New Zealand

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is home to 381,800 residents, making it New Zealand's third most-populous urban area behind Auckland and Wellington.

Info Christchurch


Christchurch  is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is home to 381,800 residents, making it New Zealand's third most-populous urban area behind Auckland and Wellington.

The city was named by the Canterbury Association, which settled the surrounding province of Canterbury. The name of Christchurch was agreed on at the first meeting of the association on 27 March 1848. It was suggested by John Robert Godley, who had attended Christ Church, Oxford. Some early writers called the town Christ Church, but it was recorded as Christchurch in the minutes of the management committee of the association. Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand.

The river that flows through the centre of the city (its banks now largely forming an urban park) was named Avon at the request of the pioneering Deans brothers after the Scottish River Avon, which rises in the Ayrshire hills near what was their grandfather's farm and flows into the Clyde.

The usual Māori name for Christchurch is Ōtautahi ("the place of Tautahi"). This was originally the name of a specific site by the Avon River near present-day Kilmore Street and the Christchurch Central Fire Station. The site was a seasonal dwelling of Ngāi Tahu chief Te Potiki Tautahi, whose main home was Port Levy on Banks Peninsula. The Ōtautahi name was adopted in the 1930s. Prior to that the Ngāi Tahu generally referred to the Christchurch area as Karaitiana,  a transliteration of the English word Christian.

POPULATION :• Territorial 367,800
• Urban 381,800
FOUNDED :  1848
TIME ZONE :• Time zone NZST (UTC+12)
• Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13)
LANGUAGE : English (official), Maori (official), Sign Language (official)
AREA :• Territorial 1,426 km2 (551 sq mi)
• Urban 607.73 km2 (234.65 sq mi)
ELEVATION :Highest elevation 920 m (3,020 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
COORDINATES : 43°31′48″S 172°37′13″E
SEX RATIO : Male: 49.2%
 Female: 50.8%
POSTAL CODE : 8011, 8013, 8014, 8022, 8023, 8024, 8025, 8041, 8042, 8051, 8052, 8053, 8061, 8062, 8081, 8082, 8083


Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the third most-populous urban area in the country. As well as having the most attractions of any place in the South Island, it's the major international entry point for visiting the rest of the island. It is on the east coast of the South Island, and is the centre of the Canterbury region.

Christchurch is recovering and rebuilding after a large earthquake in February 2011 that severely damaged the city, killed 185 people and displaced many more. Bits of the city may be off limits due to reconstruction work, but most of the city and region are open for business and the city remains the main gateway to the South Island.

Christchurch is a distinctly English city, however it contains various European elements, with strong Gothic Revival architecture. As early settlers of New Zealand,Māori culture is also prevalent in the city. It features many public open spaces and parks, river beds and cafes and restaurants situated in the city centre and surrounding suburbs.

Site Visitor Centre

i-Site Visitor CentreBotanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave (next to Canterbury Museum),  +64 3 379-9629, toll-free: 0800 423 783, e-mail:. Daily 08:30-17:00. Free booking service for accommodation, activities and transport.

For online information, see the official Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism site.



Archaeological evidence found in a cave at Redcliffs in 1876 has indicated that the Christchurch area was first settled by moa-hunting tribes about 1250 CE. These first inhabitants were thought to have been followed by the Waitaha tribe, who are said to have migrated from the East coast of the North Island in the 16th century. Following tribal warfare, the Waitaha (made of three peoples) were dispossessed by the Ngati Mamoe tribe. They were in turn subjugated by the Ngāi Tahu tribe, who remained in control until the arrival of European settlers. Following the purchase of land at Putaringamotu (modern Riccarton) by the Weller brothers, whalers of Otago and Sydney, a party of European settlers led by Herriott and McGillivray established themselves in what is now Christchurch, early in 1840. Their abandoned holdings were taken over by the Deans brothers in 1843 who stayed. The First Four Ships were chartered by the Canterbury Association and brought the first 792 of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton Harbour. These sailing vessels were the Randolph, Charlotte Jane, Sir George Seymour, and Cressy. TheCharlotte Jane was the first to arrive on 16 December 1850. The Canterbury Pilgrims had aspirations of building a city around a cathedral and college, on the model of Christ Church in Oxford.

The name "Christ Church" was decided prior to the ships' arrival, at the Association's first meeting, on 27 March 1848. The exact basis for the name is not known. It has been suggested that it is named for Christchurch, in Dorset, England; for Canterbury Cathedral; or in honour of Christ Church, Oxford. The last explanation is the one generally accepted.

Captain Joseph Thomas, the Canterbury Association's Chief Surveyor, surveyed the surrounding area. By December 1849 he had commissioned the construction of a road from Port Cooper, later Lyttelton, to Christchurch via Sumner. However this proved more difficult than expected and road construction was stopped while a steep foot and pack horse track was constructed over the hill between the port and the Heathcote valley, where access to the site of the proposed settlement could be gained. This track became known as the Bridle Path, because the path was so steep that pack horses needed to be led by the bridle. Goods that were too heavy or bulky to be transported by pack horse over the Bridle Path were shipped by small sailing vessels some eight miles (13 km) by water around the coast and up the estuary to Ferrymead. New Zealand's first public railway line, the Ferrymead railway, opened from Ferrymead to Christchurch in 1863. Due to the difficulties in travelling over the Port Hills and the dangers associated with shipping navigating the Sumner bar, a railway tunnel was bored through the Port Hills to Lyttelton, opening in 1867.

Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, the first in New Zealand. Many of the city's Gothic Revival buildings by architect Benjamin Mountfort date from this period. Christchurch was the seat of provincial administration for the Province of Canterbury, which was abolished in 1876. In 1947, New Zealand's worst fire disaster occurred at Ballantyne's Department Store in the inner city, with 41 people killed in a blaze which razed the rambling collection of buildings.  The Lyttelton road tunnel between Lyttelton and Christchurch was opened in 1964. Christchurch hosted the 1974 British Commonwealth Games.

2010–2012 earthquakes

On Saturday 4 September 2010, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Christchurch and the central Canterbury region at 4:35 am. Located near Darfield, west of the city at a depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), it caused widespread damage to the city and minor injuries, but no direct fatalities.

Nearly six months later on Tuesday 22 February 2011, a second earthquake measuring magnitude 6.3 struck the city at 12:51 pm. It was located closer to the city, near Lyttelton at a depth of 5 km (3 mi). Although lower on the moment magnitude scale than the previous earthquake, the intensity and violence of the ground shaking was measured to be IX (Violent), among the strongest ever recorded globally in an urban area and in total 185 people were killed. People from more than 20 countries were among the victims. The city's iconic ChristChurch Cathedral was severely damaged and lost its spire.The collapse of the CTV Building resulted in the majority of fatalities. Widespread damage across Christchurch resulted in loss of homes, major buildings and infrastructure. Significant liquefaction affected the eastern suburbs, and the total cost to insurers of rebuilding has been estimated at NZ$20–30 billion.

On 13 June 2011 Christchurch was hit by two more large aftershocks. A magnitude 5.6 quake at a depth of 9 km (6 mi) hit at 1:00 pm in the general location of Sumner, Christchurch. This was followed by another quake at magnitude 6.3 with a depth of 6 km (4 mi) at 2:20 pm again in the general location of Sumner, Christchurch. There were no fatalities though it resulted in further liquefaction and building damage.

There were further earthquakes on 23 December 2011; the first, of magnitude 5.8 according to the US Geological Survey, 26 km (16 mi) north-east of the city at a depth of 4.7 km (2.9 mi), at 13:58, followed by several aftershocks and another earthquake of magnitude 6.0 and similar location 80 minutes later, with more aftershocks expected. St John Ambulance reported after the two quakes that there were minor injuries at homes and businesses but no serious injuries and few indications of building collapses at the time.Christchurch Airport was briefly closed. There were power and water outages at New Brighton and severe damage to the Parklands region, including roads and footpaths.

Christchurch was again rattled awake on 2 January 2012; the first; a magnitude 5.1 struck at 01:27 followed five minutes later by a magnitude 4.2 aftershock; a second larger earthquake struck at 05:45 with a magnitude of 5.5. This caused power outages to the eastern suburbs of Parklands, New Brighton, Shirley, Dallington, Burwood, Spencerville and Richmond; this affected around 10,000 homes.

4,558 earthquakes were recorded in the Canterbury region above a magnitude 3.0, from 4 September 2010 to 3 September 2014.

Over 1000 buildings in the CBD, were demolished following the earthquakes.

The city has been experiencing rapid growth following the earthquakes, with the central city rebuild, which is outlined in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, starting to ramp up, and massive growth in the residential sector, with around 50,000 new houses expected to be constructed in the Greater Christchurch area by 2028, as outlined in the Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP).

Gateway to the Antarctic

Christchurch has a history of involvement in Antarctic exploration–bothRobert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton used the port of Lyttelton as a departure point for expeditions, and in the central city there is a statue of Scott sculpted by his widow, Kathleen Scott. Within the city, the Canterbury Museum preserves and exhibits many historic artefacts and stories of Antarctic exploration. Christchurch International Airport serves as the major base for the New Zealand, Italian and United States Antarctic programs.

The International Antarctic Centre provides both base facilities and a museum and visitor centre focused upon current Antarctic activities. The United States Navy and latterly the United States Air National Guard, augmented by the New Zealand and Australian air forces, use Christchurch Airport as take-off for the main supply route to McMurdo and Scott Bases in Antarctica. The Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) in Christchurch, had more than 140,000 pieces of extreme cold weather (ECW) gear for issue to nearly 2,000 U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) participants in the 2007–08 season.


Christchurch has a temperate climate with moderate rainfall. It has mean daily maximum air temperatures of 22.5 °C (73 °F) in January and 11.3 °C (52 °F) in July. Under the Köppen climate classification, Christchurch has an oceanic climate (Cfb). Summer in the city is mostly warm but is often moderated by a sea breeze from the Northeast. A record temperature of 41.6 °C (107 °F) was reached in February 1973. A notable feature of the weather is the nor'wester, a hot föhn wind that occasionally reaches storm force, causing widespread minor damage to property.  Christchurch experiences the urban heat island phenomenon, similar to cities such as Tokyo, London and New York City, making temperatures feel warmer than they actually are within the inner city regions.

In winter it is common for the temperature to fall below 0 °C (32 °F) at night. There are on average 80 days of ground frost per year. Snowfalls occur on average three times per year, although in some years no snowfall is recorded.  The coldest temperature recorded was −7.1 °C (19 °F) on 18 July 1945, the third lowest recorded temperature of New Zealand's major cities.

On cold winter nights, the surrounding hills, clear skies, and frosty calm conditions often combine to form a stable inversion layer above the city that traps vehicle exhausts and smoke from domestic fires to cause smog. While not as bad as smog in Los Angeles or Mexico City, Christchurch smog has often exceeded World Health Organisation recommendations for air pollution.  To limit air pollution, the regional council banned the use of open fires in the city in 2006.  In 2008 council prohibited the use of woodburners more than 15 years old, while making funding available to upgrade domestic home heating systems.

