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Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the third most-populous urban area in the country. As well as having the most attractions of any place in the South Island, it's the major international entry point for visiting the rest of the island. It is on the east coast of the South Island, and is the centre of the Canterbury region.

Christchurch is recovering and rebuilding after a large earthquake in February 2011 that severely damaged the city, killed 185 people and displaced many more. Bits of the city may be off limits due to reconstruction work, but most of the city and region are open for business and the city remains the main gateway to the South Island.


Christchurch was established in 1850 by English settlers. Its English heritage shows in the older buildings, especially in the cultural precinct along Worcester Boulevard (which is open from the River Avon towards the west), where most heritage buildings remain. The River Avon flows through the central city and disrupts the regular rectangular layout of the city streets.

Christchurch is known as the Garden City, a well-deserved name. Looking from a few floors up, one is struck by the number of trees that grow like a forest throughout the suburbs.

At 04:35 on Saturday, 4 September 2010, the city and region was hit by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, located 10 km deep and 40 km west of the city centre. Parts of the city were damaged, but there were no fatalities. However, five-and-a-half months later, at 12:51 on Tuesday, 22 February 2011, a magnitude 6.3 aftershock struck 10 km south of the city centre at 5 km deep. Already damaged buildings collapsed, killing 185 people, 115 of which resulted from the six storey Canterbury Television building collapsing and catching fire. Many other central city buildings, old and new, were damaged beyond repair and were subsequently demolished. Liquefaction severely affected the eastern suburbs, resulting in 10,000 homes having to be abandoned due to land damage (the "residential red zone"). Some residents moved out of the city after the quake – many moved out to the Waimakariri and Selwyn Districts north and south of the city respectively, and some moved to other areas in Canterbury and further afield.

A very hip scene has developed in some of the suburbs close to the centre, and many 'gapfiller' projects (as part of the earthquake recovery) are stunning. Lonely Planet declared post-earthquake Christchurch as one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world.

  i-Site Visitor CentreBotanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave (next to Canterbury Museum),  +64 3 379-9629, toll-free: 0800 423 783, e-mail: . Daily 08:30-17:00. Free booking service for accommodation, activities and transport.

For online information, see the official Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism site.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Christchurch International Airport is located 12 km northwest of the city centre. It has regular international services from eastern Australia, Fiji, Singapore, Bangkok and Dubai, and seasonal services from Perth, Rarotonga and Taipei. There are frequent flights each day from most New Zealand airports, with direct flights to and from Auckland, Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson, Queenstown, Rotorua, Wellington and many more places, provided by Air New Zealand and Jetstar Airways. There is a single terminal building that serves international and domestic flights.

Flights to and from McMurdo Station in Antarctica use the airport. It is one of the few international airports in the world where military and civilian aircraft regularly share the same runways.

There are two regular public bus services from the airport to the city centre. The number 29 bus travels via Fendalton, while the Purple Line bus travels via the University of Canterbury and Riccarton. The 30 min trip costs $8 (or $2.50 with a Metrocard) and between the two routes buses operate every 15-30 minutes during the day, 7 days a week. A door-to-door shuttle service to all parts of Christchurch is available; the price to the city centre is $24 for the first person and $5 for each additional person travelling to the same destination. Taxi stands (about $45-$65 to the city centre) and rental car parks are close to the terminal building.

If you have a few hours to spare and no heavy luggage, you can walk to the airport. There is a footpath alongside Fendalton Road/Memorial Avenue all the way to the airport and the 8 km walk through residential neighbourhoods is quite pleasant.

By car[edit]

State Highway 1 is the main highway into Christchurch from the north and south, and skirts around the city to the west, close to the airport. The stretch north from Picton to Christchurch is particularly scenic, including stunning windswept cliffs and seal colonies. State Highway 73 goes to the west, over Arthur's Pass and on to the west coast. From SH73 you can also access Mount Hutt and other regional ski fields.

