The largest city in the South Island of New Zealand is filled with more than enough picturesque spots to fill your camera roll with Instagram-worthy snaps. It’s not just the prettiness of the city that will make this trip unforgettable, but also the wildlife and Antarctic Centre. Pack a comfy pair of shoes and get ready to fill your days with endless hours of exploration.
Discover Hagley Park
There’s a reason why Christchurch is known as “The Garden City”. It is filled with parks and gardens that are full of joggers, giggling children and artists selling their wares. Hagley Park is the city’s largest urban open space and is worth the walk to see the rolling lawns, tall trees and beautiful blooms.
The sobering 185 White Chairs
In 2011, 185 people from 20 countries lost their lives in the devastating earthquake that struck Lyttelton, the small town 10km from the Christchurch city centre. This installation of 185 chairs was set up in their memory, in a vacant lot in the heart of Christchurch where a church once stood. Each chair represents one of the lives lost on that day. It’s a sobering visit but part of the history of this city, and gives you a sense of the magnitude of loss.
The great Gondola
The Christchurch Gondola will take you to the top of the Port Hills (main photo), almost 500m above sea level. Get breathtaking 360-degree views from the summit of the hills, which will give you glimpses of Lake Ellesmere, Lyttelton Harbour and the Southern Alps. Once you’re at the top you can grab a bite or a drink from the quaint cafe. This is a very popular activity in the area, so book early.
New Brighton Pier
This concrete pier was opened in 1997 and is 300m long, making it the longest pier in Australasia. An icon of both New Brighton and Christchurch, it is the venue for many events including spectacular fireworks displays and carnivals. The pier is said to be undergoing repairs after it was damaged in the 2016 Christchurch earthquake. However, even if you can’t walk along the pier, a walk nearby is still totally worth it to see it in all of its glory. (You can check for updates on the repairs here.)