Climate data for Christchurch 

Record high °C (°F)35.9
Average high °C (°F)22.4
Daily mean °C (°F)17.1
Average low °C (°F)11.8
Record low °C (°F)3.0
Source #1: CliFlo
Source #2: Time and Date (potential monthly daylight hours)


Christchurch lies in Canterbury, near the centre of the east coast of the South Island, east of theCanterbury Plains. It is located near the southern end of Pegasus Bay, and is bounded to the east by the Pacific Ocean coast and the estuaryof the Avon and Heathcote Rivers. To the south and south-east the urban portion of the city is limited by the volcanic slopes of the Port Hills separating it from Banks Peninsula. In 2006, Banks Peninsula was incorporated into the city, in effect tripling the city's land area  while adding only about 8,000 people to the city's population. To the north the city is bounded by the braided Waimakariri River.

Christchurch is one of only eight pairs of cities in the world that have near-exact antipodal cities. Half of these antipodal pairs are in New Zealand and Spain/Morocco–with A Coruña, Spain as Christchurch's antipode.

Christchurch is one of a group of only four cities in the world to have been carefully planned following the same layout of a central city square, four complementing city squares surrounding it and a parklands area that embrace the city centre. The first city built with this pattern was Philadelphia. Later came Savannah and Adelaide, before Christchurch. As such, Christchurch holds an important legacy and a strong platform for future development.

Christchurch has one of the highest-quality water supplies in the world, with its water rated among the purest and cleanest in the world.  Untreated, naturally filtered water is sourced, via more than 50 pumping stations surrounding the city, from aquifers emanating from the foothills of the Southern Alps.


The agricultural industry has always been the economic core of Christchurch. The city has long had industry based on the surrounding farming country – part of the original "package" New Zealand was sold to immigrants as. PGG Wrightson, New Zealand's leading agribusiness, is based in Christchurch. Its local roots go back to Pyne Gould Guinness, an old stock and station agency serving the South Island. That firm helped take deer farming techniques abroad. PGG Wrightson's overseas diversification includes dairy farming in Uruguay. Other agribusinesses in Christchurch have included malting, seed development and dressing, wool and meat processing, and small biotechnology operations using by-products from meat works. Dairying has grown strongly in the surrounding areas with high world prices for milk products and the use of irrigation to lift grass growth on dry land. With its higher labour use this has helped stop declines in rural population. Many cropping and sheep farms have been converted to dairying. Conversions have been by agribusiness companies as well as by farmers, many of whom have moved south from North Island dairying strongholds such as Taranaki and the Waikato.

Cropping has always been important in the surrounding countryside. Wheat and barley and various strains of clover and other grasses for seed exporting have been the main crops. These have all created processing businesses in Christchurch. In recent years, regional agriculture has diversified, with a thriving wine industry springing up at Waipara, and beginnings of new horticulture industries such as olive production and processing. Deer farming has led to new processing using antlers for Asian medicine and aphrodisiacs. The high quality local wine in particular has increased the appeal of Canterbury and Christchurch to tourists.

Christchurch is the second largest manufacturing centre in New Zealand behind Auckland, the sector being the second largest contributor to the local economy, with firms such as Anderson's making steel work for bridges, tunnels, and hydro-electric dams in the early days of infrastructure work. Now manufacturing is mainly of light products and the key market is Australia, with firms such as those pioneered by the Stewart family among the larger employers. Before clothing manufacture largely moved to Asia, Christchurch was the centre of the New Zealand clothing industry, with firms such as LWR Industries. The firms that remain mostly design and market, and manufacture in Asia. The city also had five footwear manufacturers, but these have been replaced by imports.

In the last few decades, technology-based industries have sprung up in Christchurch.  Angus Tait founded Tait Electronics, a mobile-radio manufacturer, and other firms spun off from this, such as Dennis Chapman's Swichtec. In software, Gil Simpson founded a company that made LINC and Jade programming languages and a management buyout spawned local firm Wynyard Group.

There have also been spin-offs from the electrical department of the University of Canterbury engineering school. These included Pulse Data, which became Human Ware (making reading devices and computers for blind people and those with limited vision) and CES Communications (encryption). The Pulse Data founders had moved from the Canterbury University engineering school to work for Wormald Inc. when they set up Pulse Data through a Management buyout of their division.

In recent times, the University of Canterbury engineering school and computer science department play an important role in supplying staff and research for the technology industries, and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology provides a flow of trained technicians and engineers. Locally and nationally, the IT sector is known not for its size (the third largest in New Zealand) but for producing innovative and entrepreneurial solutions, products and concepts.

Nearby Lincoln University has played an important role in Christchurch agribusiness.

Tourism is also a significant factor of the local economy. The close proximity of the ski fields and other attractions of the Southern Alps, and hotels, a casino, and an airport that meet international standards make Christchurch a stopover destination for many tourists. The city is popular with Japanese tourists,with signage around Cathedral Square in Japanese.