Typical distances and non-stop travel times to Christchurch:

By bus[edit]

National operators InterCity and Newmans Coach Lines provide multiple daily connections to destinations throughout the South Island. There are daily bus services to and from Picton to the north, Dunedin, Queenstown and Mt Cook to the south, and the West Coast (Greymouth, Hokitika). The temporary InterCity bus stop is at 182 Armagh St (between Manchester St and New Regent St). From 20 November 2015 the bus stop will be at Platform L at the Bus Exchange on Lichfield Street. Newmans Coach Lines buses (to Tekapo/Queenstown) depart from outside Canterbury Museum in Rolleston Ave, nearest the Worcester Boulevard intersection).

There are a number of smaller shuttle operators who operate from Christchurch., a budget no frills bus operator. Atomic Shuttles, a local operator with services from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass. West Coast Shuttle, with services to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass (pick up at Christchurch airport on demand).

By train[edit]

The Coastal Pacific runs from October through April between Christchurch and Picton, where it connects with the Cook Strait ferries from Wellington in the North Island. The train departs Christchurch at 07:00 and arrives in Picton at 12:13, connecting with the 14:00 ferry to Wellington. The 09:00 ferry from Wellington connects with the train departing Picton at 13:00 and arriving in Christchurch at 18:21.

The TranzAlpine can take you coast-to-coast between Christchurch and Greymouth, a town on the West Coast. This scenic train journey can be done as a day trip. The train departs from Christchurch daily at 08:15, arriving at Greymouth at 12:45, then leaves Greymouth at 13:45, getting back to Christchurch at 18:05. During the trip you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains, followed by spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. The train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to Greymouth.

The Christchurch railway station is on Troup Drive in Addington, adjacent to the large Tower Junction shopping centre, and has limited facilities. Canterbury Shuttles provides a free transfer from all central city accommodation to the station. Pick-ups for the Coastal Pacific are 06:00-06:30. Pickups for the TranzAlpine are 07:00-7:45.

Get around[edit]

Christchurch is mostly flat with a grid-pattern layout, so navigation by road is generally simple. The central city is contained by the "four avenues" - Bealey Ave in the north, Fitzgerald Ave in the east, Deans Ave in the west, and Moorhouse Avenue in the south. Watch out for one-way streets and bus-and-taxi-only intersections in the central city. Currently (May 2014), there are a lot of roadworks around the city as roads and underground services are repaired following the earthquakes, so allow extra time when travelling.

Many people get around on bicycles, and special-purpose bicycle lanes have been recently added to many streets to help promote cycling.

The city bus service is called Metro. Buses interconnect through the Bus Interchange on Lichfield St, just east of Colombo St. A standard cash bus fare within the city is $3.50 or with a Metrocard smart card it is $2.50 ($5 maximum charge per day, $10 minimum initial purchase). Services cover the whole city and areas of interest for a visitor that lie outside the central city, such as Sumner and New Brighton beaches, Lyttelton, the Gondola, etc.

The core bus network has four cross-city routes and a circular route through the inner suburbs. Buses on these routes run every 15 minutes during the day, seven days a week. The four cross-city routes converge at Central Station.

  • Blue Line (B) - runs north-south between Belfast and Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH). Every other service continues north of Belfast to Kaiapoi and Rangiora, and every other service continues south of PMH to Cashmere. Connects with Orbiter at Northlands (north) and PMH (south).
  • Purple Line (P) - runs northwest-southeast between the Airport or Sheffield Crescent (alternating services) and Sumner. Connects with Orbiter at University of Canterbury and Westfield Riccarton.
  • Yellow Line (Y) - runs west-east between Hornby and New Brighton. Every other service continues west of Hornby to Rolleston. Connects with the Orbiter at Westfield Riccarton (west) and Eastgate Mall (east).
  • Orange Line (O) - runs south-west-northeast between Halswell and Queenspark. Connects with Orbiter at The Palms Mall.
  • The Orbiter (Or, green) - runs a circular route through the inner suburbs, starting and ending at Eastgate.

In some areas buses may be infrequent, particularly at the weekend, when there may only be one or two buses per hour.

Parking in the city uses a pay and display system and costs $2.60/hour. You can pay with coins, credit card (Visa, MasterCard or AmEx) or with a mobile phone text message (the latter two attract a 50c surcharge) then display the ticket with the expiry time visible on the kerbside dash. Rental cars are available. Most depots are on the airport side of town, with just a few near the CBD.


