An A-Z Travel Guide to Christchurch

An A - Z Travel Guide to Christchurch .....
(Web update July 2020)

Re:START Cashel Mall, now closed
Antigua Boatsheds
Christchurch Tram

Air Force Museum

Air Force Museum, 45 Harvard Avenue, Wigram
Discover the history of the Royal New Zealand Air Force for free, tours run three times a day (also free). For $6 you can buy five minutes in the Mosquito Flight Simulator (we recommend it). Open daily, 10am-5pm.


Arts Centre, 2 Worcester Boulevard
The Arts Centre is home to Rutherford's Den, Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities and social enterprise Rekindle. You'll also find the i-SITE (Visitor Information Centre), and The Arts Centre Makete is held every Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Bike Share - Next Bikes have come to town, bike hire is $4 per hour or $20 for 24 hours. If you're into cycling see Cycling in Christchurch for other bike hire options, tours, where to ride etc.

Botanic Gardens
Botanic Gardens is home to Canterbury Museum and can be entered on Rolleston Avenue, a short walk from Cathedral Square. With more than 21 hectares of colour to wander the Botanic Gardens are always a beautiful place for a walk, hat tip to the gardeners. Pick up a garden map from the i-SITE to help you find your way around or take a Gardens Tour. The gardens are open from 7am daily, free.

Peacock fountain near Rolleston Ave entrance to Botanic Gardens
Botanic Gardens

The stylish new Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre is designed to look like a large glass house and includes popular ilex cafe with its clear glass window looking into the garden's nursery. Adjoining the cafe is a gift shop, many gifts have a garden theme.

Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre
Ilex Cafe
Caterpiller Garden Tour

Drexels Breakfast Restaurant, Westfield Mall, Riccarton
Early risers can have breakfast at Drexels from 6.30am during the week and 7am weekends. The signature hash brown is served with most dishes, and filter coffee and tea are bottomless.

Bus and bike - The brand new Bus Interchange is on the corner of Lichfield and Colombo Streets. Cyclists are well catered for with under cover bike parking, charge points for electric bikes, and buses with bike racks. There is a Muffin Break onsite as well as Zesto Convenience Store.

Cookie Time

Cookies - Buy cookies at discounted prices from the Cookie Time Factory Shop, 789 Main South Road, Templeton (on the outskirts of Christchurch).

Cooking classes - Two options for those who would like to take a cooking class - Riverside Kitchen on Oxford Terrace in the city and Asian Garden Cooking School. (More Cooking Schools around the country).

Pacific Crossings by Jo Toll (2006), Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue (entrance opposite Worcester Boulevard)
At Canterbury Museum you can see a recreation of a Victorian Christchurch street, Antarctic artifacts, a hall of NZ birds, and a costume gallery. Curious Kiwiana - visit the recreation of Fred and Myrtle Flutey's paua shell lounge, and watch a short film about the hospitable couple who welcomed over one million visitors into their home in Bluff.

The Museum is open from 9am daily (except Christmas day), free entry, donations appreciated. The Museum Cafe on the 4th floor has good views over the Botanic Gardens.

Cardboard Cathedral, 234 Hereford Street
The ChristChurch Cathedral in Cathedral Square was severely damaged in the earthquakes, so a Transitional Cathedral was designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. The Cathedral is built in an A frame design using 8 shipping containers and 98 cardboard tubes. A sign inside the Cathedral suggests a $5 donation.

Interior of Cardboard Cathedral
Exterior of Cardboard Cathedral
Christchurch Art Gallery

Christchurch Art Gallery, corner Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street
Entry is free to Christchurch Art Gallery as are guided tours at 11am and 2pm daily (no booking required). Open 10am - 5pm, until 9pm on Wednesday.

CoCA Centre of Contemporary Art is at 66 Gloucester Street. CoCA is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10am, entry is free.

Craft Beer - The Beer Library at 363 Colombo Street in Sydenham is a craft beer retail outlet where you can buy beer by the bottle, can and rigger. There are brewpubs in the city that brew their own like Cassels & Sons Brewery and Three Boys Brewery.

Cassels Beer
Twisted Hop Beer
Dux Central

Craft & Textile Lovers Trail - pick up a brochure from the i-SITE or see the online map and associated Textile and Fibre Arts Network website.

Curious Christchurch - On thecuriouskiwi/blog there are a collection of blog posts about some of the more unusual aspects of Christchurch that we have seen as the city rebuilds.

