17 January, 2018
Last updated on 10 February, 2022
Posted by Spaceships Crew
The largest city on New Zealand’s stunning South Island, Christchurch is a vibrant city in transition. The heritage heart of the city was destroyed by the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, but it’s slowly being rebuilt and locals are keen to welcome visitors back.
It’s also a great place to visit on a budget – here’s our top pick of fun things to do in Christchurch that won’t break the bank.
1. Visit Quake City
Quake City offers a sobering reminder of the power of earthquakes. This multi-sensory attraction aims to inform and educate locals and tourists alike about the two devastating earthquakes that transformed the face of the city. Visit early in your trip to get some perspective on how the city has changed.
2. Ride the Christchurch Gondola
One of Christchurch’s most popular attractions, the Gondola Ride is back in action following damage after the earthquakes. The attraction offers splendid views of the dramatically transformed cityscape of Christchurch and the surrounding area, including the Southern Alps, Lyttelton Harbour and the Canterbury Plains.
Go for a strolll along the Avon River in Christchurch
3. Explore Cathedral Square
Cathedral Square, once the historic hub of Christchurch, is at the heart of the devastated city. The Christchurch Cathedral, once an icon of the city, was damaged and subsequently demolished, and in its place stands the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard. Next to this monument is the sobering 185 chair installation, with a white chair for every person who lost their lives as a result of the earthquakes.
4. Take in Some History at the Canterbury Museum
Located at the heart of Christchurch, the Canterbury Museum provides an interesting overview of New Zealand’s rich cultural and natural heritage. Check out rare Maori artefacts, celebrate the heroic age of discovery and exploration in the Antarctic gallery, and see how the first settlers to New Zealand lived and worked, at this fabulous free museum.
5. Wander Around the Tranquil Botanic Gardens
Christchurch is known affectionately as ‘The Garden City’ thanks to its wonderful green spaces, and the Botanic Gardens, at the heart of the city, are amongst its finest. Featuring one of the best collections of exotic and native New Zealand plants, this elegantly cultivated 30-hectare park is a magnet for plant lovers and anybody seeking a little tranquillity. Free to enter, you can take a guided tour for a modest sum.
6. Enjoy the Remarkable Views from the Bridle Path Walk
The historic Bridle Path was constructed in 1850 for settlers travelling between Christchurch and Lyttelton. Today this walkway, which rises steeply, offers magnificent views over Christchurch and ends in Lyttelton, where you can stop for lunch or explore the Sunday Farmers’ Market if you’ve timed it right.
7. Take a Trip to the Beach at New Brighton
The coastal suburb of New Brighton is a popular spot for surfing and sunbathing with a relaxed, laid-back vibe. Take a walk out to sea on the New Brighton Pier, the largest in Australasia, explore the Saturday seaside market, go birdwatching at the spit, or just chill on the beach!