Christchurch travel guide

In case you didn’t know, Christchurch is booming. Throw out any notions of Christchurch as a quaint English-style village because what you’ll find when you visit is exciting new architecture, vibrant street art, re-energised urban centre and thriving restaurants. The past few years have seen some huge changes in the city, with it emerging as one of the most progressive, resilient places in NZ. Christchurch is also the hub for exploring the majestic Southern Alps, Hanmer Springs and other natural wonders. If you’re planning a visit, explore our Christchurch travel guide and find out how to make the most of your time in the South Island. We’ve collected the best tips from our travel experts, and have all sorts of suggestions for things to do, the best time to travel, where to stay, getting around and more.

Where to stay

Wondering where to stay in Christchurch? Since the 2011 earthquake, accommodation options have changed greatly in the city centre. However, expand the surrounding inner-city suburbs offer a plethora of options, and thanks to the compact nature of the city, you’ll still be close enough to all of the action.  From Phillipstown to New Brighton, there’s accommodation in Christchurch to suit any taste or budget. The perfect location really depends on your personal preferences and which sites you’d like to have the easiest access to.

Things to do

As the South Island’s largest city, you can expect to find lots of things to do in Christchurch. Unique shopping malls like The Containers will satisfy your retail urges, while fascinating museums and art spaces in the city’s historical neo-gothic buildings provide insight into Christchurch’s culture. Just beyond the urban area, you’ll find city suburbs like Sumner and Methven, which provide fantastic outdoor activities.

Getting Around

Getting around Christchurch is easy, in part due to its small size, but also thanks to the reliable Christchurch transport system. The Metro network of buses and trams run into and around the city centre. Alternatively, see the sites by foot or hire a bicycle....

Where to eat

A reflection of New Zealand’s cultural mix, the Christchurch food and drink scene is a haven for foodies. Traditional Kiwi dishes sit side by side with British-influenced favourites. The result is a delicious fusion of flavours and cooking methods. Expect some tasty meals featuring the locals’ favourite vegetable: the sweet potato. If you’re keen to sample some of the best food Christchurch has to offer, let your Flight Centre Travel Expert know. A food and drink tour that will delight the senses can be easily booked.


While the city is home to many familiar big-name outlets, there’s much more to Christchurch shopping, which is why some retail therapy could happily take up a lot of your holiday time.  Explore the city’s CBD and you’ll discover local fashion boutiques, historical shopping malls, and traditional family-owned markets. There’s a huge variety of souvenirs just waiting to be found. Plus, window shopping is a great way to discover local fashion and cultural trends.

Best time to travel

New Zealand does have distinctly seasonal weather, so it’s worth bearing this in mind when thinking about the best time to travel to Christchurch. That said, no matter what the weather in Christchurch is doing, there’s always plenty going on to satisfy your wanderlust.  Expect weather that’s warm and dry enough for you to hit the beach or enjoy a hike without being rained on during the summer months. Retire to the city’s many galleries on a rainy autumn afternoon or a brisk winter’s day.


Soak up as much of the city’s relaxed atmosphere as possible by visiting one of the many Christchurch parks. Dotted around the city, these green areas are just a glimpse of the outdoor majesty that New Zealand is famed for.  Travel a little further from the urban area and you’ll discover that this city by the bay is blessed with a bit of everything – mountains to the west, beaches to the east, and plenty of verdant green forests and reserves in between. Spending time exploring the natural beauty of the Canterbury Region is part of a Christchurch holiday that you can’t afford to neglect.