'Fast food' at C1 Espresso
Furniture by Rekindle
ReSTART Mall, now closed

Design your own jewellery at Beadz Unlimited, 7 New Regent Street in the city. Create your own unique piece of jewellery, purchase a ready made creation or join a workshop. New Regent Street is lined with pastel coloured Spanish Mission style buildings, it's a car free zone but trams rumble by the street side cafes. It's a sweet little street worth visiting.

New Regent Street - November 2016

Experience Christchurch attractions like Punting on the Avon, Orana Wildlife Park, and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, you may find them discounted on Bookme.

Ferrymead Heritage Park, 50 Ferrymead Park Drive, Ferrymead (15 minutes drive from the city)
The Edwardian township at Ferrymead includes a Museum of Flame - firemen will appreciate the display of old fire engines from around the country. Aeroplane enthusiasts can chat to the friendly plane restorer and find out which two planes were used as chicken coops on an Otago farm.

General Store
Morris in a Plane
Cob Cottage

Tram rides are usually available weekends and school holidays, the steam train runs on some Sundays. Open daily from 10am, admission costs. (Note: If you visit during the week you might have the place to yourself (and not all attractions operate), you may appreciate visiting on weekends when the atmosphere will be more lively).

Going to the Canterbury A&P Show during NZ Cup & Show Week in November is a highlight for visitors and locals. NZ Cup and Show Week (now part of the BLOOM event/festival) is a celebration of horse racing, fashion and entertainment.

Groynes Recreation Reserve

Groynes Recreation Reserve, 160 Johns Road, Belfast (12km from inner city)
Take a bush walk and spot the bird life, you can also fish for trout (you need to purchase a licence first). Boats can be hired on sunny weekends, and coin operated BBQs are available if you want to make a day of it. Groynes is a rubbish free park so you will need to take your rubbish with you. Gates open 7am.

Haunted tram ride and zombie attack? That's what you'll get at the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre held at Ferrymead Heritage Park - Facebook. If you want to get scared and lost see Horror Maze (runs January - March).

Indulge your fudge craving at The Fudge Cottage which has returned to The Arts Centre at 28 Worcester Boulevard. Chocolate fans will find SHE Chocolat at The Tannery in Woolston and there is a Theobroma Chocolate Lounge at Westfield Riccarton.

Hot Chocolate with a view at She Universe, Governors Bay (now closed)
She Chocolate Bar at The Tannery
Fudge Cottage

Snowing in Christchurch

It often snows in Christchurch over winter, you can ski and snow board a couple of hours down the road at Hanmer Springs Ski Area. Shuttles travel the 17km trip during the season from Hanmer Springs village to the ski area. I've read it's perfect for intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders.

Ice Skate year round at Alpine Ice.

Jump start your day with a flat white from a NZ Barista Champion at Luciano Espresso Bar, 76 Moorhouse Avenue (next to Lighting Direct).

Luciano Espressso Bar

Kai can be gathered at Christchurch Farmers Market, Riccarton House, 16 Kahu Road every Saturday from 9am - 1pm. Lyttelton Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 10am - 1pm on London Street.

Christchurch Farmers Market
Wigram Brewing, Christchurch Farmers Market
Sweetheart Bakery, Christchurch Farmers Market
Breads of Europe, Christchurch Farmers Market

Kayaks, row boats and bikes are for hire at the picturesque Antigua Boat Sheds, 2 Cambridge Terrace. Alternatively, go Punting on the Avon in an authentic Edwardian punt. The Boat Shed Cafe next door is open for breakfast and can provide you with a picnic of snacks to take on the water. Cafe open 7 days.

Antigua Boatsheds
Punting On The Avon
Antigua Boatsheds Cafe

Lincoln Road in Addington is home to Addington Coffee Co-op at number 297. Service and food at Addington Coffee are worth visiting for and there's an interesting store onsite too. The Pedal Pusher at 284 Lincoln Road is a bike themed bar and eatery with unusual features like bike seat bar stools, a bike brake coat holder and sprocket light fittings.

The Pedal Pusher bar stools
The Pedal Pusher fish n chips
The Pedal Pusher light fittings

Lyttelton's London Street lost some of its iconic colourful buildings but if you make the short trip through the tunnel from Christchurch you'll find more colourful businesses filling the empty spaces. The Lyttelton Harbour Information Centre is at 20 Oxford Street.

Lyttelton Port
Tacos, Records, Coffee & Skateboards

The vegetarian and vegan friendly Shroom Room at 48 London Street has a quirky collection of spaces, and seating spills out into the adjoining Albion Square. My meat eater rated the mushroom pies and I think they must be in cahoots with Dukes of Sandwich as the ciabatta bread is tops as well. Take patience if you visit on a busy weekend as we did.