Inner suburbs

(clockwise, starting north of the city centre)

  • Mairehau
  • Shirley
  • Dallington
  • Richmond
  • Avonside
  • Linwood
  • Phillipstown
  • Woolston
  • Opawa
  • Waltham
  • St Martins
  • Beckenham
  • Sydenham
  • Somerfield
  • Spreydon
  • Addington
  • Riccarton
  • Ilam
  • Upper Riccarton
  • Burnside
  • Fendalton
  • Bryndwr
  • Strowan
  • Merivale
  • Papanui
  • St Albans
  • Edgeware

Outer suburbs

(clockwise, starting north of the city centre)

  • Marshland
  • Bottle Lake
  • Burwood
  • Parklands
  • Prestons
  • Highfield
  • Waimairi Beach
  • Queenspark
  • Avondale
  • North New Brighton
  • New Brighton
  • Bexley (now largely defunct)
  • Aranui
  • Wainoni
  • South Brighton
  • Southshore
  • Bromley
  • Mt Pleasant
  • Redcliffs
  • Moncks Bay
  • Clifton
  • Richmond Hill
  • Sumner
  • Scarborough Hill
  • Ferrymead
  • Heathcote Valley
  • Hillsborough
  • Murray Aynsley
  • Huntsbury
  • Bowenvale
  • Cashmere
  • Westmorland
  • Hoon Hay
  • Hillmorton
  • Aidanfield
  • Halswell
  • Kennedys Bush
  • Oaklands
  • Westlake
  • Longhurst
  • Knight Stream Park
  • Wigram
  • Middleton
  • Sockburn
  • Hornby
  • Hei Hei
  • Broomfield
  • Islington
  • Yaldhurst
  • Russley
  • Hyde Park
  • Avonhead
  • Harewood
  • Bishopdale
  • Northcote
  • Casebrook
  • Redwood
  • Regents Park
  • Styx Mill
  • Northwood
  • Groynes Park
  • Belfast
  • Spencerville
  • Brooklands

Satellite towns

  • Lyttelton
  • Governors Bay
  • Diamond Harbour
  • Tai Tapu
  • Little River
  • Lincoln
  • Prebbleton
  • Rolleston
  • Templeton
  • West Melton
  • Rangiora
  • Woodend
  • Waikuku
  • Pegasus Town
  • Kaiapoi
  • Kainga
  • Pines Beach
  • Akaroa
  • Motukarara

Prices in Christchurch



Milk1 liter$2.22
Tomatoes1 kg$3.95
Cheese0.5 kg$6.80
Apples1 kg$2.70
Oranges1 kg$2.55
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$4.45
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$11.00
Coca-Cola2 liters$1.85
Bread1 piece$1.50
Water1.5 l$1.65



Dinner (Low-range)for 2$35.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$58.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2$77.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$7.20
Water0.33 l$2.10
Cappuccino1 cup$3.40
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$6.40
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$5.60
Coca-Cola0.33 l$2.30
Coctail drink1 drink$11.00



Cinema2 tickets$20.00
Gym1 month$46.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$
Theatar2 tickets$66.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$0.44
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$15.50



Antibiotics1 pack$6.00
Tampons32 pieces$8.00
Deodorant50 ml.$4.25
Shampoo400 ml.$4.30
Toilet paper4 rolls$1.85
Toothpaste1 tube$2.75



Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1$74.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1$38.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$104.00
Leather shoes1$95.00



Gasoline1 liter$1.40
Taxi1 km$2.15
Local Transport1 ticket$2.50

Tourist (Backpacker)  

63 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

247 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Christchurch International Airport is located 12 km northwest of the city centre. It has regular international services from eastern Australia, Fiji,Singapore, Bangkok and Dubai, and seasonal services from Perth,Rarotonga and Taipei. There are frequent flights each day from most New Zealand airports, with direct flights to and from Auckland, Dunedin,Invercargill, Nelson, Queenstown, Rotorua, Wellington and many more places, provided by Air New Zealand and Jetstar Airways. There is a single terminal building that serves international and domestic flights.

Flights to and from McMurdo Station in Antarctica use the airport. It is one of the few international airports in the world where military and civilian aircraft regularly share the same runways.

There are two regular public bus services from the airport to the city centre. The number 29 bus travels via Fendalton, while the Purple Line bus travels via the University of Canterbury and Riccarton. The 30 min trip costs $8 (or $2.50 with a Metrocard) and between the two routes buses operate every 15-30 minutes during the day, 7 days a week. A door-to-door shuttle service to all parts of Christchurch is available; the price to the city centre is $24 for the first person and $5 for each additional person travelling to the same destination. Taxi stands (about $45-$65 to the city centre) and rental car parks are close to the terminal building.

If you have a few hours to spare and no heavy luggage, you can walk to the airport. There is a footpath alongside Fendalton Road/Memorial Avenue all the way to the airport and the 8 km walk through residential neighbourhoods is quite pleasant.

Transportation - Get In

By car

State Highway 1 is the main highway into Christchurch from the north and south, and skirts around the city to the west, close to the airport. The stretch north from Picton to Christchurch is particularly scenic, including stunning windswept cliffs and seal colonies. State Highway 73 goes to the west, over Arthur's Pass and on to the west coast. From SH73 you can also access Mount Hutt and other regional ski fields.

Typical distances and non-stop travel times to Christchurch:

  • Picton – 340 km, 4hr 30 min (allow 5 hr if coming from a ferry sailing)
  • Blenheim – 310 km, 4hr
  • Nelson – 420 km, 5hr 30min
  • Greymouth – 240 km, 3hr 15min
  • Timaru – 170 km, 2hr 15min
  • Dunedin – 360 km, 4hr 30 min
  • Queenstown – 480 km, 6hr
  • Invercargill – 570 km, 7hr

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

National operators InterCity and Newmans Coach Lines provide multiple daily connections to destinations throughout the South Island. There are daily bus services to and from Picton to the north, Dunedin, Queenstown and Mt Cook to the south, and the West Coast (Greymouth,Hokitika). The temporary InterCity bus stop is at 182 Armagh St (between Manchester St and New Regent St). From 20 November 2015 the bus stop will be at Platform L at the Bus Exchange on Lichfield Street. Newmans Coach Lines buses (to Tekapo/Queenstown) depart from outside Canterbury Museum in Rolleston Ave, nearest the Worcester Boulevard intersection).

