Christchurch is a historic city on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. In 2010 and 2011, earthquakes destroyed many of its landmark buildings. I arrived in Christchurch flying Air New Zealand from Auckland. I planned to spend two nights in the city and then take the famous TranzAlpine train to Greymouth on the west coast, one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world! In Christchurch, I made a hop-on-hop-off tram tour and visited the famous botanical gardens. I stayed at the Commodore Hotel located just a few minutes from the airport.
Here is my list of some of the things to do in Christchurch:
(Please note that tickets for the following activities or visiting the places mentioned below can be purchased online on www.christchurchattractions.nz.)
1. Christchurch Tram City Tour
The Christchurch Tram City Tour gives you a tour of the city in a beautifully restored heritage Tram. There are stops for Punting on the Avon, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens Tour and the Gondola Shuttle bus. If you are in Christchurch for a short trip, this can be a great way of seeing the city without missing anything. The full circuit is 50 minutes, with tickets valid for one day. You can board at any of the 17 Tram stops, and get on and off with your ticket throughout the day. The Trams run every 15-20 minutes. The cost of the tour is NZ$50 per person.
2. Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens of Christchurch are world famous for some of the best examples of native and exotic flora in New Zealand. They are also one of the world’s most historic botanic gardens. There is a guided tour of the gardens with an electric shuttle. The gardens are quite spread out, and you may miss seeing some important parts of it without the tour. Tours begin at 10 am (summer only), 11 am, 12 pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, and 3.30pm from the Canterbury Museum entrance to the Botanic Gardens on Rolleston Avenue. Tours are also available at 10.30am (summer only), 11.30am, 2 pm, and 3 pm from outside the Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre (dependent on seat availability).
3. The Gondola
The gondola or the cable car is one of Christchurch's best attractions! It offers breathtaking views of the Christchurch cityscape, over the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps as well as the dramatic hills of Banks Peninsula.
4. Punting on the Avon River
An Avon River Punting tour set aboard a handcrafted flat-bottomed boat is an excellent group or family activity to do while in Christchurch. A shared tour lasts 30 minutes, and a 45-minute private tour can also be booked.
5. Hammer Springs
Located just 90 minutes from Christchurch, you can enjoy the Hammer Springs attractions. You can choose from a jetboat ride, bungy jumping, river rafting, canoe safaris, or quad bikes.