Christchurch Itinerary – the ultimate city guide

It’s a city literally torn apart by a devastating earthquake but Christchurch, that stalwart town of New Zealand’s spectacular south island, has not let this terrible event define it. Instead, the city is emerging from the rubble, and has rebuilt itself to an impeccable standard. So, what is there now to see in Christchurch, as it rebuilds after more than 170,000 buildings were damaged in the 2011 earthquake? So much more than you’d expect! We were really surprised by how much we enjoyed the city and so decided to put together this definitive 3 day Christchurch itinerary, to help you explore Ōtautahi (as the Maoris call it).

In case you want to spend more time in the city, we’ve also included heaps of day trips and other options to help you extend your itinerary for this South Island gem.

Why go to Christchurch?

An absolute must on any South Island road trip, and also a great place to base yourself at the start or end of any trip to New Zealand’s south island, Christchurch is a really interesting city. We’re assuming that you’re already set on coming to Christchurch if you’ve landed on this article, but just before we jump into our Christchurch itinerary, and in case you need some rationale as to why you need to visit, here are some quick reasons on why you should go to Christchurch.

  • It’s full of history, both past and present. It is the oldest established city in New Zealand, making it the epicentre of the country’s heritage. More than that, the earthquake of 2011 has created an entirely new identity for the city, which is fascinating to see as it is literally built around you.
  • The city is easy to navigate. Most of the major attractions are within short distances, and can be accessed on the tram or by foot. This makes Christchurch feel very cosy, yet also like a modern city with all the amenities you need.
  • The museums and gallery pack a punch, particularly for a smaller city. Whether you’re after Maori history, or modern art or just a cross-section of Kiwi culture, there are a number of great places to go in Christchurch.
  • It’s a great base for exploring. We’ve included a number of day trips and options like Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula, Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura that can easily be done if you base yourself out of Christchurch. The area is also great for hiking in nearby areas, with some of the best walks in Canterbury.

Our Christchurch itinerary for 3 days

  • Day 1 | Christchurch Tram City Tour & Gondola Experience
  • Day 2 | Museums and galleries
  • Day 3 | Explore Akaroa & Banks Peninsula

What’s the best time of year to visit Christchurch?

If you’re looking for the best weather to enjoy the beaches in the area, and also catch Christchurch when it’s not too busy, it’s worth looking at the later summer months, between the end of January and March. Over the festive period it can be a little busy, so accommodation prices are higher and the weather can be a little more changeable.

However, if you’re also looking to add some winter activities as part of your trip to New Zealand, then we’d recommend June to August.

Day 1 – Christchurch Tram City Tour & Gondola Experience

Christchurch Tram City Tour

In our opinion the best way to get a really great feel of the city is to take a tour on the trams – these have been in operation as a tourist attraction since 1995, you can jump on and off at many of the important landmarks around the city, with the trams running at 10 – 15 minute intervals. We loved these trams. They are gorgeous, vintage, restored trams with so many of the original fittings: think wood-panelled interiors, bespoke lighting and old-school cast iron controls and dashboards for the operator. The local drivers act as incredibly knowledgeable guides, ferrying you around the city safely but also keeping you entertained with tales of the city and historical titbits from every corner.

If you book your ticket online you can join the tram at any of its 17 stops but you can also walk into the main ticket office, located at Cathedral Junction, to purchase tickets in person and start the tour there (at Stop 1, incidentally!).

The cost of the tram is 25 NZD (16.50 USD/12.75 GBP) and if you do a continuous loop it will only take around 45 minutes to an hour. We’d actually suggest that you take the tram all the way around once, before picking the places that you want to stop along the route.

For the morning of Day 1, we’d recommend that you get on and off at the following locations – don’t worry that we’ve missed out many of the museums, as we think you need a little longer to explore these on Day 2.

You can book your tickets for the Christchurch Tram City Tour here.

View the Christchurch Cathedral

Constructed between 1864 and 1904, the Christchurch Cathedral was, for many years, the heartbeat of the city. Situated smack-bang in the centre, the imposing structure and its towering spire could be seen for miles around. Nowadays it’s the largest reminder of the 2011 earthquake that devastated the city as it sits in a state of partial ruin, behind thick steel mesh and gates. The church was severely damaged in the earthquake and subsequently also saw parts demolished, as the Anglican Church was set to bulldoze it and build an entirely new church.

The idea of an entirely new church met stiff opposition and it was later decided that the iconic church would be reinstated and restored instead, a project that is set to be completed in 7-10 years.

