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They call Christchurch as South Island’s Garden City for a reason, and you’ll know it only after you’ve visited the place. Encompassing the best of New Zealand, Christchurch offers plenty of nature and certainly top experiences that anyone would look for. Look around, the city incorporates a myriad of offerings that would compel you to get lost in the best of nature, biodiversity, medieval architecture, and a wide range of exciting activities.

Consider these top places to visit in Christchurch and you can be assured that they won’t leave you disappointed. The heritage architecture, exciting water activities on the Avon River, and plenty of other tourist attractions on the coastal South Island would leave you drooling. Consider the green stretch of Hagley Park, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and historic center’s stone-built buildings to make your trip to Christchurch worthwhile.

Top 10 Places To Visit In Christchurch

Make sure that you visit these top places to visit in Christchurch that truly are spectacular in every way!

  • Hagley Park & The Botanic Gardens – Lovely times in the heart of Christchurch
  • New Brighton Pier – A walk above the waters
  • Alpine Ice Sports & Entertainment Centre – Engrossing session with lots of fun
  • International Antarctic Centre – Into the world of penguins
  • Orana Wildlife Park – Into the wilderness along with the wilds
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve – Perfect times with the wildlife of North Island
  • Quail Island – More of quietude & tranquility
  • Awaroa/Godley Head – How ’bout a lazy stroll in the stray land
  • The Cardboard Cathedral – Modern cathedral, one of its kind
  • Sumner Beach – For a soothing vacation by the sea

1. Hagley Park & The Botanic Gardens – Lovely times in the heart of Christchurch

people boating on a lake

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Hagley Park is set amidst the center of Christchurch and overlooks the massive City Centre and makes the thriving place for Botanic Gardens. Skirted by the trio of Christ’s College, Canterbury Museum, and the Arts Centre, the Botanic garden presents a perfect blend of nature and Neo-gothic architecture. The recently restored iconic Peacock Fountain, tropical plants and spellbinding architecture of Cuningham Glasshouse, and drool-worthy bridge arch certainly makes the eye-catching attraction in the garden area.

It forms the Antigua Boat Shed that people hire paddleboats and kayaks to enjoy the garden at its best. Hagley Park in spring is a riot of colors. With cherry blossom and lovely daffodils all around there is no other picture perfect setting better than Botanic Garden in Christchurch.


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2. New Brighton Pier – A walk above the waters

a gorgeous pier during sunset

The recently opened Brighton Pier deserves every bit of the limelight as one of the top places to visit Christchurch. The stunning viewpoint that stands on 17 support pillars is definitely a lovely place to spend quiet evenings along with family or beloved one. The pier was wrecked by the massive cyclone and is now refurbished and is in perfect condition for public use.


3. Alpine Ice Sports & Entertainment Centre – Engrossing session with lots of fun

people ice skating in a skating center

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Alpine Ice Sports Centre organizes a range of events and sports competitions, therefore, don’t just mistake it as the ice rink only! There are plenty of charity events, ice hockey matches and other forms of ice dance that make for the perfect attraction here. Check the dates and event calendar online before you are headed there. This place might have some pleasant surprise for you.


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4. International Antarctic Centre – Into the world of penguins

penguins amid ice

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Welcome to the exciting Antarctic world in New Zealand. Yes, elated travelers have already labeled Antarctic World as one of the top places to visit in Christchurch and it rightly lives up to its reputation. The best of Antarctic wildlife can be spotted here and you can not find a better replica of the thriving life at South Pole anywhere else in the world.

Located right next to the Christchurch International Airport the International Antarctic Centre is the ultimate destination in Christchurch to savor every bit of fun and authentic experience of the Antarctic without leaving the city premises.

Timings: 9 am to 5:30 pm

Find more detail visit their website


5. Orana Wildlife Park – Into the wilderness along with the wilds

a woman playing with two leopards

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Orana Wildlife Park is the best place to get up close and personal with the remarkable wildlife of New Zealand. The park is home to New Zealand’s only gorillas and Orang-utans and other exotic wildlife of New Zealand and Australia. When you are around, you can brace yourself for a wholesome wildlife adventure experience all in the 80 hectare premise located just 15-minute drive away from the airport.

Be it spotting a giraffe, rhino, kiwi or moving through the Lion Reserve, this place offers every bit of thrill and awesomeness you’d ever need on a holiday. Visit this place with family, there’s nothing like it!

Find more detail visit their website


6. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve – Perfect times with the wildlife of North Island

a fat kangaroo

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Willowbank Wildlife Reserve ushers an unparalleled experience of incredible New Zealand and this one promises to be an exciting activity for a family. Wild geese, wild boars, wallabies, monkeys, horses, and calves – you can spot plenty of wild animals here thriving in their habitat and making for a popular attraction in the heart of the city. This place is all about thick forest cover and a prolific display of wildlife!


