Things to do in Christchurch

New Zealand’s largest South Island city is a melting pot of stunning nature and modern city landscapes.

Our most recommended things to do in Christchurch

Christchurch: Vintage Tram, Punt and Gondola Ride Combo

1. Christchurch: Vintage Tram, Punt and Gondola Ride Combo

Experience Christchurch from different perspectives with a combined city tour by vintage tram, punt along the River Avon and cable car ride aboard the Christchurch Gondola. Climb aboard a classic, flat-bottomed boat for a delightful punt along the River Avon. Venture through the city center propelled by a boatman dressed in Edwardian costume. Set off from Worcester Street Bridge. Listen to the live commentary about how the city was rebuilt after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and remains fast-growing. See the beautiful alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch and its suburbs on board the Christchurch Gondola cable car. Explore the history of the region in the unique Time Tunnel experience, and pause for refreshments at the Red Rock Café. Marvel at the Southern Alps and Kaikoura Mountains, and get 360-degree views of the plains, mountains, city, and harbor from the glass-enclosed cabin. Once at the summit, browse the "Shop at the Top" or hike one of the many walking trails, such as the trek to volcanic-formed Crater Rim. Journey by vintage tram and see the “Garden City” at your own pace with a full-day hop-on and hop-off ticket. Explore the regenerated city center to see innovative architecture, such as a shopping complex made out of shipping containers. Listen to a fascinating commentary from your driver as you take a full circuit in just 50 minutes, or jump on and off at leisure at 17 strategic stops. Discover the vast urban space of Hagley Park, explore the boutique stores of New Regent Street and much more!

Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo

2. Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo

Climb aboard the Christchurch Gondola cable car and enjoy spectacular 360-degree views across the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps as you glide across the slopes of Mount Cavendish in the Port Hills. See as far as the city and harbor as you ride up to the summit 445 meters above sea level. Make use of the facilities at the top, such as the Time Tunnel ride, a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the region. Revive your spirits at the Red Rock Café before or after going for a walk or bike ride along the many nature trails. Take a unique sightseeing tour of the inner city aboard an antique tram as the driver provides a live and entertaining commentary. A full circuit takes 50 minutes and includes 17 stops, where you can hop on and off as often as you wish. Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Cathedral Junction, Canterbury Museum, and much more.  

Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch

3. Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Day Tour from Christchurch

Experience dramatic glacier lakes, snow-capped mountains, and beautiful alpine walks on a small-group day trip from Christchurch. After pick-up from your hotel, journey to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, located a 4 hours' drive through spectacular and breathtaking landscapes. Visit the historic town of Geraldine. Then discover the heart of Mackenzie Country, the captivatingly turquoise Lake Tekapo, the iconic Church of Good Shepherd, and the well-recognized statue of Sheepdog. Travel through Lake Pukaki and admire stunning views of Mt. Cook from a distance. Enjoy a short scenic hike in the National Park to view the 23.5kms long Tasman Glacier which is the longest glacier in New Zealand. On your return journey, visit the Alpine Lavender Farm and capture some beautiful moments in the pristine environment.

Christchurch: Gondola Ride

4. Christchurch: Gondola Ride

Take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola to see the beautiful Alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch city and suburbs. The gondola ride is 10-minutes each way at normal speed and each cable car stops to allow you to board and disembark safely.  Marvel at the Southern Alps to the west, and the Kaikoura Mountains to the north. To the south lies the beautiful harbor of Christchurch, and to the east is the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy 360-degree views of the plains, mountains, city, and harbor from the glass-enclosed gondola. At the summit, you can browse the souvenir shop or visit the cafe. Experience authentic Kiwi flavors as you take in the spectacular views. If you are feeling more energetic, explore one of the many walking trails like the hike to the Crater Rim. Travel back in time at the Time Tunnel experience to learn about the development of the region. The automated ride is a definite highlight with children and adults alike!

Arthur's Pass: TranzAlpine Train and Castle Hill Day Tour

5. Arthur's Pass: TranzAlpine Train and Castle Hill Day Tour

Experience the South Island's remarkable natural landscapes by taking a journey on a train from Christchurch to Arthur's Pass, which is considered one of the world's greatest train journeys for the scenery it passes. Enjoy breathtaking views of Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps, ice-fed Waimakariri River, lush beech forests, and stunning landscapes. Explore walking tracks in Arthur's Pass National Park with spectacular mountain views & pristine waterfalls. Capture mirror images at Lake Pearson & wander through the majestic limestone boulders at Castle Hill. A perfect day trip for nature lovers, hikers, and adventure seekers.

Christchurch International Antarctic Center Entry Tickets

6. Christchurch International Antarctic Center Entry Tickets

Embark on a journey through Antarctica without leaving Christchurch. Visit one of New Zealand's best tourist attractions, the International Antarctic Center. Visitors of all ages will enjoy an interactive, fun and exciting experience of Antarctica. Experience snow and ice, an Antarctic storm, take the polar plunge ice water challenge, learn about life in modern modern-day Antarctica and Scott Base, and hang out with Little Blue Penguins. Try the famously exciting Hagglund ride and an awesome simulated 4D cruise Ice Voyage. The entry ticket is the closest way to experience Antarctica, without mounting your own expedition. You can also enjoy a personalized commentary on your journey to Antarctica with an audio guide tour available in English, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Thai, German, French, and Spanish.