There are a number of smaller shuttle operators who operate from Christchurch., a budget no frills bus operator. Atomic Shuttles, a local operator with services from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass. West Coast Shuttle, with services to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass (pick up at Christchurch airport on demand).

Transportation - Get In

By train

The Coastal Pacific runs from October through April between Christchurch and Picton, where it connects with the Cook Strait ferries from Wellington in the North Island. The train departs Christchurch at 07:00 and arrives in Picton at 12:13, connecting with the 14:00 ferry to Wellington. The 09:00 ferry from Wellington connects with the train departing Picton at 13:00 and arriving in Christchurch at 18:21.

The TranzAlpine can take you coast-to-coast between Christchurch and Greymouth, a town on the West Coast. This scenic train journey can be done as a day trip. The train departs from Christchurch daily at 08:15, arriving at Greymouth at 12:45, then leaves Greymouth at 13:45, getting back to Christchurch at 18:05. During the trip you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains, followed by spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. The train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to Greymouth.

The Christchurch railway station is on Troup Drive in Addington, adjacent to the large Tower Junction shopping centre, and has limited facilities. Canterbury Shuttles provides a free transfer from all central city accommodation to the station. Pick-ups for the Coastal Pacific are 06:00-06:30. Pickups for the TranzAlpine are 07:00-7:45.

Transportation - Get Around

Christchurch is mostly flat with a grid-pattern layout, so navigation by road is generally simple. The central city is contained by the "four avenues" - Bealey Ave in the north, Fitzgerald Ave in the east, Deans Ave in the west, and Moorhouse Avenue in the south. Watch out for one-way streets and bus-and-taxi-only intersections in the central city. Currently (May 2014), there are a lot of roadworks around the city as roads and underground services are repaired following the earthquakes, so allow extra time when travelling.

Many people get around on bicycles, and special-purpose bicycle lanes have been recently added to many streets to help promote cycling.

The city bus service is called Metro. Buses interconnect through the Bus Interchange on Lichfield St, just east of Colombo St. A standard cash bus fare within the city is $3.50 or with a Metrocard smart card it is $2.50 ($5 maximum charge per day, $10 minimum initial purchase). Services cover the whole city and areas of interest for a visitor that lie outside the central city, such as Sumner and New Brighton beaches, Lyttelton, the Gondola, etc.

The core bus network has four cross-city routes and a circular route through the inner suburbs. Buses on these routes run every 15 minutes during the day, seven days a week. The four cross-city routes converge at Central Station.

  • Blue Line (B) - runs north-south between Belfast and Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH). Every other service continues north of Belfast to Kaiapoi and Rangiora, and every other service continues south of PMH to Cashmere. Connects with Orbiter at Northlands (north) and PMH (south).
  • Purple Line (P) - runs northwest-southeast between the Airport or Sheffield Crescent (alternating services) and Sumner. Connects with Orbiter at University of Canterbury and Westfield Riccarton.
  • Yellow Line (Y) - runs west-east between Hornby and New Brighton. Every other service continues west of Hornby to Rolleston. Connects with the Orbiter at Westfield Riccarton (west) and Eastgate Mall (east).
  • Orange Line (O) - runs south-west-northeast between Halswell and Queenspark. Connects with Orbiter at The Palms Mall.
  • The Orbiter (Or, green) - runs a circular route through the inner suburbs, starting and ending at Eastgate.

In some areas buses may be infrequent, particularly at the weekend, when there may only be one or two buses per hour.

Parking in the city uses a pay and display system and costs $2.60/hour. You can pay with coins, credit card (Visa, MasterCard or AmEx) or with a mobile phone text message (the latter two attract a 50c surcharge) then display the ticket with the expiry time visible on the kerbside dash. Rental cars are available. Most depots are on the airport side of town, with just a few near the CBD.






  • Ballantynescnr Colombo and Cashel Sts (adjacent to Re:START), +64 3 379 7400. Mo-Fr 09:00-17:30, Sa 09:00-17:00, Su 10:00-17:00. This major upmarket department store has reopened after the quake.
  • Re:START. A mall that replaces part of City Mall, which was badly damaged by the earthquake. The shops, boutiques cafes and bars are made out of nicely glossed-up shipping containers. Many local and internationally-renowned brands sell here.
  • New Regent Street. A beautiful street of terraced Spanish Mission style speciality shops that opened in 1932 and have reopened since the quake. The tram runs along it.
  • Locals tend to shop at the many suburban malls scattered around the city.
    • Westfield Riccarton129 Riccarton Rd, Riccarton (Take Purple or Yellow bus from Central Station; also on Orbiter bus route),  +64 3 983-4500. 09:00–18:00, except Th–Fr 09:00–21:00 and Su 10:00–18:00. The South Island's oldest (1965) and largest (55,000 m2) mall. 200 stores, including Briscoes, Farmers, Hoyts cinemas, Kmart and Pak'nSave.
    • Northlands Shopping Centre55 Main North Rd, Papanui,  +64 3 352-6535. 09:00–18:00, except Th–Fr 09:00–21:00 and Su 10:00–18:00. 135 stores over 42,000 m2, including Countdown, Farmers, Hoyts cinemas, Pak'nSave and The Warehouse.
    • The Palmscnr Marshland & New Brighton Rds, Shirley,  +64 3 385-3067. 09:00–18:00, except Th–Fr 09:00–21:00 and Su 10:00–18:00. 110 stores over 34,000 m2, including Countdown, Farmers, Kmart and Reading Cinemas.
  • The Warehouse. Common throughout New Zealand, and with several stores in Christchurch, these big red stores contain a variety of bottom-end products including clothing, tools, camping equipment, toys, music, etc. Their motto is "where everyone gets a bargain" and most things are made in China. While you might not find the top quality brands here, prices are cheap.
  • Riccarton Rotary MarketRiccarton Racecourse, 146 Racecourse Road, Sockburn. Su 09:00–14:00 (wet or fine). Selling all sorts of things from plants, fruit and vegetables to kiwi souvenirs and cheap Asian wares. Has performances, bouncy castles and food.
  • Christchurch Farmers Market. Meet the growers, farmers, brewers and other artisan producers. A lively affair every Sa 09:00–12:00 on the grounds of Riccarton House.
  • Christchurch Artisan Market. Takes place at Riccarton House on Su 11:00–15:00. In addition to ready to eat foods you will find arts and crafts made locally.