  •   Air Force Museum45 Harvard Ave, Wigram +64 3 343-9542. Daily 10:00-17:00. Opened in 1987 before the closure of the Christchurch RNZAF base, this museum has full-size replicas of fighting planes and dramatizes the history of New Zealand's Air Force from World War I to Vietnam and beyond. Bus from Central Station platform 'C', 5 Hornby, 81 Lincoln or 88 Rolleston. Free.
  • Arts CentreWorcester Blvd. Gothic Revival stonework of former University campus. This area was damaged during the 22 Feb 2011 earthquake. While reconstruction work is taking place these buildings are closed to the general public. However, the beauty and historical significance of these building can still be appreciated by viewing them from surrounding streets such as Worcester Blvd and Hereford St and the excellent Canterbury Cheesemongers still operates from a modern building within its precincts.
  •   Botanic GardensRolleston Ave, car park entrance Armagh St +64 3 941 7590. Gates open 07:00 until one hour before sunset, conservatories 10:15-16:00. Information centre open 10:15-16:00 daily summer, 11:00-15:00 winter. 30 hectares of exotic and indigenous plants and trees wrapped in a loop of the picturesque Avon River and linking to the 160-hectare Hagley Park. These put the "Garden" in the "Garden City", and the combined total with Hagley Park makes them the second largest inner city park in the world (after New York's Central Park). A new visitor centre and cafe opened in 2014. Free.
  •   Canterbury MuseumRolleston Ave at end of Worcester Blvd (adjoining Botanic Gardens),  +64 3 366-5000. 09:00-17:30 daily summer, 09:00-17:00 winter. Includes colonial, Maori and natural history sections, Antarctic exploration display, and visiting exhibitions. Admission free to main exhibits (but donation appreciated), $2 for Discovery children's section.
Christchurch Art Gallery (closed for repair)
  • Christchurch Art GalleryWorcester Blvd and Montreal St (one block east of Botanic Gardens),  +64 3 941-7300. Th-Tu 10:00-17:00, W 10:00-21:00. Spectacular new $47 million facility opened in 2003, the largest in the South Island, with over 5000 items and visiting exhibitions. The gallery reopened in Dec 2015, after 5 years of being a Civil Defence Centre and then repairs. You can store your suitcase at the reception, so it is a nice place to go in the morning if you are leaving in the afternoon. Usually free..
185 Empty Chairs
  • Earthquake tourism. Tours of affected sites are available. Visitors can also make their own way to sites of particular significance such as Christchurch Cathedral (viewed from Cathedral Square); the Catholic Basilica (South Barbadoes St, just north of Moorhouse Ave) and the Cardboard Cathedral (Madras/Hereford). Memorial sites include the 185 white chair memorial (Madras/Cashel) and the site of the CTV building (Madras/Cashel). A group campaigning to save Christchurch Cathedral from demolition have a small exhibition in the Cathderal Junction shopping mall which shows some of the historic buildings which have been demolished.
  • Ferrymead Heritage ParkFerrymead Park Dr (off Bridal Path Road; take Purple bus east to Ferrymead, then 20min walk or change to #535 bus.),  +64 3 384 1970. 10:00-16:30 daily. A recreated Edwardian township and museum with horse and carriage (daily), tram (weekends and school/public holidays) and train (first and third Sunday) rides. Due to the voluntary nature of the historical societies managing Ferrymead, not all attractions may be running at all times. Special events are often held and the park has been used to film the TV One reality show 'Colonial House'. Admission price is based on whether trams/trains are operating or not, and include unlimited rides if available. Train & tram days, adult $30, student $25, child $15; tram, no train, days, adult $20, student $15, child $10.
  • Garden City Helicopters515 Memorial Ave (next to Christchurch Airport), toll-free: 0800 359 424, e-mail: . Scenic flights from 20 min to 3 hours.
  •   International Antarctic Centre38 Orchard Road, Christchurch Airport (Take Purple or #29 bus west from Central Station),  +64 3 357-0519, toll-free: 0508 736 4846. 1 Oct–30 Apr daily 09:00-19:00; 1 May–30 Sep daily 09:00-17:30. A world-class Antarctic experience with simulated polar weather, Hagglund All-Terrain Vehicle ride, penguins, extensive exhibits about Antarctic science missions, café and gift shop. $55, $36 child. Unlimited Hagglund all day rides $20, Penguin Backstage Pass $20, $15 child.
  •   Orana Wildlife ParkMcLeans Island Rd (10 min drive W of airport),  +64 3 359-7109. Daily 10:00-17:00, last entrance 16:30. New Zealand's largest wildlife sanctuary and conservation project featuring endangered animals from around the world. The park's design minimises fences and cages in favour of natural boundaries and habitats. Lion Encounter (limited 20 tickets per day, participants must be above 1.4 metres in height). Adult $34.50, child $9.50.
  •   Quake City99 Cashel St, Re:Start Mall. Daily 10:00-17:00. Coordinated by Canterbury Museum, it has exhibits about earthquakes in Christchurch, particularly the quakes of 2010-11. Adult $20.
  • Riccarton Bush. The last remaining forest remnant on the Canterbury plains is in Christchurch city. If your time is limited in NZ, this is a great way to experience an example of the country's native forests. The circular track passes under tall kahikatea trees, and there is a diversity of small trees, shrubs, climbers and ferns. Christchurch's oldest house, Dean's Cottage (built 1843) is adjacent. Five minutes drive from central city and easily accessible by bus.
  • St Michael and All Angels Church86-90 Oxford Terrace. Services Sun 8Am, 10AM, 7PM, weekday 9AM, and for viewing at other times. This wooden anglican church dating from 1872 suffered only minor quake damage (it was closed for three months). It has an unusual separate bell tower.
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve60 Hussey Rd (off Gardiners Rd),  +64 3 359 6226. Daily 10:00-22:00, kiwi viewing from 11:00. A smaller park than Orana, with a focus on New Zealand species including kiwi in a natural environment. $16, $8 child.
Avon River from Worcester Boulevard
  • Yaldhurst MuseumMain West Rd (near the airport, first right past Yaldhurst Hotel),  +64 3 342-7914. 10:00-17:00 daily (17:00-21:00 by arrangement for groups of 10 or more). Mostly interesting for its collection of over 150 classic and vintage vehicles. $20, $5 child.


