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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.

Destination Highlights

  • Stroll through the lush green space of Hagley Park and enjoy the pretty rose garden at the Mona Vale homestead
  • Get an adrenaline fix with outdoor activities and enjoy incredible views from the Christchurch Gondola
  • Learn about New Zealand at the Centre of Contemporary Art, Canterbury Museum and the Air Force Museum of New Zealand
  • Take in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, home to the highest peak and longest glaciers in New Zealand

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.

Milford

Self Drive Tour Of New Zealand South Island

  • 15 Days
Our self drive tour of New Zealand’s South Island takes in some of the area’s most spectacular destinations and packs...
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Self drive holidays
Milford

Auckland To Christchurch Tour

  • 17 Days
  • Guide Price £6,495 PP
Set out on a New Zealand adventure and get a true taste for the country on an escorted New Zealand...
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Adventure holidays
a snow covered mountain

Small Group Escorted Tour Of New Zealand

  • 21 Days
Spend 21 days exploring an endlessly stunning country and get a taste of the fascinating Māori culture during your Essence...
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City holidays
Mount Cook, New Zealand

Private Tour Of Bay Of Islands New Zealand

  • 16 Days
  • Guide Price £4,849 PP
Our New Zealand Getaway tour is a superb choice for first timers wanting to get a taste of the delights...
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City holidays

Explore Christchurch

Time Zone

GMT +13

Flight Time

London Heathrow to Christchurch is around 24 hours. With one stop in Singapore. Some flights can be much longer depending on the stop-over destination and waiting time between flights.

Currency

New Zealand dollar (NZD)

Visa Information

UK citizens or passport holders do not need visas for trips up to six months.

Language

English

Health Info

No mandatory vaccinations required. It's important to contact your GP for latest recommendations.

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.

TranzAlpine Train

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.

Get Adventurous

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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Charlie, Destination Manager

“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.”

 

Charlie
Destination Manager
Lucy, Destination Specialist

“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.”

 

Lucy
Destination Specialist

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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