo travellers and families alike. South-east on Banks Peninsula is the charming French-influenced seaside village of Akaroa where you can get acquainted with dolphins and little blue penguins. An even closer day trip, just 20 minutes from the city via a long tunnel through the Port Hills, is the historic port town of Lyttelton, which has a fantastic farmers' market every Saturday morning that is well worth a visit. And that's just scratching the surface...happy exploring!
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