Packed with interesting, historic landmarks and hundreds of local attractions, you really will be spoilt for choice when trying to decide what to see in Christchurch. Perhaps you’ll start with a gondola ride in the morning and find yourself in Orana Wildlife Park after lunch.
Preparation is the key. While Christchurch isn’t a particularly large city, it’s still worthwhile doing a little forward planning so you can group activities and attractions together to really make the most of your time. This is especially true if you plan to head further out into the Canterbury Region to explore the beauty that lies beyond the city limits.
Science and fun collide at the International Antarctic Centre, one of Christchurch’s most popular tourist attractions. Learn about Antarctica through interactive and hands-on exhibitions, as well as gaining insight into every expedition (so far) to the coldest place on Earth. Find out about New Zealand’s history with the Antarctic region and experience what it’s like being caught in an Antarctica storm.
If you’d like nothing more than to get out of the city and right into nature, the Christchurch gondola is for you. Starting in the Heathcote Valley, the gondola takers passengers up Mount Cavendish in the Port Hills. Hop off at the top and go for a hike, take in the view, or simply enjoy a serene ride back to the bottom on one of the returning gondolas.
If you’re heading to Christchurch, chances are you already know something about the area’s notoriety as an earthquake hotspot. If you’d like to know more about the city’s seismic history, learn of the stories of triumph during disaster and the many ways to stay safe in the unlikely event of an earthquake during your stay, the Quake City museum is an excellent pit stop.
Sitting on 80 glorious hectares of open land, the Orana Wildlife Park is New Zealand’s only open range zoo and animal conservation centre. The park is a staunch defender of animal welfare, and its conservation efforts and zoo-based breeding program of exotic and endangered species are revered around the world.
One of the best places to encounter New Zealand’s native wildlife in its natural habitat, the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is a well-respected South Island conservation location. For those who absolutely must see a real life kiwi with their own eyes before going home, this is where you need to be.