Albion Square
Shroom Room Cafe
Shroom Room Cafe

Another eating option on London Street is Civil and Naval. The Lyttelton Farmers Market sets up on London Street every Saturday from 10am-1pm. Port Hole container bar has gone from 42 London Street but may appear elsewhere in Lyttelton. Wunderbar is an unusual bar at number 19 - see thecuriouskiwi/blog Curious or Creepy?

The Port Hole Bar
Wunderbar Dolls Head Lampshade

Margaret Mahy Family Playground, Armagh Street (between Manchester and Madras Streets)
The Margaret Mahy Family Playground is a brilliant playground with interactive water features, climbing nets, unusual slides and a flying fox. MoCoffee cube is onsite as well as Rollickin' Gelato and Berry Healthy Real Fruit Ice Cream. (The playground is named after Margaret Mahy, a much loved children's writer).

Margaret Mahy Family Playground
Margaret Mahy Family Playground

Movies - If you like independent cinemas, The Deluxe is at The Tannery, 3 Garlands Road in Woolston. In the city, watch a movie at Alice on the corner of High and Tuam Streets. C1 espresso is next door to Alice and the cafe is as popular as ever, there are some quirky features like the Singer sewing machine water dispenser, and bookshelf door. C1 also put a new spin on fast food - Super Speedy Dinner Delivery via thecuriouskiwi/blog.

C1 Espresso
C1 Espresso
C1 Espresso

Community Piano

Music - For Christchurch gig guides see Under the Radar and RDU.

New Brighton Library, Pier Building, 213 Marine Parade
The architects who designed the seaside library thoughtfully provided large windows overlooking Brighton beach. On the ground floor are comfy chairs where you can relax and read, or plan your next move as you gaze out to sea. Salt on the Pier cafe next to the library provides sea views with coffee and is open 7 days from 8.30am. (Salt on the Pier restaurant is located upstairs).

New Brighton Pier
Salt on the Pier
New Brighton Beach

Taylor's Mistake Baches

On the beach (almost) at Taylor's Mistake you will see some classic Kiwi baches. Taylor's Mistake is also a popular surf spot. To get there look for Taylor's Mistake Road south of the village of Sumner and drive the winding road to its end. See the surf conditions on the webcam, Taylors Surf is also on Facebook.

Only 90 minutes from Christchurch are two small but popular NZ villages - Hanmer Springs (north of Christchurch) and French flavoured Akaroa (south east of Christchurch). Relax in one of the country's best hot pool complexes at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. If you're interested in mosaic art I highly recommend a visit to the magical Mosaic Sculpture Garden at Giant's House B&B in Akaroa.

Mosaic garden at Giants House B&B
Hanmer Springs Thermal  Pools
Mosaic garden at Giants House B&B

Orana Wildlife Park is an open range zoo and utilises moats and banks where possible to keep animals enclosed rather than cages and high fences. If you'd like to get up close and terrified by lions buy a ticket for the Lion Encounter and get on board a truck with the keepers. Lunch for the lions ensures your experience will be remembered. Orana Wildlife Park is open 7 days (except Christmas Day), 10am - 5pm.

Orana Park Lion Encounter
Hand feed giraffes

Tip: There are 20 tickets for the Lion Encounter each day at a cost of $52.50 (on top of park admission - $36.50). Tickets are first come first served but you can phone ahead to reserve and pay for your place. It's a tight fit in the back of the truck and weekends are especially busy, if you visit during the week you might strike it lucky and have less people in the truck giving you more opportunity for an extra close encounter.

Pay It Forward Design Store - now The Kowhai Collective is a co-operative of local designers from the Christchurch area who sell their quality wares at the Guthrey Centre, 116-126 Cashel Street in the city. Craft workshops are also offered.

Queens & Kings of the Castles - head to New Brighton Beach in February for the annual NZ Sand Castle Competition. Kite Day is held on New Brighton Beach in January.

RefillNZ - Help save the environment and yourself some money while travelling by refilling your reusable water bottle with tap water from RefillNZ stations around NZ.

Riccarton Rotary Sunday Market, Riccarton Park Racecourse, Racecourse Road (10 - 15 minutes drive from the city)
There are over 250 stalls to browse at the Riccarton Sunday market, 9am - 2pm, rain or shine.