For now, you can simply admire the church from behind the gates, and see it as a stark reminder of the 2011 quake. You’ll find a few arts and crafts stalls located right near it, which are worth a quick stroll around or you can make your way to the Cardboard Cathedral a transitional cathedral that opened in August 2013; that is on the corner of Hereford and Madras streets.

The Christchurch Cathedral is Stop 2 on the Tram Tour.

Wander the Avon River

The tram passes over the Avon River (also known as  Ōtākaro) twice on the route, and also hugs its banks for part of the tour so you won’t miss it! That said, we’d definitely suggest that you take the opportunity to wander along the banks of the river. It’s a really cute little river and you’re likely to see a load of ducks, trout and even maybe some eels. While wandering it, you’ll probably pass by the Bridge of Remembrance, a war memorial for those who died in World War 1, or participated in the world wars or battles in countries like Malaysia or Vietnam. It’s undoubtedly worth a quick photo stop.

If you have a bit of time to spare, we’d also recommend you channel your inner Edwardian sir or lady, and go punting along the river. You can self-hire a kayak or pedal boat or go in style with an expert guide starting at the Antigua Boat Sheds, who glides you along the river in handcrafted, flat-bottomed boats with only a pole, situated at the back of the boat. This is a wonderful way to see the city from a different angle, particularly if its sunny and warm.

The punting tours are 30 minutes and are 30 NZD (20 USD / 15.25 GBP)per adult for a group tour, or private tours are 50 NZD (33 USD / 25.50 GBP) for adults and 25 NZD (16.50 USD / 12.75 GBP) for children. If you’re on the tram, you get off at Stop 9.

Location: 2 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013

Open: 9.00am – 6.00pm in summer, 10.00am – 4.00pm in winter

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Founded back in 1863, the Botanic Gardens offers you a flurry of flowers: magnificent magnolias, rambling roses and enough ‘native’ plant life to satisfy even the most ardent botanist. The gardens are sprawled over 51 acres offering a number of different areas and beds to suit different tastes: the central rose garden for those who love roses, the New Zealand garden full of local plants like the famous silver fern, or even the Daffodil Woodland, near the Hagley Park side.

The gardens also boasts a number of conservatories including a great display of cacti and succulents in Garrick House and alpine plants in Foweraker house.

We’d definitely suggest you spend some time wandering around its many nooks and crannies, or even trying to spot some of the art in the gardens, like the famous Flora and Otto armchair, made entirely out of broken china during the earthquake.

If you’re on the tram, the Botanic Gardens are Stop 12 and are free to visit.

Location: Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013

Open: 7.00am – 9.00pm daily

Lunch on New Regent Street

If you’ve been to Regent street as part of a London tour, then you might not entirely see the resemblance. However, Christchurch’s New Regent Street has its own charm. With pastel houses and gorgeous eateries flanking both sides of this pedestrianized mall, the road is home to some quirky boutiques, great places to eat and a few slightly assertive seagulls!

When we visited it was abuzz with people – children playing, buskers warbling out a few tunes and people enjoying a bit of sunshine, while downing their summer salads. It’s the perfect place to sit out at a wooden table and have a bite to eat. Highly rated are the Nook Eatery and Casa Publica, but you could also just grab an ice-cream at Rollicking Gelato or a flat white from The Caffeine Laboratory or Coffee Lovers.

New Regents Street is Stop 17 on the Tram Tour.

It’s also good to note that Christchurch has some really great pieces of street art that you’ll spot on your tram tour, so worthwhile jumping off to get a quick snap of these!

Christchurch Gondola

A short 15 minutes from Christchurch city centre is the number one tourist attraction in Christchurch, the Christchurch Gondola. The trick is really in the name: this is a sky-high gondola experience which takes you up to get sweeping views of Christchurch below.

A one kilometre ascent in the gondola ‘bubble’ (which takes up to 4 people at a time) sees you reach the summit, the top of the Port Hills. Here you’ll see the spectacular city of Christchurch to the west, whereas the south and east showcases the Banks Peninsula and Lyttelton Harbour. If you’re really feeling up to it, you can hike back down via the mountain track, to see even more of the landscapes before you.

If you’re feeling a bit weary after the day on the tram, its worth a stop in the restaurant as one of the baristas won a country-wide coffee competition, so you’re sure to get a world class cappuccino!

The gondola can be reached via car from the city (there is a large car park) or there is a shuttle costing 10 NZD return (6.50 USD/ 5 GBP) which leaves from Cathedral Square (Tram Stop 2), each 20-30 minutes. The gondola itself is 30 NZD (20 USD / 15.25 GBP) for adults and 15 NZD (10 USD / 7.50 GBP) for children between 5-15.

