48 Hours in Christchurch, New Zealand: 10 Cool Things To Absolutely Do

Christchurch, New Zealand’s third-largest city, is a vibrant and dynamic destination that offers a wide range of experiences for visitors. With just 48 hours in this captivating city, it’s essential to make the most of your time. From stunning natural landscapes to a thriving food and arts scene, Christchurch has something to offer everyone. To help you plan your visit, here are 10 cool things to absolutely do during your 48 hours in Christchurch.

1. Explore the Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Step into a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city by visiting the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. These expansive and beautifully manicured gardens are a delight for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts alike. You can stroll through a diverse range of themed gardens, including the rose garden, herb garden, and native New Zealand plant collections. The Botanic Gardens also house the visually stunning conservatories, where you can admire exotic flora from around the world. Whether you choose to take a relaxing walk or enjoy a picnic by the Avon River, the Botanic Gardens offer a serene escape from the bustling city.

2. Visit the Canterbury Museum

Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Christchurch by visiting the Canterbury Museum. This impressive museum showcases exhibitions that tell the story of Canterbury and its people. From Maori artifacts to natural history displays, the museum offers a diverse range of collections that cater to various interests. One of the highlights is the ‘Christchurch Street’ recreation, which takes you back in time to the early 20th century. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, ensuring there is always something new and exciting to discover. Admission to the Canterbury Museum is free, making it a fantastic option for budget-conscious travelers.

3. Experience the Re:START Mall

Witness the resilience and creativity of the Christchurch community by visiting the Re:START Mall. This innovative shopping precinct is constructed entirely out of brightly colored shipping containers, offering a unique and vibrant retail experience. The Re:START Mall was created as a temporary solution following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, but it quickly became a beloved feature of the city. Here, you’ll find a range of boutique shops, art galleries, cafes, and eateries. It’s a fantastic place to shop for souvenirs, enjoy a delicious meal, or simply soak in the bustling atmosphere. The Re:START Mall symbolizes the spirit of Christchurch and its ability to bounce back from adversity.

4. Take a Punting Tour on the Avon River

Indulge in a quintessential Christchurch experience by taking a punting tour along the tranquil Avon River. Glide along the water in a traditional flat-bottomed boat while your skilled punter shares fascinating stories and insights about the city’s history and landmarks. The Avon River is lined with picturesque parks and gardens, providing a scenic backdrop to your leisurely journey. Punting tours operate year-round and offer a wonderful opportunity to relax, enjoy the scenery, and learn about the city’s heritage. It’s a peaceful and memorable way to explore Christchurch.

5. Discover Street Art in the Central City

Christchurch is known for its vibrant street art scene, with colorful murals and installations scattered throughout the central city. Take a walk through the laneways and alleyways to discover these captivating works of art. The Christchurch Street Art Map, available online or at the i-SITE visitor center, will guide you to the best spots. The street art in Christchurch is not only visually stunning, but it also reflects the city’s rebuilding process and resilience. Artists from around the world have contributed to the transformation of Christchurch’s walls into captivating outdoor galleries. Exploring the street art is a dynamic way to experience the city’s creativity and cultural expression.

6. Indulge in a Foodie Adventure

Christchurch has a burgeoning food scene that caters to all tastes and budgets. From innovative cafes and gourmet restaurants to bustling food markets, culinary delights await you at every turn. Visit the Christchurch Farmers’ Market, held on Saturday mornings, where local producers offer their fresh produce, artisanal products, and delicious street food. Explore the laneways around High Street and Victoria Street, where trendy eateries and bars abound. Don’t miss the chance to sample some of New Zealand’s famed wines in the nearby Waipara Valley, home to numerous vineyards and wineries. With its diverse range of dining options, Christchurch promises to satisfy every foodie’s cravings.

7. Relax in Hagley Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in the sprawling Hagley Park. Located adjacent to the Botanic Gardens, this expansive urban park is perfect for leisurely walks, picnics, and outdoor activities. Hire a bicycle or borrow a Frisbee from one of the local rental facilities and make the most of the open green spaces. In the summer months, you can even catch a cricket match at the historic Hagley Oval. With its beautiful tree-lined pathways, tranquil ponds, and stunning floral displays, Hagley Park is a serene retreat in the heart of Christchurch.

8. Explore Quake City

To gain a deeper understanding of the earthquakes that shaped Christchurch, visit Quake City. This interactive museum showcases the history and aftermath of the seismic events that struck the city. Learn about the science behind earthquakes, witness the destruction caused by the quakes, and hear the stories of resilience from the local community. The museum also delves into the extensive rebuilding efforts and the innovations that have emerged in the wake of the earthquakes. Quake City paints a poignant picture of Christchurch’s ongoing recovery and the collective spirit of its residents.

9. Take a Day Trip to Lyttelton

Located just a short drive from Christchurch, the picturesque port town of Lyttelton is well worth a visit. Surrounded by dramatic hills and nestled on the shores of an ancient volcanic crater, Lyttelton boasts charming streets lined with quirky shops, art galleries, and cafes. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, explore the local markets, and soak in the town’s unique character. For those seeking adventure, hike up the Bridle Path for panoramic views of Lyttelton Harbour and the surrounding coastline. The journey to Lyttelton is not only visually stunning, but it also provides a glimpse into the region’s fascinating geological history.

10. Experience a Traditional Maori Concert and Hangi

Immerse yourself in Maori culture by attending a traditional Maori concert and hangi. Discover the rich traditions, history, and art forms of New Zealand’s indigenous people through mesmerizing performances of song, dance, and storytelling. Feast on a delicious hangi meal, cooked using traditional methods, and savor the unique flavors of Maori cuisine. These interactive experiences offer a genuine insight into Maori culture and provide an opportunity to connect with the rich heritage of New Zealand.

With just 48 hours, Christchurch offers an array of unique experiences that blend history, culture, nature, and culinary delights. From tranquil gardens to vibrant street art, this city showcases the spirit of innovation and resilience that defines New Zealand’s South Island. Whether you’re a nature lover, an art enthusiast, a foodie, or a history buff, Christchurch has something to captivate and inspire you during your short visit. So, grab your itinerary and embark on an adventure-filled journey through Christchurch’s cool and captivating attractions.

Sources:
– Canterbury Museum: https://www.canterburymuseum.com/
– Re:START Mall: https://www.restart.org.nz/
– Punting on the Avon: http://www.punting.co.nz/
– Christchurch Street Art Map: https://www.christchurchnz.com/assets/Documents/street-art-storyboards-2020.pdf
– Christchurch Farmers’ Market: https://www.christchurchfarmersmarket.co.nz/
– Quake City: https://www.canterburymuseum.com/plan-your-visit/quake-city
– Bridle Path Track: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/port-hills-area/things-to-do/bridle-path-track/
– Maori Cultural Experiences: https://www.christchurchnz.com/culture-heritage/maori-culture/maori-cultural-experiences