Best Things to See and Do in Christchurch

Despite the devastation caused by the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, Christchurch has many things to see and do. Here are some of the leading attractions and activities:

  • 01 of 11

    Christchurch Inner City after the Earthquakes

    Christchurch Inner City after the Earthquakes
    Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

    Yes, it's a bit depressing, but the aftermath of the earthquakes is quite a sight. A large number of the shops, churches, historic buildings and office towers in the central city area are gone, with more still to be demolished. In their place, there are simply empty spaces, as the work to rebuild takes place. It's worth walking or driving through the streets of the city to see just how widespread and destructive the earthquakes were.

  • 02 of 11

    Sumner Beach

    Sumner Beach, Christchurch
    Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

    Although the hills around Sumner were badly hit by the earthquakes, the beach area is still one of the nicest parts of Christchurch. There are also some good cafes to enjoy a meal or coffee.

  • 03 of 11

    Lotus Heart Restaurant

    Lotus Heart Restaurant, Christchurch
    Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

    This restaurant may well be one of the best in Christchurch. It's completely vegetarian, with vegan and gluten-free food options as well. If you're a meat eater don't let that put you off; this has some of the tastiest and most interesting food you will find in a restaurant anywhere. It's extremely popular, too, so it pays to book, especially on the weekend.

  • 04 of 11

    Orana Wildlife Park

    Orana Wildlife Park, Christchurch
    Image Courtesy of WikiCommons

    This is the largest wildlife reserve in New Zealand, with a number of exotic animals in a natural setting. There is also a Kiwi House for viewing New Zealand's national bird.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Canterbury Museum

    Canterbury Museum, Christchurch
    Image Courtesy of WikiCommons

    One of the best museums in New Zealand, Canterbury Museum contains many exhibits relating to the history and development of the South Island, from pre-European times to the present day. It is centrally located, next to the Botanic Gardens.

  • 06 of 11

    Christchurch Botanic Gardens

    Peacock Fountain Christchurch Botanic Garden
    Image Courtesy of Getty Images/Laurie Noble

    These cover more than 21 hectares and contains the largest collection of native and exotic plants and trees in New Zealand. It runs alongside the Avon River in the center of Christchurch. Amongst the most impressive features of the gardens are the huge trees, some up to 120 years old.

  • 07 of 11

    Re:Start Mall (Container Village)

    Re:Start Mall (Container Village), Christchurch
    Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

    On the site of an entire block destroyed by the 2012 earthquake, local retailers came up with a unique idea: a shopping mall made from shipping containers. There is a great atmosphere here, with interesting shops and cafes. One section is also an outdoor market.

    It is located in Cashel Street in the center of the city, opposite the Ballantynes Department Store.

  • 08 of 11

    Ballantynes Department Store

    Ballantynes Department Store, Christchurch
    Image Courtesy of WikiCommons

    Ballantynes is a Christchurch institution and was the first department store to open in New Zealand, when it was established in 1854. It offers some of the best shopping the country, with a huge selection of quality merchandise. The flagship store is located on the corner of Cashel and Colombo Streets. There is also a store in Timaru, south of Christchurch.

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  • 09 of 11

    Quake City

    Quake City, Christchurch
    Image Courtesy of Canterbury Museum Website

    This is Christchurch's premier earthquake attraction, with multi-media displays illustrating the processes and effects of the earthquakes. There are also exhibits explaining the geological nature of earthquakes and volcanoes. It is situated next to the Re:Start Mall in Cashel Street.

  • 10 of 11

    Akaroa and Banks Peninsula

    Akaroa Harbour, Banks Peninsula
    Image Courtesy of Malene Holm

    Banks Peninsula is 87 kilometers (54 miles) south of Christchurch city, making it an ideal day trip. It's a unique area of high hills and and pretty bays. Akaroa is a small village best known for trips to see the Hector's dolphins in the harbor.

  • 11 of 11

    Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Wigram

    Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Wigram
    Image Courtesy of WikiCommons

    This is New Zealand's premier aviation museum and houses one of the leading collections of aviation history in the world. It is found at Wigram, the oldest air base in the country. In addition to displays, it is the main center for historical research of military aviation history in New Zealand. It is the air force equivalent of the equally impressive New Zealand National Army Museum at Waiouru in the Central North Island.