Christchurch Overview

Christchurch City is located midway down the East Coast of the South Island, just north of Banks Peninsula.

Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city. It’s a vibrant, cosmopolitan place with exciting festivals, theatre, modern art galleries, great shopping and award-winning attractions.

The city was named after Christ Church, a college at the University of Oxford and was originally known as Christ Church. The name was abbreviated through common usage by the 1880s.

Christchurch has a population of just under 360,000.

Known as the ‘Garden City’, Christchurch has many beautiful parks and gardens throughout the city.

Although some parts of Christchurch are still closed due to earthquake damage (mainly the CBD and some Eastern suburbs), most areas around the city are operating as normal and tourism businesses are open.

In the New York Times article, “52 Places to Go in 2014“, Christchurch has been honoured with being ranked second. The article also highlights the Gap Filler program, the Greening the Rubble campaign and the Transitional Cathedral.

What to see and do in Christchurch

Many of the major tourism attractions in the city are open for business, including the International Antarctic Centre, Tranz-Alpine rail experience, Airforce Museum, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Tanks for Everything and Up, Up, Up and Away ballooning adventures. However, some activities and attractions in the central city and on the Port Hills to the east of the city are not operating. For example, there is no access to buildings and activities in Cathedral Square. Other key tourism attractions that are not currently operating include the Christchurch Tram, Christchurch Art Gallery and the Christchurch Arts Centre.

Get Close to Nature

  • Stroll through and admire our beautiful Botanical Gardens
  • Enjoy the wide open spaces of our expansive Hagley Park
  • Visit picturesque Mona Vale and it’s five hectares of immaculate gardens
  • Go punting on the Avon River
  • Experience snow, ice, Blue Penguins and the exhilarating Hagglund ride at the International Antartic Centre

Take a Day Trip

 There is something different to see and do within one or two hours drive of

Christchurch, in any direction.

  • Akaroa and Banks Peninsula – Visit the picturesque harbourside French Settlement, swim with endangered Hectors Dolphins and visit the dramatic outer Bays
  • Hanmer Springs – soak in the world famous hot springs, enjoy walking tracks or for the adventurous jet boat rides and bungy
  • Discover stunning Kaikoura’s wild coast, seals, sperm whales & more
  • Travel to the West Coast on the tranz alpine train – rated one of the world’s greatest scenic railway journeys
  • Ski fields – 120 minutes
  • Not to mention world class fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, jet boating, horse riding, a round of golf and much much, more…