Settling into a routine once you arrive might be daunting, but there’s plenty of things you can do in Christchurch to immerse yourself in local life, helping you to get settled as quickly as possible. And although work is ongoing to repair and restore all of city's amenities back to full capacity in light of the devastating earthquakes, there is still plenty you can see and do here…
Things to do in Christchurch
1. Parks and Nature: Nicknamed The Garden City, there are plenty of well-cultivated green spaces to enjoy throughout Christchurch that won’t cost you a penny. Hagley Park is great for sporting types, as there are excellent amenities for golf, cricket, rugby and netball. Open-air concerts are also often held here.
Willowbank Wildlife Park and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens are also well worth a visit, as is the Travis Wetland.
2. Entertainment: Unfortunately, until the city centre has been restored to full capacity, you might find you have to travel a bit to seek some entertainment. Just five miles to the east of the city centre you’ll find New Brighton. Easily accessible via several direct transport links from Christchurch city centre, there’s plenty to do here - whether it be surfing on the sandy beach, swimming, cycling, eating in one of the many restaurants, shopping in the art/craft related shops or browsing the unique stalls at the community market (first Saturday of each month), there’s something for everyone.
3. Theatre & Music: Carry on further north of Christchurch (around 16 miles) and you’ll find yourself in Canterbury’s largest town, Rangiora. Lovers of fine wine will feel right at home here as Rangiora has become a local gateway for wineries, with several to choose from. There are two theatre companies here – The North Canterbury Musical Society and the Rangiora Players – as well as a number of music, dance and drama schools based in the town.
Rangiora also houses its very own museum, which specifies in showcasing items of local historical importance.
4. Shopping: If it’s shopping you’re after then a trip to Timaru should satisfy all your retail needs. Located 160 kilometers south of Christchurch, there are a number of local shopping malls scattered around this town, but in particular Stafford Street. The largest department store, Ballantynes, is located in the city centre.
Aside from the shops, Caroline Bay is Timaru’s main attraction. Outdoor activities that can be enjoyed here include swimming, mini-golf, roller skating, a maze, a landscaped piazza where you can enjoy scenic walks through The Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden.
5. French heritage: For quiet culture, head on down to Akaroa. Situated on the Banks Peninsula, this is a quaint little village which still retains the French heritage it was built on way back in 1838. Established by French whaler, Captain Jean Langlois, the architecture and French street names are a strong reminder that this is New Zealand’s only French settlement.
Come here to enjoy the beautiful beaches or head down to the harbour where you can take a leisurely cruise to spot blue penguins, dolphins and seals.
6: The Great Outdoors: If it’s a taste of the great outdoors you’re after then the 53 miles trip south west of Christchurch to Ashburton is certainly worth it. Nestled amongst that gardens and fishing rivers are several excellent places to swim, play golf and take long walks. There are also grand total of six museums to be enjoyed here, with vintage railway, aviation and cars a specialty, as well as several local craft galleries to browse. A vast selection of top restaurants and accommodation make this the perfect place to spend a long weekend.
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