If you’re looking for unique destinations for your adventures, the newest city in the world, Christchurch, is the place to be. The city, also known as Garden City, is the hidden portal to New Zealand’s adventure-filled South Island. It is situated right at the borderline of Canterbury Plains that run up along into the Southern Alps.
The city is a conglomerate of urban innovation and decades-long culture as well as adrenaline-filled activities. It is home to the 150-year old Botanic Gardens that is habitat to a wild collection of native and exotic plants. The city is recuperating pretty well after earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 shook it to its core.
Nevertheless, there’s always something new to discover in Christchurch, and new sights deliciously invite tourists and locals to be part of its new secrets. The city houses some of New Zealand’s oldest buildings and some modern architecture. The Avon River freely meanders and intersects with different parts of the city, creating a natural panorama against the springing urban backdrop.
Whether you prefer to visit Canterbury for unforgettable expeditions into the quaint towns, enjoy thermal soaks at Hanmer Springs, or blend with the wildlife at Kaikoura, Christchurch has more to offer than you can experience in a lifetime. With that being said, here is your ultimate guide to the best things you should do in Christchurch, NZ.
1. Relax At The Botanic Gardens and Board A Punt
There’s nothing as assuring and relaxing as being surrounded by thousands of greenery. You can take your time and marvel at the beauty of each sculpture, flower, or plant. When you feel like you want to relax, all you have to do is get into a punt on the Avon River and leisurely meditate on the sights you’ve just experienced.
2. Visit the Pohatu Marine Reserve
The Pohatu Marine Reserve is the refuge of the most significant Little Penguin colony on the mainland. Here, you’ll have the chance to see some Yellow Eyed Penguins as they pay homage to the bay. For an experience you will never forget, take a trip with the marine reserve guides and observe them studying nesting penguins.
You will enjoy learning about their conservation programs as you take in panoramic views of Akaroa Harbour. To cap off your day, join the guides on the evening tour, and you’ll love watching the penguins come in from the sea after a busy day.
3. Tour the Waipara Wineries
The Waipara region is located 45 minutes north of Garden City and is quite famous for its tantalizing Reisling and Pinot Noir. Waipara is home to over 60 vineyards and cellars that allow visitors to pop in for some wine tasting. Whether you prefer Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Chardonnay, there’s something for everyone.
4. Visit Port Hills
Whether you prefer to explore by bike or on foot, the dazzling, history-rich Port Hills will offer you some spectacular views of the city below as well as the sprawling Southern Alps. You will also get a chance to take photos of the local wildlife and the outstanding Castle Rock formation.
5. Drive to Arthurs Pass National Park
If rivers, endless forests, and the natural wild is your thing, you will enjoy visiting Arthurs Pass National Park. You can start the short walks from the nearby village. These short walks include Bridal Veil Track, The Devil’s Punchbowl Falls, Temple Basin, Historic Village Walk, and the Dobson Nature Walk. As you enjoy getting fresh air into your lungs, try to look out for the curious Kea bird.
6. Take A Train Ride On The Tranz Alpine Rail
If you would like to take a train ride that you will never forget, you should consider the TranzAlpine journey. It is one of the most spectacular train rides you will ever experience. You will start your ride in Christchurch, cut across Canterbury Plains, and pass into Arthur’s Pass National Park. After that, you will pass through the thick wild beech forest and end your journey in Greymouth.
7. Soak In The Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools
If you haven’t soaked yourself in Hanmer’s thermal pools, your trip to Christchurch is not complete. The thermal pools will offer you some relaxation as well as adrenaline-filled waterslides. Here, you can also enjoy some hexagonal pools, sulfur pools, aqua therapy, as well as rock pools that will leave you feeling refreshed.
8. Do Some Jet Boating
If you’re down for some action-packed activities, jet-boarding is the perfect one for you. Get down to the Waiau River and watch your skipper navigate the white water rapids.
9. Visit The Vibrant City
Here you can explore the historic buildings of Christchurch, including the cathedral and the popping street art. If you’re up to visiting a shopping mall, you can get in line and enjoy some retail therapy.
10. Take In Akaroa
There’s a lot of marine life in Akaroa for you to discover. Here, you get a chance to see Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s smallest dolphin. Swim with the dolphins and discover the horizon together.
11. Sample Some Food At Little High Eatery
Once you walk into the Little High Eatery, you will be amazed at the countless options for food in the food market. The food is utterly delicious, and you can have incredible helpings of Thai, Japanese, Korean, and Mexican cuisine.
The food is affordable as compared to restaurant food in other parts of New Zealand. Additionally, the ambiance is welcoming, and you are bound to enjoy every morsel that you bite into.
12. Visit Exhibitions At The Canterbury Museum
There are different exhibitions at the Canterbury Museum that you will enjoy visiting. The exhibits offer a rich history of the Canterbury region. Even if you don’t like to visit museums, chances are, you will love seeing this one: the building itself is quite magnificent.
Most people only know Christchurch for the devastating earthquakes the city faced in 2010 and 2011. However, there’s a lot to see and do in the world’s newest city. Once you start exploring, you won’t stop. But, one thing is sure; you’re going to love Garden City.