How to Spend 1 Day in Christchurch
Christchurch is often described as the most English of New Zealand's cities. The Garden City offers visitors a multitude of options, from wine trails to wildlife reserves. Whether your interests include downtown sightseeing or exploring Canterbury’s natural surroundings, here’s how to make the most one day in Christchurch.
Morning: City Sightseeing
Christchurch has recovered beautifully from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and is full of sights, old and new. Learn about its history on the Christchurch Tram’s narrated hop-on hop-off tour. See the Bridge of Remembrance, and stop at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens for an open-air tour on a caterpillar shuttle or a punting tour on the Avon River with a guide dressed in Edwardian clothing. You can also enjoy the Christchurch Gondola, which takes you on a 10-minute panoramic ride up the Port Hills for scenic views.
Afternoon: Themed Adventures
For some family fun, head to the International Antarctic Centre, an interactive attraction where kids can meet sled dogs and blue penguins and go on a Hagglund ride. Or, if you’d prefer to venture a bit further afield, take a helicopter tour to enjoy the unique landscapes of the nearby Banks Peninsula to see unique landscapes or a short ride on horseback to see views of the Southern Alps.
For a food and drink-focused afternoon, take a wine-tasting tour of North Canterbury wineries, or let a guide introduce you to the city’s local craft breweries. If you’d rather get to know the city center, head to the Cashel Street mall and Riverside Market and enjoy Christchurch’s cafes, restaurants, and bars.
Night: Cuisine and Culture
In the evening, indulge in Christchurch’s culinary landscape. For a unique tour of the city after dark, hop aboard the tram (even if you traveled its route in the daytime) and combine your sightseeing with dinner at the Tramway Restaurant. Alternatively, enjoy a traditional hangi buffet dinner and a Maori cultural performance at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve—which also offers the opportunity to New Zealand’s nocturnal kiwi birds in their natural habitat. Finish off your evening downtown with cocktails and a dip into the local nightlife.