Known as “The Garden City”, Christchurch boasts beautifully sculpted parks and gardens reminiscent of Victorian England. Christchurch has a lively student population, is multi-cultural, and a popular backpacker destination. It even has its own wizard. It’s a pretty awesome city. Though severely damaged during the 2011 earthquake, the city is slowly being rebuilt. Many attractions have since closed. However, the city is surviving and moving forward.
- Hostel Prices: Hostel dorms in the city cost between around $20 USD per night while private rooms begin at $50 USD.
- Budget Hotel Prices: You can expect to pay $50 per night for a double room.
- Average Cost of Food: A typical restaurant meal with cost you about $12 USD or more. If you choose to cook your food, plan to spend about $50-60 USD per week. You can find sandwiches around the city about for $5 USD and fast food like McDonald’s or Burger King costs between $6-8 USD.
- Transportation Costs: There is currently no tram running in the city since the earthquake. A new temporary bus station has been erected just outside of the city centre – a single trip is $2, an all day pass is $4, and weekly is $20.
Top Things to Do
- The Antarctic Center - This tourist attraction near the airport is worth considering if you’re interested in Antarctica. There is a lot of information on the environment and wildlife of the continent. It features a simulated Antarctic environment and you can even ride in a Hägglund Antarctic vehicle.
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve - This wildlife park focuses on native bird life and it is best known for its excellent nocturnal kiwi tours.
Christchurch Gondola – This gondola ride in Christchurch’s southern suburbs offers excellent views of the city center and surrounding areas.CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE EARTHQUAKE
- The Arts Center – The Arts Center is a vibrant area filled with theaters, shops, and galleries. On the weekends, there is an outdoor market that is filled with local art and jewelry. The city art gallery is free and has a lot of great paintings and special exhibits.
- Visit the Port Hills – The trails in the Port Hills are an outdoorsy way to see the best views of Christchurch and the Southern Alps on one side and beautiful Banks Peninsula on the other. You can walk or bike them and they are a popular spot for exercising locals.
Visit Cathedral Square – This is the main center of town and where all the markets, fairs, and locals hang out. During the weekend, there is usually an event occurring. You can visit the cathedral in the square too and for a small fee, climb the bell town for panoramic views of the city.[Note: The earthquake destroyed the bell tower and severely damaged the church. THIS AREA CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE EARTHQUAKE] Canterbury Museum – This free museum includes colonial, Maori and natural history sections, Antarctic exploration display, and visiting exhibitions.CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE EARTHQUAKE
- Hagley Park’s leafy glades – Admire the stately English trees, colorful themed flower beds in the Botanic Gardens and the tranquility of the meandering Avon River. This is a great place to run, cycle, or just relax! It gets busy here with runners at night.
- Check out a festival – Christchurch is the hub city of festivals in New Zealand. There is typically something going on every month. The Festival of Romance is perhaps the most unique with a 10 day celebration prior to Valentine ’s Day.
- Lyttelton Farmers Market – Whether you are looking to stock up on some groceries or just want to check out an authentic market, this is the place to stop. Many locals contribute and shop here, stuffing it with only the freshest, seasonal produce, bread, cheeses, honey, eggs, relishes and more. Great people watching and sometimes there is music.
- Mona Vale – This is a traditional, Elizabethan-style home on a huge plot of beautifully manicured land. The inside of the house is pretty cool, but the neat thing about this place is the pre-made picnics. You have to order them the day before because of the high demand and attention to detail they put into every meal.
- Bone Dude – The original studio was destroyed in the quake, but the owner has set up a temporary studio in the garage at his home. He currently offers only 1 session per day from 12 – 4 pm Monday to Friday and 10 – 1pm Saturdays.