Christchurch is no. 2 on The New York Times's 52 Places to Go in 2014 and the gateway to New Zealand's South Island. Vibrant and ever-evolving it is surrounded by a region of natural wonders.
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'll find something special in Canterbury.
Experience a multitude of must-see attractions, including the Art Centre, Museum and Art Gallery, take a tram through the central city, picnic on the grassy banks of the Avon River or ride the Gondola for magnificent views across the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps.
Other varied attractions include the International Antarctic Centre, Orana Wildlife Park, cruising on Lyttelton Harbour or a stroll through the Cultural Precinct - education, art, science, government, religion, history and recreation all within an area of less than a square kilometer in the heart of the city.
Christchurch is the international gateway to the South Island, and the surrounding area is a diverse and varied landscape of rugged ocean beaches, wide braided rivers, spectacular gorges, fertile plains, and beyond to the majestic Southern Alps. From bungi-jumping, jet boating and skiing for the thrill seekers, to hiking in the Port Hills, visiting award winning wineries or punting on the Avon for those wanting a more relaxing holiday, Christchurch has it all.
Enjoy a scenic drive from Christchurch with breath-taking views of the harbour bays as you drive over the summit of the Port Hills to Akaroa. Spend the day enjoying the many cafés, restaurants, art & craft shops and galleries, or take a cruise on the beautiful harbour and view a variety of stunning wildlife including seals, penguins, birdlife and the endangered Hectors dolphins.
North of Christchurch is Waipara, a rapidly growing wine region producing world class wine. With 24 wine producers in the region, including 11 cellar door operations and 3 vineyard based restaurants, there are ample opportunities to sample the local wine & food or tour a vineyard.
Further north is Hamner Springs where you can relax in the hot pools at the Hamner Springs thermal reserve. Or you can travel up the coast to Kaikoura and take a Whale Watch tour, swim with the dolphins or sample the local delicacy of fresh crayfish.
Though severely damaged by earthquakes in the last few years, Christchurch is making a come back. Visiting Christchurch after a few years away was like coming back to a brand-new city.
While there’s a lot of open space from demolished buildings, there’s a lot of rebuilding, a sense of hope, vibrancy, and a feeling that the city is on the move. The town is now filled with funky bars, markets, new restaurants, shops, and art exhibits. The new city the locals are building — and the sense of hope they have — is really inspiring.