  • Supermarkets. The yellow coloured Pak'n'Save is cheapest overall. The black/green coloured Countdown and beige coloured New World are more expensive, but have a wider range and they can have some seriously cheap specials.
  • Fish'n'chips are the cheapest meal out. Halswell Fish and Chips offer the best fish and chips in town! Look for their contact details, in the phone books.
  • Fruit and vegetable shops offer locally grown high quality fresh produce for prices often much cheaper than supermarkets. The Funky Pumpkin is one example.
  • The Asian district is mainly in the Riccarton/Upper Riccarton area. Church Corner is often considered the unofficial 'Chinatown'. It has Chinese supermarkets, all kinds of Asian restaurants and more. There are many Korean restaurants there, and in the shopping precinct near Westfield Riccarton. KOSCO, a Korean supermarket, has several branches in Christchurch, including one in Riccarton.
  • Perry's Cafe, 145 Madras St (opposite Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology). M-F 07:00-16:30. Surprisingly good cafeteria-style food with touches of cafe class, gets crowded around lunchtime. $5-7.
  • Welcome, 2 Wharenui Rd, Riccarton (just off Riccarton Rd). Delicious Chinese vegetarian meals, including a four course meal deal for under $20. Don't miss the hotplate and clay pot special dishes too!


  • Dux Dine28 Riccarton Rd (formerly one half of the Dux de Lux at 41 Hereford St),  +64 3 348 1436. Pescatarian restaurant with lovely garden seating, the pizzas are good value to share, and the salads are fantastic. Also serves their craft beers including alcoholic ginger beer. $15–30.
  • Holy Smoke650 Ferry Rd, Woolston (cnr Catherine St),  +64 3 943-2222. Closed Su M nights. Excellent quality restaurant specialising in food that has been manuka smoked in house. The smoked salmon alone is well worth the trip.
  • Strawberry Fare19 Bealey Ave, Merivale (cnr Carlton Mill Rd), +64 3 365-4897. In the heart of Christchurch, Strawberry Fare carries an extensive menu of modern interpreted New Zealand dishes as well as many dessert dishes to die for. Reservations are required.
  • Under the Red Verandah502 Worcester St,  +64 3 381-1109. offers a range of food incorporating fair trade coffee, free range eggs and gluten free baked goods
  • Velvet Burger111 Riccarton Rd,  +64 03 343 5924. 11:30 AM 'til Late, Mon-Sun. Gourmet burger joint which also offers local beers.


  • @Tony's, 2 Waterman Place, Ferrymead Central+64 3 348-5644. M-F 12:00–14:30, M-W 17:30–22:00, Th-Sa 17:30–01:00, Su 17:30–21:00. Good teppanyaki with special all-you-can-eat deals Tu-Th. Mains $24-32.
  • Pascatore and 50 Bistro at The George hotel, 50 Park Terrace, +64 3 379-4560. Great views of Hagley Park from Pescatore.
  • King of Snake145 Victoria Street+64 03 365 7363. Offers Thai / Asian fusion food