Location: 10 Bridle Path Road, Heathcote Valley, Christchurch 8022

Open: Daily from 10.00am – 5.00pm

Day 2 – Museums and Galleries

Now that you’ve got a feel for the city of Christchurch, it’s worth delving a little deeper into some of the key attractions, particularly those linked to the history and culture of the city. You might not be a history buff or a fervent museum goer, so feel free to skip any of these that don’t tickle your fancy.

Quake City, the Earthquake Museum

By now you’ve definitely realized how much of Christchurch’s present day is tied up in the aftermath of the earthquake, and you’ve probably seen some of that as you traipsed around the city. However, there is a fascinating museum dedicated to the subject: Quake City.

It chronicles the disaster in that it features the history and statistics around it, plus important artefacts like the spire of the cathedral and the old clocks from the railway station, that is now entirely demolished. But, more than that, it tells the extraordinary stories of the people of Christchurch. The volunteers, the emergency services, construction workers and just ordinary people who came together to rebuild a city devastated after the disaster.

Christchurch itinerary - Quake City Museum

Tickets are 20 NZD (13.30 USD / 10.20 GBP) for adults and children under 15 (when accompanied by an adult) go free.

Location: 299 Durham Street North, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013

Open: 10.00am – 5.00pm daily

The International Antarctic Centre

If you’re even a little bit fascinated by the Antarctic, this is a must-visit on your Christchurch itinerary. The International Antarctic Centre showcases so many Antarctic attractions fit for kids and big kids (adults) alike. Try the Storm room which aims to mimic an Antarctic storm (think minus 18 degrees Celsius winds), the penguin rescue centre (go for feeding time at 10.30am or 03.30pm), a full gallery jam-packed with displays and artefacts or the HD theatre, which showcases incredible, icy films.

Not keen on penguins? The centre has a ‘husky zone’ where rescued huskies provide a hands-on experience, complete with cuddles! The huskies are there from 9.30am – 5.00pm, only stopping for a lunch break.

Last, but definitely not least, many people flock to the centre for the Hagglund Ride. This 15 min outdoor adventure is included in your ticket price, and is a huge part of the fun. The Hagglund is essentially an all-term Antarctic vehicle that was specially designed for icy, tough conditions. Channel your inner scientist as you strap in to the vehicle and take on the outdoor obstacles.

Insider tip: The Centre operates a free shuttle, the Penguin Express Bus, every hour from the Canterbury Museum in Rolleston Avenue.

Location: 38 Orchard Road, Harewood, Christchurch 8052

Open: 9.00am – 5.30pm daily

Canterbury Museum

If the International Antarctic Centre didn’t fill your appetite for icy treasures then the Canterbury Museum, first opened in 1876, set on Rolleston Avenue sure will. The imposing museum has an internationally acclaimed Antarctic collection too, and chronicles some of the heroic explorers of that continent.

The museum has much more to offer though. It showcases the history of the Canterbury region, both from the perspective of European settlers and the Maoris, including extensive galleries featuring tools and implements they used when they first arrived on New Zealand’s shores. There are actually more than 2.3 million treasures within the museum’s grounds, with a key highlight being the Christchurch Street and Victorian Museum, which recreates the city in the 19th century.

As with most modern museums, there are also temporary exhibitions and displays which are usually worth a visit. When we were in Christchurch this included a showcase of New Zealand’s ‘lost monsters’ through a fascinating exploration of fossils.

Entry to the museum is free of charge.

Location: Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013

Open: 9.00am – 5.30pm daily

Insider Tip: In case you didn’t notice, the museum is located within the Botanic Gardens. So if you missed them yesterday, then you can visit today!

Christchurch Art Gallery

There is more than one art gallery in Christchurch, but the king of them all is the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, more commonly known as the just the Christchurch Art Gallery. This is a striking, modern building, notably since it only opened in 2003, after replacing the older Robert McDougall Gallery.

You’ll find everything from older fine art to more contemporary works, with a great mix of international and local art on display. If you’re the type that prefers a guided experience, the gallery offers entirely free tours daily at 11.00am and 2.00pm which last about an hour.

Location: Montreal Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013

Open: 10.00am – 5.00pm daily (open late on Wednesdays until 9.00pm)

Keen on more art? You can also visit the Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) or Art Box Gallery.