  • Adventure Trailrides +64 27 451 0584. Guided off-road motorcycle tours from a half day to 10 days. All tours include an experienced guide, transport from Christchurch, motorcycle or ATV rental, fuel, insurance, riding gear, lunch and support vehicle. Overnight tours also include twin share accommodation and all meals. 5-10 day tours require a minimum of two riders.
  •   Antigua Boatsheds2 Cambridge Tce, Central City +64 3 366-5885. Daily, summer 09:30-17:30, winter 09:30-17:00. Boat hire from historic British boatsheds for a hands-on water experience. $12/hr canoe, $25/half-hr rowboat, $25/half-hr paddle boat.
  •   Christchurch Casino30 Victoria St, Central City +64 3 365-9999. Daily except Good Friday, 25 Apr, 25 Dec. Dress code (jeans now allowed). You get a free meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) if it is your birthday (booking essential).
  •   Christchurch Gondola10 Bridle Path Rd, Heathcote Valley (Take #28 bus southeast, or take Purple bus and change to #535 bus at Ferrymead.),  +64 3 384-0310. Daily except 25 Dec 10:00-17:00. Ride in an enclosed gondola car up to the summit of the Port Hills then view the Heritage Time Tunnel exhibit, take an outdoor nature walk, visit the cafe and shop. The trip takes 10min but it is recommended to allow an hour all up. From 1 Nov to 31 March, a shuttle bus runs from the i-Site visitor centre and Canterbury Museum on Rolleston Ave at 40 minutes past the hour each hour from 09:40 until 15:40. Adult $25, child (5-15 years) $12, passenger & own mountain bike $30, or with mountain bike hire $70. Discount of 10% when booking online 7 days in advance.
Punting on the Avon
  • Creative Workshops. Spend a day with a local artist or craftsman and share his skills and passion.
  • Punting on the Avon, punts depart from Antigua Boatsheds (see above). Glide down the river in Cambridge University style with a uniformed boatsman.
  • Summit Road, drive it or bike it or take a bus then walk it. The road (and the Crater Rim Walkway) traverses the crest of the Port Hills, which separate Christchurch from Lyttelton Harbour. Breathtaking views over Christchurch, the Southern Alps, Pegasus Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula - often all from the same vantage point. Lots of sheep on the walkways, some of which traverse working farms. (It is not possible to drive along all of Summit Road because it is closed due to earthquake damage).
  • Tram ride. Sep-Mar 9am-6pm, Apr-Aug 10am-5pm. Runs every 8-10 mins on a loop in the central city that takes 25 min in total. Get on and off as you please with your day-long ticket. Adult $15, 15 years and under free (up to 3 children per adult).