Sights & Landmarks

  • Air Force Museum45 Harvard Ave, Wigram,  +64 3 343-9542. Daily 10:00-17:00. Opened in 1987 before the closure of the Christchurch RNZAF base, this museum has full-size replicas of fighting planes and dramatizes the history of New Zealand's Air Force from World War I to Vietnam and beyond. Bus from Central Station platform 'C', 5 Hornby, 81 Lincoln or 88 Rolleston. Free.
  • Arts CentreWorcester Blvd. Gothic Revival stonework of former University campus. This area was damaged during the 22 Feb 2011 earthquake. While reconstruction work is taking place these buildings are closed to the general public. However, the beauty and historical significance of these building can still be appreciated by viewing them from surrounding streets such as Worcester Blvd and Hereford St and the excellent Canterbury Cheesemongers still operates from a modern building within its precincts.
  • Botanic GardensRolleston Ave, car park entrance Armagh St+64 3 941 7590. Gates open 07:00 until one hour before sunset, conservatories 10:15-16:00. Information centre open 10:15-16:00 daily summer, 11:00-15:00 winter. 30 hectares of exotic and indigenous plants and trees wrapped in a loop of the picturesque Avon River and linking to the 160-hectare Hagley Park. These put the "Garden" in the "Garden City", and the combined total with Hagley Park makes them the second largest inner city park in the world (after New York's Central Park). A new visitor centre and cafe opened in 2014. Free.
  • Canterbury MuseumRolleston Ave at end of Worcester Blvd (adjoining Botanic Gardens),  +64 3 366-5000. 09:00-17:30 daily summer, 09:00-17:00 winter. Includes colonial, Maori and natural history sections, Antarctic exploration display, and visiting exhibitions. Admission free to main exhibits (but donation appreciated), $2 for Discovery children's section.
  • Christchurch Art GalleryWorcester Blvd and Montreal St (one block east of Botanic Gardens),  +64 3 941-7300. Th-Tu 10:00-17:00, W 10:00-21:00.Spectacular new $47 million facility opened in 2003, the largest in the South Island, with over 5000 items and visiting exhibitions. The gallery reopened in Dec 2015, after 5 years of being a Civil Defence Centre and then repairs. You can store your suitcase at the reception, so it is a nice place to go in the morning if you are leaving in the afternoon. Usually free.
  • Earthquake tourism. Tours of affected sites are available. Visitors can also make their own way to sites of particular significance such as Christchurch Cathedral (viewed from Cathedral Square); the Catholic Basilica (South Barbadoes St, just north of Moorhouse Ave) and the Cardboard Cathedral (Madras/Hereford). Memorial sites include the 185 white chair memorial (Madras/Cashel) and the site of the CTV building (Madras/Cashel). A group campaigning to save Christchurch Cathedral from demolition have a small exhibition in the Cathderal Junction shopping mall which shows some of the historic buildings which have been demolished.
  • Ferrymead Heritage ParkFerrymead Park Dr (off Bridal Path Road; take Purple bus east to Ferrymead, then 20min walk or change to #535 bus.),  +64 3 384 1970. 10:00-16:30 daily. A recreated Edwardian township and museum with horse and carriage (daily), tram (weekends and school/public holidays) and train (first and third Sunday) rides. Due to the voluntary nature of the historical societies managing Ferrymead, not all attractions may be running at all times. Special events are often held and the park has been used to film the TV One reality show 'Colonial House'. Admission price is based on whether trams/trains are operating or not, and include unlimited rides if available. Train & tram days, adult $30, student $25, child $15; tram, no train, days, adult $20, student $15, child $10.
  • International Antarctic Centre38 Orchard Road, Christchurch Airport(Take Purple or #29 bus west from Central Station),  +64 3 357-0519, toll-free:0508 736 4846. 1 Oct–30 Apr daily 09:00-19:00; 1 May–30 Sep daily 09:00-17:30.A world-class Antarctic experience with simulated polar weather, Hagglund All-Terrain Vehicle ride, penguins, extensive exhibits about Antarctic science missions, café and gift shop. $55, $36 child. Unlimited Hagglund all day rides $20, Penguin Backstage Pass $20, $15 child.
  • Orana Wildlife ParkMcLeans Island Rd (10 min drive W of airport),  +64 3 359-7109. Daily 10:00-17:00, last entrance 16:30. New Zealand's largest wildlife sanctuary and conservation project featuring endangered animals from around the world. The park's design minimises fences and cages in favour of natural boundaries and habitats. Lion Encounter (limited 20 tickets per day, participants must be above 1.4 metres in height). Adult $34.50, child $9.50.
  • Quake City99 Cashel St, Re:Start Mall. Daily 10:00-17:00. Coordinated by Canterbury Museum, it has exhibits about earthquakes in Christchurch, particularly the quakes of 2010-11. Adult $20.
  • Riccarton Bush. The last remaining forest remnant on the Canterbury plains is in Christchurch city. If your time is limited in NZ, this is a great way to experience an example of the country's native forests. The circular track passes under tall kahikatea trees, and there is a diversity of small trees, shrubs, climbers and ferns. Christchurch's oldest house, Dean's Cottage (built 1843) is adjacent. Five minutes drive from central city and easily accessible by bus.
  • St Michael and All Angels Church86-90 Oxford Terrace. Services Sun 8Am, 10AM, 7PM, weekday 9AM, and for viewing at other times. This wooden anglican church dating from 1872 suffered only minor quake damage (it was closed for three months). It has an unusual separate bell tower.
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve60 Hussey Rd (off Gardiners Rd), +64 3 359 6226. Daily 10:00-22:00, kiwi viewing from 11:00. A smaller park than Orana, with a focus on New Zealand species including kiwi in a natural environment. $16, $8 child.
  • Yaldhurst Museum, Main West Rd(near the airport, first right past Yaldhurst Hotel),  +64 3 342-7914. 10:00-17:00 daily (17:00-21:00 by arrangement for groups of 10 or more). Mostly interesting for its collection of over 150 classic and vintage vehicles. $20, $5 child.