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7. Quail Island – More of quietude & tranquility

a small island amid a green lake

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Quail Island is a hiker’s paradise and the perfect place to plan a leisure stroll. If you are looking for an absorbing place in the wild and untamed Christchurch, nothing betters the quietude of Quail Island. Available only by a ferry ride, the island makes the highlight of any New Zealand trip. Exotic birds, skinks, and mushrooms make for the prime attraction of the island. Camping here is one of the most popular things to do on the Quail Island.

Stunning location studded with humbling views and Lyttleton – the port town off the northern harbor, present plenty of attractions to travelers. P.S. Fisherman’s Wharf makes a good dinner option here! If you want a quiet break from the chaotic city life of Christchurch then Quail Island is the hidden paradise where you must plan to be.


8. Awaroa/Godley Head – How ’bout a lazy stroll in the stray land

homes by Awaroa

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Awaroa/Godley Head is a historic region and certainly the finest place to explore in Christchurch. The Godley Head is a vast open area where one can find WWII coastal defense battery that sits atop 120 meter-high cliffs. The head, built in 1939, is one of the top 10 heritage sites located in New Zealand coastal region. While meandering through the open spaces one can find the Tunnel Track, gun emplacements, and plenty of open spaces around.

Popular attractions: Network of rustic trails to explore, gun emplacement, and the sheer charm of the most exciting coastal defense site


9. The Cardboard Cathedral – Modern cathedral, one of its kind

a colourful structure in Christchurch

Plenty of stained glass adorning the front and contemporary structure style make the Cardboard Cathedral one of the most popular places to visit in Christchurch. The prime ingredients – cardboard, glass & other materials give it the shape of an uncanny cathedral which is certainly worth a visit.

Over the years, the cathedral has been used for concerts, and other popular events, and, weddings as well as funerals. The wonderful light reflections thrown by triangular glass windows is a noticeable feature of the cathedral.

Website | Reviews


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10. Sumner Beach – For a soothing vacation by the sea

a gorgeous beach

One of the highly rated tourist attractions in New Zealand, Sumner Beach is such a soothing escape towards the coastal region of Christchurch. The surf beach with the seaside village and low tides make for a wonderful vacation retreat. There is also a clock tower nearby and a lovely looking boulevard which you’d never get tired of walking. Sumner Beach is an exciting summer promenade has plenty of eateries and recreation options.


Further Read: New Zealand In Pictures: Capturing The Breathtaking Beauty Of Kiwiland

If the world’s adventure capital is on your mind then keep this list handy, and you’ll get to savor the best of pristine North Island – a beauty beyond words…

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Frequently Asked Questions about Places to Visit in Christchurch

What are the top attractions to visit in Christchurch?

There are numerous attractions in Christchurch where you can enjoy the best of this destination. Some of the best ones include Hagley Park & The Botanic Gardens, New Brighton Pier, Alpine Ice Sports & Entertainment Centre, International Antarctic Centre, Orana Wildlife Park, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, and Quail Island

Which are the best tourist attractions in New Zealand?

Some of the best attractions in New Zealand are:
1. Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound, South Island
2. Bay of Islands, North Island
3. Rotorua, North Island
4. Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, South Island
5. Queenstown, South Island
6. Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park, North Island

Can I visit Christchurch during the current Covid situation?

Yes, Christchurch is one of the safest places to visit during the current Covid situation. However, you need to follow government protocols that include wearing a mask when in public, sanitizing hands at certain intervals, and maintaining social distance.

What is Christchurch best known for?

Christchurch is one of the places in New Zealand where you will find a blend of heritage and culture with innovation and urban regeneration. It is also known for possessing a few of the beautiful attractions and nature spots in New Zealand. Besides this, the destination is the largest on South Island in New Zealand.

What is there to do around Christchurch?

Here are the following things you can do in Christchurch during your visit:
1. Visit the Botanic Gardens
2. Take a stride along the Avon River
3. Take the beautifulTranzAlpine rail journey
4. Hit the Sumner Beach
5. Take a tram across the best landmarks

What can you do in Christchurch for free?

There are a few things to do in Christchurch for free if you are backpacking your way around New Zealand.
1. Go to the Sumner Beach
2. Hit the Hagley Park
3. Check out the graffiti on Brockworth Street
4. Enjoy a free gig at The Dark Room

What is there to do in downtown Christchurch?

Downton Christchurch is a lively and cheerful place. Hence, you will find plenty of things to do in downtown Christchurch. If you really want to connect with locals and want to see how they live, then you should definitely head downtown. It has the best places to eat and chill. It is always brimming with activities and events. You could also go shopping and buy artisanal products.

What is there to do in Christchurch at night?

There are plenty of things to do in Christchurch at night apart from just partying and getting drunk.
1. Watch meaningful cinema at luxurious venues
2. Experience theatre scenes in Christchurch
3. Go bowling
4. Take a late-night tour at the art gallery
5. Watch Maori cultural performances at Ko Tane

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