Christchurch has the busiest program of annual festivals of any New Zealand city.

  • Summertimes runs from December through to late February and includes a number of major free events in Hagley Park, which attract audiences of up to 100,000. It consists of music, arts, culture and sporting events.
  • The World Buskers Festival. Runs for two weeks in January and usually features about 30 comedy, street, and circus acts from around the globe.
  • The Festival of Romance lasts for 10 days leading up to Valentine's Day and includes a range of romantic activities.
  • The Christchurch Garden Festival takes place in March.
  • Kidsfest is on during the midwinter school holiday.
  • Christchurch Arts Festival. Is the largest arts festival in the South Island and takes place every second year around Aug-Sep (last held 2013).
  • Carnival Week. Is centred around a number of events taking place in November - Guy Fawkes' night (a major public firework display at New Brighton Pier), the two New Zealand Cup (trotting and galloping) horse racing meetings, and the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral show, which is the largest in the country.
  • Carols by Candlelight is a long-standing tradition on Christmas Eve, now held in Victoria Square.


  •   Ballantynescnr Colombo and Cashel Sts (adjacent to Re:START),  +64 3 379 7400. Mo-Fr 09:00-17:30, Sa 09:00-17:00, Su 10:00-17:00. This major upmarket department store has reopened after the quake.
  •   Re:START. A mall that replaces part of City Mall, which was badly damaged by the earthquake. The shops, boutiques cafes and bars are made out of nicely glossed-up shipping containers. Many local and internationally-renowned brands sell here.
  •   New Regent Street. A beautiful street of terraced Spanish Mission style speciality shops that opened in 1932 and have reopened since the quake. The tram runs along it.
  • Locals tend to shop at the many suburban malls scattered around the city.
    •   Westfield Riccarton129 Riccarton Rd, Riccarton (Take Purple or Yellow bus from Central Station; also on Orbiter bus route),  +64 3 983-4500. 09:00–18:00, except Th–Fr 09:00–21:00 and Su 10:00–18:00. The South Island's oldest (1965) and largest (55,000 m2) mall. 200 stores, including Briscoes, Farmers, Hoyts cinemas, Kmart and Pak'nSave.
    •   Northlands Shopping Centre55 Main North Rd, Papanui +64 3 352-6535. 09:00–18:00, except Th–Fr 09:00–21:00 and Su 10:00–18:00. 135 stores over 42,000 m2, including Countdown, Farmers, Hoyts cinemas, Pak'nSave and The Warehouse.
    •   The Palmscnr Marshland & New Brighton Rds, Shirley +64 3 385-3067. 09:00–18:00, except Th–Fr 09:00–21:00 and Su 10:00–18:00. 110 stores over 34,000 m2, including Countdown, Farmers, Kmart and Reading Cinemas.
  • The Warehouse. Common throughout New Zealand, and with several stores in Christchurch, these big red stores contain a variety of bottom-end products including clothing, tools, camping equipment, toys, music, etc. Their motto is "where everyone gets a bargain" and most things are made in China. While you might not find the top quality brands here, prices are cheap.
  •   Riccarton Rotary MarketRiccarton Racecourse, 146 Racecourse Road, Sockburn. Su 09:00–14:00 (wet or fine). Selling all sorts of things from plants, fruit and vegetables to kiwi souvenirs and cheap Asian wares. Has performances, bouncy castles and food.
  • Christchurch Farmers Market. Meet the growers, farmers, brewers and other artisan producers. A lively affair every Sa 09:00–12:00 on the grounds of Riccarton House.
  • Christchurch Artisan Market. Takes place at Riccarton House on Su 11:00–15:00. In addition to ready to eat foods you will find arts and crafts made locally.



