What to do in Christchurch
Christchurch has an incredible array of activities and adventures for families of any size or age to enjoy. Christchurch City is home to lush gardens, modern architecture, adrenaline-filled bike tracks and plenty of heritage to discover on your next trip.
To help you plan, we’ve put together a list of seven places to explore with your family or group…
1. Indulge in the need for speed
The Christchurch Adventure Park is one of the best family-friendly outdoor activities in all of Canterbury. Located up in the Port Hills, the dramatic views are reason enough to venture out there. No matter what skill level you are on a mountain bike, there is a track for you. For those who are beginners with training wheels, to daredevils wanting to practice backflips while also dodging pine trees, the Christchurch Adventure Park ensures everyone has a great time. You can also ditch the bikes and do New Zealand’s highest zipline, or take the gondola to the top of the hills to soak up the scenery. To cap off the adventure, enjoy the natural surroundings at their café, which serves a delicious date scone and a good drop of coffee!
2. Soar up to great heights
If you’re wanting to soak up the scenery but not keen on bikes, then the Christchurch Gondola is the perfect alternative. Starting at the bottom of the Port Hills, the gondolas take visitors up to a stunning panoramic viewing platform and restaurant. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see Lyttleton Harbour, Christchurch CBD, New Brighton Beach, the Southern Alps and the Canterbury Plains. The viewing platform also connects to a network of walking tracks in the Port Hills, so you can opt to continue exploring by foot and walk down to Lyttleton (we recommend sampling Glamour Cake’s one-of-a-kind doughnuts!), or walk back down the Bridle Track to the base of the gondola. Just be warned – the hill is steep and your hamstrings are guaranteed to burn! But totally worth it for the extra adventure (and doughnut).
3. Satisfy your green thumb
For years, Christchurch has also garnered the reputation as the ‘Garden City’. Cantabrians are known for keeping their gardens immaculately groomed and nothing showcases this better than the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Easily accessible from the CBD by either walking, biking or driving, these botanic gardens are a beautiful contrast to the futuristic-looking architecture of the city. There are hundreds of plants to admire and plenty of perfect locations for a family picnic. Pro tip – if you’re in Christchurch during September and October, chances are you’ll get to witness the stunning Cherry Blossom trees put on a show of pink vibrancy. Bealey Ave is especially popular for this with tourists and locals alike partaking in their own Instagram photoshoots.
4. Be entertained in style
Christchurch has got itself a new shiny city centre, and with it comes an epic entertainment hub known as Hoyts Entx. This multi-story complex offers the best cinema in Christchurch along with fabulous eateries to turn the outing into a fun-filled afternoon or evening out. There is a range of movie theatres to choose from, ranging from standard seating to luxury reclining chairs that come with full butler service! We promise, seeing a movie has never been so fun.
5. Make reading fun for the whole family
Another fabulous addition to Christchurch has been their central library, known as Tūranga. Located in the hub of the CBD is a five-story library that offers inspiration for all ages. The first two floors are catered specifically for children, with lego stations, video games and cosy reading nooks. The rest of the library offers private study rooms, research computers and open-aired balconies to take in beautiful views of Christchurch. Treat yourself and the kids to some delicious Rollickin’ Gelato, which is a mere few meters from this Christchurch library.
6. Go back in history
One of the key ways to really appreciate a city while on holiday is by appreciating the heritage sites that still remain. Located next to the Avon River, there are two heritage homes surrounded by beautiful ornate gardens and the last remaining Kahikatea forest in Canterbury. Enjoy a guided tour of the homes and bush before indulging in a unique farm to plate culinary experience at the Riccarton House restaurant known as Local.
7. Please everyone’s food requests
To compliment Christchurch’s recently renovated CBD, the Riverside Markets are a culinary experience your family does not want to miss out on! This market brings together the best of the best with over 30 independent food outlets and 40 food stalls, you can be guaranteed that even the pickiest of eaters in your family will find something that excites their taste buds. Experiencing this market is the new ‘it’ thing to do in Christchurch and a way to truly appreciate how far the city has come since the earthquakes.