From whale watching and wine tasting to pop-up container malls, check out the coolest things to do in and around Christchurch, the gateway to New Zealand’s South Island and the Canterbury region. You’ve only got one life, go live the Kiwi dream.

Awaken Your Spirit

Large parks, forests and huge areas of flat land make Christchurch the perfect city to explore by bike. Pack a picnic, get on your bike enjoy a gorgeous day out in the sunshine discovering the forests, beaches and parks of Christchurch.

Bottle Lake Forest is a gem for exploring or take a guided cycle tour around the city itself. For the slightly more adventurous, head up to Port Hills, home to loads of mountain bike trails. The view is so worth it!

Escape the Ordinary

Where the forest meets the sea, Kaikoura is like nowhere else. Only a 2.5 hour drive from Christchurch, it’s worth a little journey up the coast.  Kaikoura is New Zealand’s leading eco-tourism destination with an amazing mix of marine and bird life. Whale watching in Kaikoura is a must do for any trip to NZ; you’re likely to see Sperm whales, fur seals, pods of dusky dolphins and albatross. If you’re REALLY lucky, you could see Humpback whales, Blue Whales and Orca. There’s always something awesome to see year around, so get ready to discover the wildlife by boat, helicopter or for a much closer encounter, swim alongside seals and dolphins!

Discover Something New

For a unique shopping experience head to the Re:START container mall in the heart of the city, introduced after the 2011 earthquake – a funky shopping environment with specialty shops and restaurants based in brightly colored shipping containers. Re:START offers everything from international delicacies to homewares and designer clothing. The newly reopened New Regent Street is also a cool place to check out with a selection of boutique shops; it’s definitely worth exploring for the architecture alone.

Enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Avon River. Definitely go punting for the day. You’ll glide along the Avon River, while a skilled punter in Edwardian attire steers you slowly through the water. Often referred to as “The Garden City,” wander through the blooms and foliage at Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens – New Zealand’s largest inner-city park.

Take the TranzAlpine Train, a world famous train journey that travels from Christchurch to Greymouth. You’ll pass across the Canterbury Plains, and through the spectacular Waimakariri gorge before making your way to the high mountains of the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass. The stunning alpine landscape will take your breath away!

Savor the Journey

On the way up to Kaikoura, make sure you stop at Nin’s Bin for some of the best mussels and crayfish you will ever taste. This is a favorite stop for local, so make sure you treat yourself to some time with them – they’re friendly, knowledgeable and most of all, happy to welcome you to NZ.

For the best food in all of Christchurch, head to the container mall for “Dmitri’s Greek Food” (the souvlakis are seriously YUM). Check out Baretta or Dux Central for a few drinks in the evening, where the atmosphere is always buzzing! You also have to visit a local farmer’s market to sample Christchurch’s fresh produce and artisan food products.

Explore the garden city and gateway to New Zealand’s South Island.  Go live the Kiwi dream in Christchurch.