Things to do

  • Adventure Trailrides,  +64 27 451 0584. Guided off-road motorcycle tours from a half day to 10 days. All tours include an experienced guide, transport from Christchurch, motorcycle or ATV rental, fuel, insurance, riding gear, lunch and support vehicle. Overnight tours also include twin share accommodation and all meals. 5-10 day tours require a minimum of two riders.
  • Antigua Boatsheds2 Cambridge Tce, Central City+64 3 366-5885.Daily, summer 09:30-17:30, winter 09:30-17:00. Boat hire from historic British boatsheds for a hands-on water experience. $12/hr canoe, $25/half-hr rowboat, $25/half-hr paddle boat.
  • Christchurch Casino30 Victoria St, Central City+64 3 365-9999. Daily except Good Friday, 25 Apr, 25 Dec. Dress code (jeans now allowed). You get a free meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) if it is your birthday (booking essential).
  • Christchurch Gondola10 Bridle Path Rd, Heathcote Valley (Take #28 bus southeast, or take Purple bus and change to #535 bus at Ferrymead.),  +64 3 384-0310. Daily except 25 Dec 10:00-17:00. Ride in an enclosed gondola car up to the summit of the Port Hills then view the Heritage Time Tunnel exhibit, take an outdoor nature walk, visit the cafe and shop. The trip takes 10min but it is recommended to allow an hour all up. From 1 Nov to 31 March, a shuttle bus runs from the i-Site visitor centre and Canterbury Museum on Rolleston Ave at 40 minutes past the hour each hour from 09:40 until 15:40. Adult $25, child (5-15 years) $12, passenger & own mountain bike $30, or with mountain bike hire $70. Discount of 10% when booking online 7 days in advance.
  • Creative Workshops. Spend a day with a local artist or craftsman and share his skills and passion.
  • Punting on the Avon, punts depart from Antigua Boatsheds (see above). Glide down the river in Cambridge University style with a uniformed boatsman.
  • Summit Road, drive it or bike it or take a bus then walk it. The road (and the Crater Rim Walkway) traverses the crest of the Port Hills, which separate Christchurch from Lyttelton Harbour. Breathtaking views over Christchurch, the Southern Alps, Pegasus Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula - often all from the same vantage point. Lots of sheep on the walkways, some of which traverse working farms. (It is not possible to drive along all of Summit Road because it is closed due to earthquake damage).
  • Tram ride. Sep-Mar 9am-6pm, Apr-Aug 10am-5pm. Runs every 8-10 mins on a loop in the central city that takes 25 min in total. Get on and off as you please with your day-long ticket. Adult $15, 15 years and under free (up to 3 children per adult).

Festivals and events

Christchurch has the busiest program of annual festivals of any New Zealand city.

  • Summertimes runs from December through to late February and includes a number of major free events in Hagley Park, which attract audiences of up to 100,000. It consists of music, arts, culture and sporting events.
  • The World Buskers Festival. Runs for two weeks in January and usually features about 30 comedy, street, and circus acts from around the globe.
  • The Festival of Romance lasts for 10 days leading up to Valentine's Day and includes a range of romantic activities.
  • The Christchurch Garden Festival takes place in March.
  • Kidsfest is on during the midwinter school holiday.
  • Christchurch Arts Festival. Is the largest arts festival in the South Island and takes place every second year around Aug-Sep (last held 2013).
  • Carnival Week. Is centred around a number of events taking place in November - Guy Fawkes' night (a major public firework display at New Brighton Pier), the two New Zealand Cup (trotting and galloping) horse racing meetings, and the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral show, which is the largest in the country.
  • Carols by Candlelight is a long-standing tradition on Christmas Eve, now held in Victoria Square.


  • No. 4, 4 Mansfield Avenue. Relaxed during the day and busy (but not too busy) on weekend nights. Great wines, Monteiths beers and a solid menu.
  • Bog Irish Pub. Located in The Speights Ale House, 263 Bealey Ave.
  • Aikmans Bistro & Bar, an upscale drinking spot in the trendy Merivale area. 154 Aikmans Rd, Merivale.
  • Ivy Cafe & Bar, 150 Aikmans Rd, Merivale.
  • Speights Ale House Tower Junction. A relaxed atmosphere bar, a great place for meals. Tower Junction Mega Centre, 55 Clarence St, Riccarton.
  • The Watershed Restaurant & Bar. Overlooking the waterfront in Ferrymead. 12/23 Humphrey's Drive, Ferrymead.
  • The Craic Irish Bar, 84 Riccarton Rd.
  • Dux Live363 Lincoln Road (behind the Mobil station). Sells its own beer and alcoholic ginger beer, and has gigs, usually free, from local bands and beyond.
  • Addington Coffee Co-Op. Sells Fair Trade coffee and clothing in a lively atmosphere
  • If you fancy a short drive or bus ride (approx. 15 minutes from city centre), go to The Wunderbar in Lyttelton. It has a small room for gigs and is popular with artists. The Monster Bar (downstairs, next door) is an excellent Yakitori restaurant and bar though smaller and with more of a focus on DJs.

Safety in Christchurch

Stay Safe

Christchurch has a problem with smog during the winter, but only at night. Although conditions have improved over the years due to the intervention of the city council, take care venturing out on calm frosty evenings if you have a breathing-related medical condition.

While violent crime is relatively rare, some people do have a tendency towards aggression when drunk, as in most cities. Linwood is one of the lower socio-economic area of Christchurch, and is rougher than some other neighborhoods, but is still considered safe. As in any city, take care late at night, especially on Friday and Saturdays, as levels of intoxication can lead to unwanted attention or unprovoked violence. Avoid dark alleyways and confrontations and, if in doubt, make haste to a populated area and call the police (dial 111).

Aftershocks from the 2010-11 earthquakes have long since subsided. There is still a risk of another major earthquake rocking Christchurch, but the chances are comparable to any other New Zealand city.

The earthquakes have caused land to sink up to 1.2 m (4 ft) in some places, creating new basins which can flood during heavy rain. The worst-affected areas are the "Flockton Basin" in Saint Albans/Mairehau north of the city centre, and the suburb of Woolston in the city's south-east. Be wary in these areas if there are forecasts for heavy rain.

  • Christchurch Central Police Station68 St Asaph St (cnr Antigua St),  +64 3 363-7400.

High / 7.6

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Mid. / 4.0

Safety (Walking alone - night)


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