The 2011 earthquake hit the city pretty hard in terms of its historical buildings, which was incredibly sad to see that history lost, but it has provided a new energy injection into the city. Amongst all the restoration efforts, you’ll find inspiring art displays popping up and innovative revitalization solutions such as the Restart Program – an outdoor mall constructed with shipping containers. A hip spot to enjoy a coffee in the warm sun!
Places to Visit in Christchurch
- Ferrymead Heritage Park
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
- International Antarctic Centre
- Canterbury Museum
- Victoria Clock Tower
Unique Things to See and Do in Christchurch
- Tour Hagley Park and the Botanical Gardens
- Go punting on the River Avon
- Tour the Red Zone and see the remainder of the Cathedral
- Check out the Container Mall
- Take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola
- Take a dip in the thermal mineral baths at Hanmer Springs
- Hop on a historic tram and tour the city
New Zealand is known for offering some of the best outdoor activities in the world and Christchurch does not disappoint. The city is situated in the flat lands between the coast of the South Island and east of the Canterbury Plains, with the volcanic Port Hills to the south. This positioning offers rivers, ocean, mountains, and all four seasons to enjoy them.
There is a vast range of activities to choose from: skiing, surfing, water rafting, punting, mountain climbing, and mountain biking. New Zealand is also known for its adrenaline sports like paragliding, skydiving, and hot air ballooning. The ultimate outdoor heaven.
Christchurch and the Earthquake Aftermath
Four years after the quake, there are many parts of the city still under restoration, but don’t let that deter you from visiting.
For those who are unaware, Christchurch experienced a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on February 22nd, 2011. The damage was extensive all across Christchurch, killing 185 people, and termed “New Zealand’s Darkest Hour.” The earthquake destroyed Christchurch’s historic cathedral’s spire and tower. Many of the buildings, several which were already damaged from a previous earthquake in 2010, had to be demolished, such as the Civic, Our City, and the Hotel Grand Chancellor. The 2011 quake caused the ground to liquefy in many spots, producing floods of silt and debris.
It was a tragic event, but Christchurch has been bouncing back well. Public transportation routes are back in order, the restoration of many public buildings is complete, and, of course, new construction is well underway.
Getting Around Christchurch
Getting around Christchurch is pretty easy. With options of public bus routes, the metro, the tramway, taxis and of course by cycle or foot, you’ll find this city pretty reliable transportation-wise.
The tramway is the most popular way to travel, particularly for tourists who want to take photographs along the way. Cycling through the city is easy due to its flat terrain, and there are plenty of designated bike paths and trails to choose from. If you are driving around New Zealand, you probably won’t need the car while in Christchurch. There are plenty of shuttles from hotels, and most areas are walkable.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Christchurch
Christchurch is one of those lucky places to have all 4 distinct seasons, where you can enjoy the crisp autumn air, the fluffiest of winter snows, the gorgeous flowers of spring, and, of course, the hot summer beach days.
Remember if you’re from the northern hemisphere that the seasons are opposite. Winter months are from June to August with an average daily temperature of 11C. The Garden City blooms vibrantly during the spring months, from September to November with an average temperature of 16C. Summer months fall between December and February with average high temperatures of 22C. Lastly, autumn runs from March to May with temperatures of around 16C – the perfect climate for those who love to walk.
Ready to plan your visit to Christchurch? Check out these popular guides and trips.