Day 3 – Explore Akaroa and Banks Peninsula

Just 90 minutes from Christchurch is the Banks Peninsula Volcano, an extinct volcano complex that erupted about 6 million years ago. The complex includes two major points of interest, the two eruptive centres now located at the Lyttelton Harbour and the small but quaint town of Akaroa. Our advice? Spend a day driving out and see some of the amazing sights of Akaroa and surrounds!

Now you can do the drive two ways: directly along the highway to Akaroa or the ‘scenic route’ where you go via Lyttelton. We’ve taken the latter option (you can always return via the highway), but if you want to shorten the day trip, just skip all the bits until the Hilltop Lookout, and then continue on this itinerary.

Lyttelton Harbour Lookout

If you drive out to Lyttelton, there is a lookout point (we’ve also provided an interactive map for all the points below), where you can get a good view of the harbour below. It’s not magical (we warned you), but its on the way to your next lookout point anyway!

Port Hills Lookout

If you turn left at the Lyttelton harbour, you’ll eventually ascend all the way up the Port Hills as if you were ascending to the cable car or gondola spot from the opposite side. We loved driving up in the hills here since we encountered virtually no other cars. When we were there, we saw loads of hikers and cyclists taking advantage of the winding roads.

Governor’s Bay

Now that you’ve seen Lyttelton (the one eruptive centre), it’s time to travel to Akaroa. You’ll do this via a gorgeous, scenic coastal road where you’ll want to pull over at virtually every second bend to take a photograph of the brilliant blue bay before you. You’ll pass through tiny towns like Cass Bay and Rapaki before you hit Governor’s Bay. Here we’d definitely suggest pulling over for a photo stop.

Birdling’s Flat

Back onto the road to Akaroa, we think it’s worth taking a ten minute detour down to Birdling’s Flat. Once you see the turn-off sign, hang a right and you’ll travel down the main road until you hit the beach. Birdling’s Flat is a almost deserted pebble beach with towering cliffs either side it, making it a pretty atmospheric place. We spent a bit of time there trying to build rock castles and just taking in the view.

Little River

This hamlet on the way to Akaroa has become a bit of an art haven, and there are a number of great little arts and crafts shops to frequent there. Even if you don’t have much time, just stop off at the Visitor Centre to buy a trinket, take a snap with the old fire-engine red train on the tracks and get an ice-cream.

The Hilltop Lookout

As you’re rounding the bend and going down into the valley towards Akaroa on the last stretch, you’ll pass the Hilltop Tavern, which boasts the Hilltop Lookout. While the restaurant has some delicious fare (you can definitely stop there for lunch!), at a bare minimum you should pull into the parking lot and take a photograph looking out towards the town. At that spot you’ll literally be standing on the rim of an extinct volcano or crater, which is a pretty spectacular feeling!

Stroll around Akaroa

Now the town of Akaroa itself also has some great things to keep you occupied. This French-infused town is really a charming ‘resort’ town, with only a few hundred inhabitants. However, because of its natural beauty and close proximity to Christchurch, it swells to a few thousand at weekends.

Our favourite thing to do in Akaroa was simply walking down main street and admire some of the old buildings, popping into the little boutiques, buying souvenirs and sitting on the pier, watching the boats bobbing on the water. That said, there is a lot to be said for the cuisine in the town. You can down a few beers at the Harbar Beach bar and kitchen, which juts out over the water, or find fine French cuisine at Ma Maison, a delectable dining experience on the waterfront. Our pick, however, was the Sweet As Bakery on the main road. Absolutely delicious Chantilly cream crepes (that tasted just as good as those in Paris), easy panini choices and a lovely courtyard filled with rambling bougainvillea; all at pretty reasonable prices.

If you do want to try something different, we’d also highly recommend you book a boat tour while in Akaroa, ideally the highly acclaimed one with Black Cat Cruises – book it here. This is a two hour nature cruise that has won a slew of awards, for good reason. You’ll see hector dolphins, penguins and seals from the deck of a catamaran while getting the history of the town from a very knowledgeable skipper. More than just wildlife, the tour also showcases ancient lava flows including ‘Scenery Nook, a jaw-dropping pink volcanic ‘amphitheatre’.

Interactive Map for the day trip to Akaroa

Bonus activities to add to your Christchurch itinerary

Sumner Beach

If you’re looking for a bit more beach action/relaxation while you are in Christchurch, the best one in the area is Sumner Beach. Now this beach isn’t winning any prizes for its beauty and isn’t going on the front of a postcard anytime soon – it’s a little muddy-looking plus is interrupted by rocky outcrops with caves, known as Cave Rock. You can actually walk in the caves at low tide. But, regardless of its mediocre looks, its still a good beach if you’re craving one.

