Adventure South NZ's Guide to Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch City Tram | Graeme Murray
Christchurch City Tram | Graeme Murray

Christchurch is the largest city of New Zealand’s South Island, in the heart of Canterbury's rural plains. A mix of English charm and modern city, its historic nineteenth century buildings now sit elegantly alongside new architectural creations. Whether you’re looking to explore the city's rich history, enjoy a couple of relaxing days mooching, or pack in the action for a family fun day out, Christchurch's must-do activities have got you covered.


Adventure South NZ has over 15 NZ Cycle Trail, Road Cycling and Hiking itineraries that depart and finish in Christchurch, so we've come up with a guide of 'must do's' for you to do before or after your trip.

Port Hills, Christchurch |  <i>Julian Apse</i>

Biking Tracks

There are few better places to explore on two wheels. The Port Hills have many mountain biking tracks, as does McLeans Island and Bottle Lake Forest Reserve. On Banks Peninsula, the historic Little River Rail Trail is a great family ride. The Port Hills Summit Road, Short Bays and Long Bays are popular circuits.

Christchurch Adventure Park

This incredible mountain biking facility has easy trails for beginners, sweeping intermediate trails, and epic world class jump tracks for adrenalin junkies. Race through the valley on the dual zip line tour. Or take in the stunning views from the chairlift or walking track.


Christchurch Gondola  

Take a ride to the top of Mt Cavendish (500m) on the 862m cable car for wonderful views over the city, Lyttelton, Banks Peninsula and the Canterbury Plains. There's a cafe and Time Tunnel ride, which tells the history of the area. You can also walk to Cavendish Bluff Lookout (30 minutes return) or the Pioneer Women’s Memorial (one hour return.

Hagley Park, Christchurch NZ |  <i>Julian Apse</i>

Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens is an accessible and free activity from the city centre. The 30 riverside hectares of arboreal and floral splendour is an iconic Christchurch experience. There are thematic gardens to explore, lawns to laze on, a playground, visitor centre, cafe and gift shop.


Double Decker Bus Tour of the City

Christchurch is considered to be much like an English city, so there’s nothing more fitting than an open-top double decker tour. It’s a great way to see the city sights and learn about the history of Christchurch.

Ride on the Tram

The beautifully restored Trams follow a 17 stop loop, departing every 15 minutes. Taking in a host of city highlights, including Cathedral Square and New Regent Street, the tour takes just under an hour, and you can hop on and off all day.

Christchurch Art Gallery

Damaged in the earthquakes, Christchurch's art gallery has reopened brighter and bolder, showcasing a mix of local and international exhibitions. The free guided tours take place at 11am and 2pm daily, and last about one hour.

New Regent Street and the CBD

Next to old beautiful heritage buildings a modern CBD is taking shape. It is accessible by car, bus, bike and on foot. For cyclists there are many cycleways to encourage inner city cycling in a greener city. Cool, colourful and quirky New Regent Street is a must for your exploration.


Head to the beach

Sumner Beach on the outskirts of the city is easy to access by public transport or car. It’s a great place to swim, surf and go for walk around its interesting arches and caves. Lined with fish and chips restaurants and ice cream there are plenty of options to refuel.

Experience the world class TranzAlpine train journey from the West Coast to Christchurch |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

Ride the Tranz Alpine

The TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth is one of the world's great train journeys. The train runs daily through the magnificent Southern Alps from Christchurch to Greymouth on New Zealand's West Coast and back. Covering 223 kilometres (139 miles) one-way, it takes just under 5 hours. You can experience this world class journey on our West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail.

Venture further to Akoroa

The Akaroa Peninsula is considered the French Town of New Zealand, and is a mecca for wildlife. Its superb walks, bike rides, eateries, and the Akaroa Harbour with sightings of Hector’s dolphins, little blue penguins, seals and seabirds won’t disappoint.


Christchurch is a vibrant destination and there’s no other city like it. Many of our tours start or finish in Christchurch, so make sure you extend your stay with the many adventures and activities on offer.

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