Christchurch Gondola and Punt on the Avon River

7. Christchurch Gondola and Punt on the Avon River

See Christchurch from a different perspective with a combined Punt along the Avon River aboard a classic flat-bottomed boat, and a ticket for the Christchurch Gondola cable car.  Travel with a guide dressed in Edwardian costume, who will provide a live commentary as they punt you along the river. Blankets, umbrellas, and hot water bottles are provided on cold days, so don't let the weather put you off. Take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola cable car, and see the beautiful Alpine scenery surrounding Christchurch city center and its suburbs. Explore the history of the region in the unique Discovery ride, and pause for reflection at the Red Rock Café. Marvel at the Southern Alps to the west, and the Kaikoura Mountains to the north. To the south lies the beautiful harbor of Christchurch, and to the east is the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy 360-degree views of the plains, mountains, city, and harbor from the glass-enclosed cabin. Purchase souvenirs in the "Shop at the Top" once you reach the summit, or go to the Red Rock Café for some refreshments. If you are feeling more energetic, take one of the many walking trails, such as the hike to Crater Rim, formed by the volcanic activity that created Port Hills. Travel back in time at the unique Discovery Ride, and learn about the development of the region.

Christchurch Tram City Tour & Punting Combo

8. Christchurch Tram City Tour & Punting Combo

Climb aboard a classic flat-bottomed boat for a delightful punt along the River Avon in Christchurch. A punter dressed in Edwardian costume will guide you down the river, providing a live commentary along the way. Take off from the Antigua Boat Sheds to journey through Hagley Park. Punt alongside the Botanic Gardens, and admire some of the native flora of New Zealand. Blankets and hot water bottles are provided on cold days, so don't let the weather put you off! Climb aboard a vintage tram for a unique tour of Christchurch, and see the “Garden City” at your own pace with a full-day hop-on and hop-off tram ticket. Travel through the regenerated city center to see innovative architecture, see how the city center has been rebuilt after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Listen to a fascinating commentary from your driver as you take a full circuit in just 50 minutes, or jump on and off at leisure at 18 stops. The tram currently starts at Cathedral Junction and travels through Cathedral Square, before passing the River Avon. Jump off at Oxford Terrace and Riverside Market, or Canterbury Museum, just a short stroll from the Botanic Garden and Arts Center. Discover the city’s largest urban space at Hagley Park, or explore the boutique stores of New Regent Street, New Zealand’s “Most Beautiful Street.”

Christchurch: Hop-On Hop-Off Tour by Vintage Tram

9. Christchurch: Hop-On Hop-Off Tour by Vintage Tram

Climb aboard a vintage tram for a unique tour of Christchurch, and see the “Garden City” at your own pace with a full-day hop-on and hop-off tram ticket. Travel through the regenerated city center to see innovative architecture, See how the city center has been rebuilt after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Listen to a fascinating commentary from your driver as you take a full circuit in just 50 minutes, or jump on and off at leisure at 18 stops. The tram currently starts at Cathedral Junction and travels through Cathedral Square, before passing the River Avon. Jump off at the Canterbury Museum, just a short stroll from the Botanic Garden and Arts Center. Discover the city’s largest urban space at Hagley Park, or explore the boutique stores of New Regent Street, New Zealand’s “Most Beautiful Street.”

Christchurch: Orana Wildlife Park Admission

10. Christchurch: Orana Wildlife Park Admission

Experience the ultimate animal adventure at Orana Wildlife Park. Set in 80 hectares, within 15 minutes drive of Christchurch airport, Orana is New Zealand’s only open-range zoo. Discover over 400 animals, representing more than 70 species. Arrive at the park from 10 AM in the morning. Regular animal feed presentations occur daily, commencing at 10:45 AM, and are accompanied by a presentation from a wildlife guide. It is recommended to arrive at the park early and follow the presentation schedule which will lead you around the entire zoo. As you explore the grounds, enjoy a range of amazing wildlife experiences including hand-feeding the giraffes and meeting rhino up close. Stroll through the aviaries to observe kiwi, and other stunning native birds including kakariki, whio, tui, and mischievous kea. See a range of native reptiles and meet friendly domestic animals in the Farmyard area. Also, enjoy the antics of gorillas, tigers, cheetah, Tasmanian devils, monkeys, meerkats, and more. Either ride through the park on the complimentary Safari Shuttle, join a guided walkabout tour, and/or meander around the park at your own leisure. The park contains a children’s adventure playground, 2 large picnic areas, a café, and a wildlife-themed gift shop for you to explore at your own pace.

Frequently asked questions about Christchurch

What top attractions are a must-see in Christchurch?

The must-see attractions in Christchurch are:

What are the best day trips and excursions from Christchurch?

The best day trips and excursions from Christchurch are:

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Other Sightseeing Options in Christchurch

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What people are saying about Christchurch

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 764 reviews

We highly recommend this tour if you come into port at Lyttleton or are in the Christchurch area. Nicole did a great job of communicating what we could expect well in advance of the tour and flexing our pick up time based on the weather forecast. That’s customer service!! She packed a lovely picnic lunch and water bottles, provided walking sticks and guided us at the pace we were comfortable with, stopping as frequently as we wanted to take photos. She is very knowledgeable about the history of the area. Wonderful way to spend time in port!

The Christchurch tram system with hop on hop off options it’s an excellent way to see the downtown area of the city. The drivers were all very knowledgeable and friendly. Enjoyed this tour. We also purchased along with that ticket the Avon by punting. This is a slow boat of a gentleman paddling down the waterway near the botanical gardens. Restful and peaceful. Enjoy the day in Christ church.

The gondolas are so beautiful, just be mindful that these are further out the city than the punting and trams! You can get a 2 dollar bus from the bus interchange and be at the gondolas in 30 minutes so don't let that put you off!

Pre booked on line rather than rip-off excursion price from cruise ship. Beautiful city which has been rebuilt still keeping its heritage after the earthquake. Great way to see the sights with excellent commentary from driver.

A well planned, enjoyable day. Guide was wonderful, kind and informative.