  • Supermarkets. The yellow coloured Pak'n'Save is cheapest overall. The black/green coloured Countdown and beige coloured New World are more expensive, but have a wider range and they can have some seriously cheap specials.
  • Fish'n'chips are the cheapest meal out. Halswell Fish and Chips offer the best fish and chips in town! Look for their contact details, in the phone books.
  • Fruit and vegetable shops offer locally grown high quality fresh produce for prices often much cheaper than supermarkets. The Funky Pumpkin is one example.
  • The Asian district is mainly in the Riccarton/Upper Riccarton area. Church Corner is often considered the unofficial 'Chinatown'. It has Chinese supermarkets, all kinds of Asian restaurants and more. There are many Korean restaurants there, and in the shopping precinct near Westfield Riccarton. KOSCO, a Korean supermarket, has several branches in Christchurch, including one in Riccarton.
  • Perry's Cafe145 Madras St (opposite Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology). M-F 07:00-16:30. Surprisingly good cafeteria-style food with touches of cafe class, gets crowded around lunchtime. $5-7.
  •   Welcome2 Wharenui Rd, Riccarton (just off Riccarton Rd). Delicious Chinese vegetarian meals, including a four course meal deal for under $20. Don't miss the hotplate and clay pot special dishes too!


  • Dux Dine28 Riccarton Rd (formerly one half of the Dux de Lux at 41 Hereford St),  +64 3 348 1436. Pescatarian restaurant with lovely garden seating, the pizzas are good value to share, and the salads are fantastic. Also serves their craft beers including alcoholic ginger beer. $15–30.
  •   Holy Smoke650 Ferry Rd, Woolston (cnr Catherine St),  +64 3 943-2222. Closed Su M nights. Excellent quality restaurant specialising in food that has been manuka smoked in house. The smoked salmon alone is well worth the trip.
  •   Strawberry Fare19 Bealey Ave, Merivale (cnr Carlton Mill Rd),  +64 3 365-4897. In the heart of Christchurch, Strawberry Fare carries an extensive menu of modern interpreted New Zealand dishes as well as many dessert dishes to die for. Reservations are required.
  • Under the Red Verandah502 Worcester St +64 3 381-1109. offers a range of food incorporating fair trade coffee, free range eggs and gluten free baked goods
  • Velvet Burger111 Riccarton Rd +64 03 343 5924. 11:30 AM 'til Late, Mon-Sun. Gourmet burger joint which also offers local beers.


  • @Tony's2 Waterman Place, Ferrymead Central +64 3 348-5644. M-F 12:00–14:30, M-W 17:30–22:00, Th-Sa 17:30–01:00, Su 17:30–21:00. Good teppanyaki with special all-you-can-eat deals Tu-Th. Mains $24-32.
  • Pascatore and 50 Bistro at The George hotel, 50 Park Terrace, +64 3 379-4560. Great views of Hagley Park from Pescatore.
  • King of Snake145 Victoria Street +64 03 365 7363. Offers Thai / Asian fusion food


  • No. 44 Mansfield Avenue. Relaxed during the day and busy (but not too busy) on weekend nights. Great wines, Monteiths beers and a solid menu.
  • Bog Irish Pub. Located in The Speights Ale House, 263 Bealey Ave.
  • Aikmans Bistro & Bar, an upscale drinking spot in the trendy Merivale area. 154 Aikmans Rd, Merivale.
  • Ivy Cafe & Bar, 150 Aikmans Rd, Merivale.
  • Speights Ale House Tower Junction. A relaxed atmosphere bar, a great place for meals. Tower Junction Mega Centre, 55 Clarence St, Riccarton.
  • The Watershed Restaurant & Bar. Overlooking the waterfront in Ferrymead. 12/23 Humphrey's Drive, Ferrymead.
  • The Craic Irish Bar, 84 Riccarton Rd.
  • Dux Live363 Lincoln Road (behind the Mobil station). Sells its own beer and alcoholic ginger beer, and has gigs, usually free, from local bands and beyond.
  • Addington Coffee Co-Op. Sells Fair Trade coffee and clothing in a lively atmosphere
  • If you fancy a short drive or bus ride (approx. 15 minutes from city centre), go to The Wunderbar in Lyttelton. It has a small room for gigs and is popular with artists. The Monster Bar (downstairs, next door) is an excellent Yakitori restaurant and bar though smaller and with more of a focus on DJs.


