Things to do in Christchurch

Christchurch is ideally situated for outdoorsy holidays, with countless beautiful scenic areas on the city's doorstep. The best adventure activities on a Christchurch holiday include kayaking, deep sea fishing, whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking, quad biking, 4x4 trails, skydiving, paragliding, hot air ballooning, and much more.

Mount Cook National Park, Akaroa, Lake Pukaki, and the Banks Peninsula are all popular areas to explore. Those wanting to meet the local wildlife and some exotic beasts from further afield should visit the Orana Wildlife Park or the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.

There are also some worthwhile cultural attractions in and around Christchurch: the Canterbury Museum gives good background on the history of the city and the region, while the Ko Täne Living Maori Village in Willowbank Wildlife Reserve offers an exciting insight into the traditions of the indigenous Maori people.

Art fanatics will be impressed by Timaru's Aigantighe Art Gallery, and the Little River Gallery at the gateway to the Banks Peninsula. The Court Theatre entertains visitors with a fabulous schedule of shows; and because sport is integral to Christchurch culture, watching a rugby game at the famous Christchurch Stadium is a must.

Christchurch Tramway photo

Christchurch Tramway

Christchurch's heritage trams, dating back to 1954, have been beautifully restored, offering visitors a unique experience that takes visitors on a two-mile (3km) loop of many of th…

Christchurch Tramway

Christchurch's heritage trams, dating back to 1954, have been beautifully restored, offering visitors a unique experience that takes visitors on a two-mile (3km) loop of many of the city's best attractions. The drivers offer insight on the history, architecture, activities, and points of interest. Visitors can hop on and off at any of the stops to explore at their leisure. The most interesting sights include the Aquarium of Discovery, punting on the Avon River, the exquisite Botanic Gardens on the banks of the river, New Regent Street with its pretty Spanish mission-style architecture, the magnificent Gothic buildings of the Arts Centre, and Canterbury Museum, with an excellent Antarctic exhibition.

Website www.welcomeaboard.co.nz/christchurch-tram/

Christchurch Gondola photo

Christchurch Gondola

The spectacular ride takes visitors to the top of the crater rim of Christchurch's extinct volcano on the outskirts of the city, unfolding magnificent views over the Canterbury Pla…

Christchurch Gondola

The spectacular ride takes visitors to the top of the crater rim of Christchurch's extinct volcano on the outskirts of the city, unfolding magnificent views over the Canterbury Plains and towards the Southern Alps, and the sweep of Pegasus Bay and Lyttelton Harbour, as it rises to 1,460 feet (445m) above sea level. At the summit the Gondola Complex features the Time Tunnel Heritage Show with a walk-through exhibition and video relaying the history and geological evolution of the Canterbury region as well as Maori mythology. From the summit it is possible to walk back down through the Port Hills to Sumner Beach.

Website www.gondola.co.nz

Mount Cook National Park photo

Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook National Park is known for its exquisite alpine beauty and is home to the highest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook. Its Maori name, 'Aoraki' means 'cloud piercer' and…

Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook National Park is known for its exquisite alpine beauty and is home to the highest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook. Its Maori name, 'Aoraki' means 'cloud piercer' and at 12,218 feet (3,724m) it towers above the surrounding snow-covered peaks in the park. A third of the park is covered in permanent ice and snow and the mighty Tasman Glacier is the longest glacier outside of the polar regions. Glacial melt gives the lakes their beautiful milky, turquoise colour and there are many walks in the area to take in the dramatic beauty.

Website www.mackenzienz.com

Canterbury photo

Canterbury

Canterbury is one of the most popular ski areas in New Zealand. It's located not too far from Christchurch. Mount Hutt is the most developed ski resort in Canterbury. The resort ca…

Canterbury

Canterbury is one of the most popular ski areas in New Zealand. It's located not too far from Christchurch. Mount Hutt is the most developed ski resort in Canterbury. The resort caters for skiers of all levels, with good intermediate and advanced runs, and a 'magic carpet' lift for beginners. There are also some excellent off-piste areas, including a run through the Towers rock formations at the top of the mountain. One of the main disadvantages of Mount Hutt is its location on a very windy section of mountains in New Zealand. The ski area is forced to shut down roughly 14 days per season due to dangerous winds.

Akaroa photo

Akaroa

Situated on a peninsula just 45 miles (75km) south of Christchurch, Akaroa is a historic colonial settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. It is Canterbury's oldest v…

Akaroa

Situated on a peninsula just 45 miles (75km) south of Christchurch, Akaroa is a historic colonial settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. It is Canterbury's oldest village and its French character is evident in the street names, quaint historical architecture, and French inspired cuisine. The pretty town and its lovely bays and harbour offer an enormous range of activities for tourists. With its beautiful colonial architecture, cafes, and restaurants, Akaroa is an easy place to spend a relaxing day, and for the more active the surrounding area offers fantastic walking trails, sea kayaking and sailing.

Website www.akaroa.com