Christchurch and Canterbury holidays combine laid-back city living with unrivalled outdoor adventure. New Zealand’s second largest city, Christchurch is located to the east of South Island on the edge of the Canterbury Plains, and sits against a magnificent backdrop of imposing hills and the sparkling Pacific Ocean.
Christchurch holidays offer a taste of vibrant city life and the chance for outdoor adventure in one trip, making it the ideal destination for adrenaline junkies and laid-back travellers alike.
Every day is different on your holiday in Christchurch
Christchurch is a buzzing city with lively restaurants and bars, and a vibrant arts scene. Spend a few days in the city to soak up its atmosphere and learn more about New Zealand culture at the city’s museums.
The island’s most spectacular scenery is within easy driving distance, so Christchurch and Canterbury holidays are the perfect chance to explore the sights of the South Island. During the winter, the snow-capped peaks of Mount Hutt are a great place to ski and just a couple of hours away from Christchurch by car. In the summer months, you can while away an afternoon surfing in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. There’s also plenty of rugged terrain nearby, perfect for mountain biking and easily reached from your city base.
For the ultimate outdoor experience, head west to Mount Cook National Park, where you can see the country’s highest mountain peak, giant glaciers and get the clearest view of the night sky almost anywhere in the world. Ocean adventures can be had in the coastal town of Kaikoura. Head here to swim with dolphins, go whale-watching, and taste of some of the island’s best fresh seafood.
With so many ways to fill your time and so much to experience, Christchurch holidays will please everyone.
Great sample itineraries
Known as the gateway to South Island, Christchurch and Canterbury holidays are perfect for exploring everything the area has to offer. Get inspired by our selection of popular itineraries for Christchurch holidays.
Auckland To Christchurch Tour
Small Group Escorted Tour Of New Zealand
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Providing a quiet oasis in the heart of the city, Christchurch Botanic Gardens is beautifully landscaped and full of vibrant, colourful plants at any time of year. There are 10 gardens to explore, as well as an English oak tree which dates back to the gardens’ foundation in 1863. In the spring and summer the gardens are home to brightly coloured flowers, which give way to russets and oranges in the autumn. The winter season covers the gardens in a soft blanket of snow.
Leaving from Christchurch and ending in Greymouth, the TranzAlpine train offers a fantastic way to see some of the south island’s most breath taking scenery. It will take you over sparkling rivers and through luscious valleys, over rugged mountains and to some of the island’s famous beech forests. Stop off in Springfield or Arthur’s Pass for hiking tours, or enjoy a picnic next to Lake Brunner.
The landscapes surrounding Christchurch offer plenty of opportunities to get into the wilderness. Explore with hiking, mountain biking and horse riding, and take a picnic for a full day of fun. Sailing, mountain climbing and mountain biking are the ideal way to get active. For the ultimate daring adventure, sky diving and bungee jumping are also available.
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“Take a day to explore Akaroa, which is easy to reach from Christchurch. The town is next to an ancient volcano and it’s the only place you can see and swim with rare Hector dolphins.”
“The Canterbury Museum has fascinating human and natural history collections, and the Quake City exhibition tells the story of how Christchurch has rebuilt and regenerated itself since the Canterbury earthquakes.”
Events & Festivals
Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Christchurch and Canterbury holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.
Christchurch Arts Festival
The Christchurch Arts Festival takes place between July and August. New Zealand artists head to Christchurch to reflect on the city’s past and look to the future. The schedule includes light shows, art, performances, food, music and workshops. It’s a wonderful showcase for the Christchurch art scene, and not to be missed.
Christchurch Food Festival
Christchurch Food Festival is held every May and draws tens of thousands of visitors hoping to experience a culinary adventure. The festival features food stalls selling tasty local delicacies and extends down to the river, where you can watch live cookery demonstrations and enjoy a beer at the Beer Festival. It’s the perfect way to experience local cuisine on your Christchurch holidays.
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