Backpackers are safe, clean, cheap and cheerful. The cheapest option is a share/dorm room usually costing around $28 per night. Most offer single rooms, twin and double rooms and shared rooms. The standard of backpackers is very good in New Zealand.

Motels are a notch up. Low end around $79 per night. There are also many good quality B&Bs in Christchurch and surrounding district.

Following the earthquakes, some major hotels were demolished. The Novotel in Cathedral Square and the Rendezvous Hotel were repaired and reopened in 2013. Several of the backpackers hostels and most of the motels in Christchurch are located outside the damaged CBD & are fully open for business, just check their websites for updates.


  •   Christchurch Top 10 Holiday Park & Motels39 Meadow Street, Papanui +64 3 352-9176, toll-free: 0800 396 323. Check-out: 10:00. Deluxe motels, cabins and tent site facilities for overnight stays, group trips and longer vacations. 5 minutes walk to Northlands Shopping Centre, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, cinema and bus stop. 10 minutes drive to Christchurch Airport and 5 km to city centre. Non-powered tent site $39, powered tent site $48, rooms $75-188.
  •   Dorset House Backpackers1 Dorset St, Central City +64 3 366-8268, toll-free: 0800 367 738, e-mail: . Check-in: From 14:00, check-out: 10:00. Charming hostel accommodation in an 1871 heritage home, top-rated. Open again after full renovation and re-decoration. Free Wi-Fi, car-parking, spacious rooms, no bunks, all beds fully made. Set among flower gardens and 50 m from Hagley Park. On the airport bus route. Multi-share and family rooms available. Secure online bookings available. Share rooms from $41, doubles, twins, single rooms from $89.
  •   Jailhouse Accommodation338 Lincoln Rd, Addington +64 3 982-7777, toll-free: 0800 524 546, e-mail: . Check-out: 10:00. Newly renovated heritage backpacker accommodation with a colourful history - the former Addington Prison (closed to inmates in 1999). The Jailhouse has single, double, twin, dorm and family rooms. Wi-Fi and free parking. Secure online bookings available. Dorms from $32, rooms from $89.
  •   Rolleston House YHA5 Worcester Boulevard +64 3 366 6564. Converted from a characterful house. One of two YHA hostels in the centre of Christchurch. $34 for a dorm bed, $90 for a twin room.
  •   YMCA12 Hereford St +64 3 365 0502. Modern hostel / basic hotel next to the Botanic Gardens. Dorm beds $30, apartments $220.


  •   Milano Motor Lodge87 Papanui Rd, Papanui (between Holly Rd and Merivale Ln),  +64 3 355-2800, toll-free: 0800 878 766fax: +64 3 355-2800, e-mail: . 5 minutes walk to Hagley Park or Merivale Shopping Mall, 2-3 minutes walk to restaurants $159-269.


For travellers who want to stay a month or longer, there are a number of furnished flats for rent advertised in the papers. A local company called Urban Rooms has a number of furnished rentals specifically for travellers, ranging from rooms in a shared house to self-contained flats with garages.

  • Red Door Cottage115 Merivale Ln, Merivale +64 274 220764. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Self-catering for up to 5. Close to City Centre, public transport, restaurants, shopping. Sky TV, free Wi-Fi, rate includes continental breakfast first day. King & queen beds, warm and private, with off-street parking. Minimum stay 2 nights. $170 for 2, $20 each additional person.
  • Valley View Cottage101 Hillsborough Tce, St. Martins +64 274 220 764. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:30. Self-catering for maximum of 3. Private, relaxing and peaceful, on lower slopes of Hills with views to City. Sky TV, free Wi-Fi, rate includes continental breakfast provisions for first day. Queen bed, warm and cosy with off-street parking. From $145.