Czech cuisine - Riccarton Market
Riccarton Market
Riccarton Market

Shopping – If you like shopping in malls you'll like shopping in Christchurch - Westfield Riccarton, Northlands and The Palms are three of the city’s best. The Orbiter will take you to the shopping malls if you don't have transport. Farewell to Cashel Mall Re:START the cool shipping container shopping hub that has now closed. The Colombo at 363 Colombo Street in Sydenham is a smart new permanent shopping hub also worth visiting.

Re:START Cashel Mall, now closed
The Tannery
Herbal Teas at The Apothecary, The Tannery

The Tannery in Woolston is reminiscent of The Strand Arcade in Sydney. Supporters of NZ made can visit KILT. The Tannery has some interesting tenants including The Apothecary - looking through the herbal teas I saw 'Gone With The Wind' - helps with gas; and 'Hair of the dog' - helps the liver. If you're interested in traditional remedies I got a good introduction to The Apothecary from one of the staff so you're in good hands. If you'd like a beer, something from a bakery, or a book, The Tannery has you covered.


Stock up on organic produce at Piko Wholefoods, corner Kilmore and Barbadoes Streets. Piko sell certified organic fruit and vegetables, a range of whole foods and gluten free products. Harbour Co-op (formerly Lyttel Piko) at 12 London Street, Lyttelton is now a community owned cooperative.

Liberty Market on the corner of Moorhouse and Fitzgerald Avenue is another option.

Street Art - Rise Festival and Spectrum Street Art Festival facilitated impressive art works on walls in Christchurch's inner city. Visit Watch This Space to find street art in the city and to find out about street art tours. There are also 41 photos of Christchurch Street Art via thecuriouskiwi/blog.

Christchurch Street Art
Christchurch Street Art
Christchurch Street Art

Sumner is a seaside suburb in Christchurch and you can hire surf boards and wet suits from Stoked at 9 Wakefield Avenue, or Learn to Surf (Sumner surf cam). Sumner Village has a directory of businesses for the upmarket suburb. Hollywood Cinema in Sumner opened in 1938 and it's still standing strong.

Cafe in Sumner
Take a walk down Sumner beach
Beware of rock falls in Sumner

Train rides for kids - Thanks to the Canterbury Society of Model Engineers model trains run on Sundays from 1pm-4pm (weather depending) at Halswell Domain. Rides are $2, see Facebook for updates.

Christchurch Tram

Trams are back on the rails and rumbling around the city loop, you can have dinner on the move onboard the TramWay Restaurant.

Trash to treasure - EcoShop is located at 191 Blenheim Road, Riccarton. If it's recyclable it will be here. Open 7 days.

Unusual (at least to some) art works can be seen around the city - see Scape Public Art - permanent works.

Vegetarians or vegans - The Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant at 363 St Asaph Street is a calm and relaxing haven in the city, in the same building is the Gandharva Loka world music store. (Also see Lyttelton's The Shroom Room mentioned above).

Lotus Heart
Coffee at Water Drop Vegetarian Cafe
Water Drop Vegetarian Cafe

Water Drop Teahouse is part of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple, the teahouse is another haven of calm on the very busy Riccarton Road. There's a set lunch, sweet snacks in the cabinet and free fruit on the tables. (Closed Monday).

Writers Trail

Walk the Writers' Trail - Many of the plaques may be part of construction sites, but if you're interested in writers with a Canterbury connection check out the Writers' Trail brochure.

Whodunnit? Dame Ngaio Marsh (1895 - 1982) is New Zealand's Queen of Crime fiction writing, and a world renowned fiction writer. One hour guided tours of her home at 37 Valley Road in Cashmere can be arranged by appointment, $20. Tours are run by volunteers so pre-booking is essential.

Writers & Readers Festival
See Word Christchurch for festival information.

Map World

X marks the spot at Map World, 35 Moorhouse Avenue. Buy maps, travel books, local guide books for cyclists, GPS devices, compasses and travel accessories. Closed Sunday.

You will be entertained at the Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival in January each year. Garden City Summer Times concerts and events are held 31 December - March every year and the Christchurch Arts Festival is biennial.

Zero in on some of the neat places in Christchurch by visiting the website of the same name - Neat Places.

Comments to date: 1. Page 1 of 1.

Nikos Taskos

I have been to New Zealand recently and it certainly lived up to expectations. One of the highlights of my trip was Hobbiton; as a true fan, I couldn't afford to miss it!

Admin:  Hi Nikos, Good to hear NZ lived up to your expectations, I hear you about Hobbiton, I think it's an NZ highlight too and I'm not a LOTR fan. Happy travels to wherever you head to next.

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