If you’ve gone through our guide of activities to do in Christchurch, then you probably know how much there is to see in the city! It offers amazing experiences for anyone and everyone, whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, an adventurous trip, or some good, old classic family time.
That said, if you’re unsure about where to start, we’ve narrowed down our tourist guide to 12 Christchurch attractions that every local and tourist must see! Whatever it is you decide to do, these places are sure to give you an unforgettable experience of Christchurch, New Zealand.
For Relaxation Seekers
1. Lovoir for facials, massages, and other day spa treatments
There’s nothing better than spending a day getting pampered from top to toe. For the ultimate self-care treat, a visit to our day spa, Lovoir, is a must!
We offer a wide range of premium beauty treatments – relaxing facials, full-body massages, advanced skin treatments, and other salon services like mani-pedis, waxing, and eyebrow and eyelash enhancements. Whatever it is you need, you can trust our beauty therapists to deliver nothing less than safe and quality treatments.
Our day spa also boasts top-quality beauty equipment, soothing sounds and scents, and delicious refreshments, creating an overall calming and luxurious ambiance for all our customers.
2. O Studio for pilates and float tanks
For a day of health and wellness, O Studio is a great option. We recommend trying out their Float and Pilates services.
Float therapy involves a sensory deprivation tank designed to limit distractions and create a relaxing environment. Visitors bask in the tank of water and healthy minerals, giving way to a ton of benefits like relieving muscle aches and pains, reducing stress and anxiety, normalising blood pressure, increasing focus, stimulating deep meditation, elevating happy hormones, and many more.
Pilates, on the other hand, is a fun way to get in some sweat and movement while being mindful of your body’s capabilities and improving muscle strength, flexibility, and posture.
3. Flow Yoga for hot yoga
Flow Yoga is another excellent activity for those who value relaxation and wellness. A popular spot among Christchurch locals, they offer different types of yoga classes depending on your preference. Hot yoga, in particular, is one of our favourites!
Their Fire Studio is a heated yoga environment of 36-38°c, which supports deeper stretching and flexibility for the body. Apart from all the typical benefits of yoga (like strength, balance, and relaxation), it also allows you to burn more calories, reduce blood sugar levels, and boost heart and lung health. The cherry on top is its nourishing and rejuvenating effects on the skin, thanks to all the good sweat!
For Nature Lovers
4. Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens
If a nature trip is your priority, Hagley Park should definitely be at the top of your list! A popular spot for rest and recreation, it boasts 350 acres of lush greenery, picturesque gardens, lakes, rivers, and nature trails. It is best enjoyed during leisurely walks, bike rides, or even just sitting and picnicking under the sun.
The park is also great for outdoor activities and sports as it houses several venues like the Hagley Golf Course and Golf Club, the Hagley Oval cricket ground, several netball courts, as well as open-air events like concerts and circuses.
If that wasn’t enough for a full day’s fun, Hagley Park is also where you’ll find the city’s most famous tourist attraction – Christchurch Botanic Gardens. This 21-hectare land houses a beautiful collection of exotic and native plants sprawled across different gardens, conservatories and lawns within the area.
Visitors will also come across other interesting attractions like a paddling pool and playground, a climatological station, memorial walks, and ornamental buildings (like the New Zealand Peace Bell).
5. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and Orana Wildlife Park
Christchurch is home to two wildlife parks, another perfect activity for nature lovers.
Right within the city is Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, a wildlife park and nature reserve. Here, you’ll find 95 different animal species – from New Zealand natives to exotic animals to heritage farmlife animals.
While slightly farther out of the city, a visit to Orana Wildlife Park is also well worth your time. As the only open-range zoo in New Zealand, it makes good use of its 80 hectares of land wherein guests can visit over 400 animals and over 70 species. Just imagine: Tigers, lions, giraffes, rhinos, gorillas, and many more!
6. Banks Peninsula
Banks Peninsula is one of the main landmarks characteristic to New Zealand’s South Island. Located at the east coast of the island, it was formed by two ancient volcanic cones, Lyttelton and Akaroa. The resulting land area is a dynamic landscape of hills, mountains, beautiful bays and beaches, scenic harbours, and small towns and campgrounds.
From Christchurch, you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the Banks Peninsula, either through walking trails, bike or car rides, or day tours.
For Culture Buffs
7. Canterbury Museum
The Canterbury Museum is a must-see attraction for those who want to soak up the history and culture of Christchurch. It displays Maori and colonial artefacts, Antarctic exhibits, and more, allowing visitors to develop a new-found appreciation for the city.
While you’re there, drop by “Quake City”, a special exhibit on the science, stories, and resilience in the wake of the 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquakes.
The museum lies at the heart of the Christchurch city centre, making it a great stop when riding the historic Christchurch Tramway (another must-try!).
8. International Antarctic Centre
The International Antarctic Centre is another fun and unique experience for Christchurch locals and tourists. It showcases Antarctic exhibits and visitor attractions like simulated snowstorms, encounters with husky dogs and penguins, vehicle rides, and many more. This is a perfect activity for the curious and cultured!
9. The Arts Centre
For art and entertainment, we recommend touring The Arts Centre, another classic city landmark filled with art galleries, museums, exhibitions, and events. It also features a retail space with cinemas, boutique stores, and artisan bars and eateries. The arts centre makes for a good afternoon of art appreciation, shopping, and fun entertainment!
10. Riccarton House & Bush
For a sneak peek into Christchurch’s past, we recommend a day tour at Riccarton House & Bush. Just a few kilometres from Christchurch city centre, this heritage site sits on a 12-hectare reserve, known to be the first area in Christchurch where white settlers lived. The original house was owned by Christchurch pioneers John and Jane Deans and was built in 1856. It has since been extended, sold to the city, renovated, and reopened to the public.
Today, Riccarton House & Bush is composed of two historic buildings, an open parkland and majestic gardens. It is enjoyed by the public as a tourist spot, restaurant, and venue for functions. Surrounding the land is the Avon River and an extensive native bush forest, where you’ll get to see centuries-old Kahikatea trees.
For Family Bonding
11. Christchurch Gondola
A great way of experiencing the city as a family is through the Christchurch Gondola, a cable car system that travels from Heathcote Valley to the top of Mount Cavendish. Along the route, you’ll be sure to get spectacular views of Christchurch’s scenic terrain!
12. Sumner Beach
Sumner Beach is another popular destination for families and friends. Considered the first beach of the Banks Peninsula, it is located in the suburb of Sumner and boasts a 400-metre stretch of pristine sand and clear sea water.
Along the beach, you’ll find tons to do – from swimming and sunbathing to enjoying delicious food from the local ice cream shop, restaurant, and cafe.