  •   Eliza’s Manor Boutique Hotel82 Bealey Ave, Central +64 3 366-8584fax: +64 3 366-4946, e-mail: . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 10:30. Luxury B&B with 8 ensuite rooms, smoke-free. $235-345 double including breakfast.
  •   The George50 Park Tce. Luxury boutique hotel by the river Avon and Hagley Park. Two restaurants, 50 Bistro and Pescatore. From $295.
  •   Novotel Christchurch52 Cathedral Square. Built in 2010 and reopened in 2013. Meeting and conference rooms, restaurant, bar, gym and 154 rooms. Qualmark rating of 4 Star Plus. From $219.
  •   Rendezvous Hotel166 Gloucester St. Built in 2010 and reopened in 2013. From $229, but discounts for advance booking or minimum stays.

Stay safe[edit]

Christchurch has a problem with smog during the winter, but only at night. Although conditions have improved over the years due to the intervention of the city council, take care venturing out on calm frosty evenings if you have a breathing-related medical condition.

While violent crime is relatively rare, some people do have a tendency towards aggression when drunk, as in most cities. Linwood is one of the lower socio-economic area of Christchurch, and is rougher than some other neighborhoods, but is still considered safe. As in any city, take care late at night, especially on Friday and Saturdays, as levels of intoxication can lead to unwanted attention or unprovoked violence. Avoid dark alleyways and confrontations and, if in doubt, make haste to a populated area and call the police (dial 111).

Aftershocks from the 2010-11 earthquakes have long since subsided. There is still a risk of another major earthquake rocking Christchurch, but the chances are comparable to any other New Zealand city.

The earthquakes have caused land to sink up to 1.2 m (4 ft) in some places, creating new basins which can flood during heavy rain. The worst-affected areas are the "Flockton Basin" in Saint Albans/Mairehau north of the city centre, and the suburb of Woolston in the city's south-east. Be wary in these areas if there are forecasts for heavy rain.

  •   Christchurch Central Police Station68 St Asaph St (cnr Antigua St),  +64 3 363-7400.



  • Austria Austria19 Joyce Crescent, Ilam +64 21 440 164 (Mobile)fax: +64 3 513-5794, e-mail: . Honorary Consulate-General - the actual embassy is in Canberra, Australia. Can issue emergency travel documents. This consulate deals with Tasman, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago, Southland, Stewart Island and the Chathams and there are other honorary consuls in Auckland and Wellington.
  • Cyprus Cyprus50-58 Parkhouse Rd, Sockburn +64 3 343-0587fax: +64 3 343-348-6788, e-mail: . M-F 09:00-16:00. Mr Kypros Kotzikas, Honorary Consul.

Go next[edit]

Lewis Pass

As a major gateway to the South Island, Christchurch is often the starting or finishing point for touring the rest of the island.

  • Lyttelton, the port town just over the Port Hills from the city, is accessible by car/bus through the tunnel, or by the scenic Port Hills route via the seaside suburb of Sumner. (The road from Sumner over Evans Pass to Lyttelton is closed because of earthquake damage; the epicenter of the 2011 earthquake was close to the surface here.) Although only 15 km (9 mi) from the central city, Lyttelton feels like another world entirely, with its cafes, bars, shops and locals, its ever-busy port, its stunning hilly backdrop and beautiful harbour. But because of the 2011 earthquake damage, Lyttelton is no longer the port of call for cruise ships visiting Christchurch; it has been shifted to Akaroa.
  • Banks Peninsula is on the edge of the city, and offers a quieter beauty than the Alps, but quite lovely. At its southern end of the peninsula is Akaroa – beautiful, quaint and packed with good eateries. Try out the "Swim with the Dolphins in the sea" trip.
  • Arthur's Pass National Park for a bush getaway, a fantastic train journey and on to the West Coast, containing the Glacier Region, Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks), Greymouth and Hokitika with its Wild Foods Festival
  • Hanmer Springs to soak in the hot pools and then via the Lewis Pass to Nelson for sun, wine, art and the beaches of the Abel Tasman NP
  • Kaikoura for crayfish and whale watching, on the way visiting Waipara, the newest wine region
  • Timaru and on to Otago
  • Queenstown for high-octane pre-packaged adventure tourism and stunning scenery
Routes through Christchurch
KaikouraKaiapoi  N State Highway 1 NZ.svg S  TimaruDunedin
West CoastArthur's Pass  W State Highway 73 NZ.svg E  END
END  N State Highway 75 NZ.svg S  Akaroa

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