Take your time unlocking Christchurch, a dynamic adventure destination that acts as the gateway to New Zealand's South Island. Founded in 1856, the Garden City, in the Canterbury region, has become the country's largest metropolis.
In town, stroll the inner city parks and spot photogenic urban designs interspersed between the greenery. Admire manicured gardens alongside historic buildings at Riccarton Bush & Ilam Homestead. Browse native species in the visually stunning Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
Be sure to visit attractions that tell the stories of the city, the surrounding region and the country. One remarkable landmark is the Cardboard Cathedral, a “transitional” church that was built after the original Anglican cathedral was damaged in the 2011 earthquake. It's the world’s only cathedral built mostly of cardboard. The Canterbury Museum building suffered only minor damage in the earthquake so you can still appreciate its original Gothic Revival architecture. Inside, browse some of the museum’s millions of items, including Māori artefacts from before their contact with Europeans.
Discover more Māori culture at Ko Tane Māori Village. Learn about the fierce Māori warriors and watch powerful traditional dancing. Stay for an authentic Māori dinner cooked in a stone-heated pit.
Explore the scenic high trails of the surrounding Canterbury region via mountain bike or four-wheel drive. Spend a day in the Selwyn district trying the area's distinct wine flavours, playing a round of golf or hiking through the scenic environment. You can also see lions being fed at the Orana Wildlife Park.
Pump up the adrenaline with a skydiving or paragliding experience over the countryside. Tour the Adrenalin Forest and test your skills on high wires, flying foxes and challenging obstacle courses. For a calmer adventure with a view, take a helicopter tour.
Escape the summer heat with a kayak tour around the coast or a white-water rafting trip. Spot whales at Kaikoura, just north of Christchurch, and try delicious crayfish at Nin's Bin, nearby.
In winter, clamp on your skis and carve down the Tasman Glacier. Guided mountaineering also offers some of Canterbury's most satisfying and sweeping views.
Get to Christchurch via its international airport or board a train from Wellington. Get around town on foot, public bus or by taxi. For a great daytrip, cruise into Akaroa Harbour. This seaside village is just 90 minutes by boat from Christchurch and features coastal vistas, fishing opportunities and cuisine with French flair.