Shopping at Ballantynes

It was New Zealand’s first ever department store, started as a drapery business back in 1854. Today Ballantynes remains the flagship (and only local) department store in the city and is where you need to go for high-end homeware, cosmetics and clothing. It does have a slightly chequered history though, which might attract you even more if you’re the ‘dark tourist’ sort. 41 people died in a fire at Ballantynes in 1947, which the store later took responsibility for (along with the fire brigade). It was also closed for eight months after the 2011 earthquakes.

Day trip to Hanmer Springs

Only 90 minutes’ drive from Christchurch and really worth at least a day trip, Hanmer Springs has loads of fantastic hiking and adventure activities to try out, whether you’re keen to tick a bungy jump off the bucket list, try out the famous New Zealand river jet boating, or even try some white water rafting, there is something for everyone in this small alpine town. And not forgetting that the thermal spa at Hanmer Springs is an absolute must! Luckily, we’ve got a list of things to do in Hanmer Springs for you – check it out here.

Day trip to Kaikoura

We were lucky enough to stop in Kaikoura during our bus ride between Christchurch and Blenheim, and wish we’d had more time to explore this seaside town, also since it had been recommended to us by so many New Zealanders! Kaikoura, situated about 2 and a half hours from Christchurch, has its own history with earthquakes – it suffered a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2016 which has been called the ‘most complex earthquake ever studied’.

Putting the disaster aside, there is heaps to do in Kaikoura. You can go whale watching, walk along the beach, visit a lavender farm, walk around the local museum and, our favourite, just pop in at the eclectic mix of shops and restaurants dotted along the coastal road. We particularly loved Jade Kiwi, a local store which features the best of New Zealand’s crafts – everything in the store felt so tastefully selected and personal, and we wished we had more space in our backpacks!

Where to stay in Christchurch?

Budget: The best hostel in town is probably Foley Towers. This is a massive property including beautiful gardens, soft beds, a laundry and fast, free wifi! That said, if you need a property near the airport, we stayed at Jucy Snooze and thought it was fantastic value!

Mid-range: It would be great to have a little self-catering place, and Terra Vive offers the best option in town. These well-appointed apartments are within walking distance of the city centre and include everything you need including fully equipped kitchen and satellite TV.

Luxury: Our pick is The George, one of the best luxury boutique hotels in the city. It has a great central location overlooking Hagley Park and the Avon River, and is renowned for its incredible service!

Campervan / Holiday Park: If you’re doing the campervan route, then we highly recommend 219 on St Johns. This was a very easy holiday park to love – great, clean shower blocks, wonderful staff who look after you and its in a very convenient location, situated near the airport and all the campervan return locations!

Getting to Christchurch

Flights

So if you’re coming from overseas, Christchurch is actually surprisingly accessible. We flew directly in from Brisbane, but a few of the big carriers are now flying directly into Christchurch (from Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai) or many services via Australian west coast cities.

There are also loads of domestic flights from across both the north and south islands. If you’re looking for the best options and cheapest prices, check out the latest here with Skyscanner.

Ferry

If you’re coming over from the North Island in a car or campervan, the ferry crossing is really easy, and on a sunny day you get some beautiful sightseeing of the Sounds too. When you land into Picton, take highway 1 all the way to Christchurch.

Bus

The long range coach services are also really great. We actually took the Intercity coach service between Christchurch and Blenheim. They have some really great Flexible Travel Pass options, so if you aren’t too keen on the camper or self-drive, this is a great alternative to consider. Check them out here.

Self-drive

Many people find themselves in Christchurch ith a rental car or campervan. For rental cars, we are always quite happy with Thrifty, and have found we often get an upgrade with them. Check out their latest deals here.

For campervans, we suggest using a bigger operator like Britz.

Where else should you go on New Zealand’s South Island?

Milford Sound

Technically a fiord (or fjord), not a sound (the difference being that a fiord is created by a glacier whereas a sound by a river), Milford Sound is one of the most iconic places in New Zealand. Set in Fiordland National Park, we were unable to get down to Milford Sound on this trip, but it has pretty much gone right to the top of our bucket list!

You are able to access Milford Sound by camper or car from Queenstown, but make sure that you look into boat trips, the scenery is out of this world. Check out some options here.

If you’re also keen trekkers like us, then you have to make sure that the Milford Track is on your itinerary! This is quite literally one of the most beautiful walks in the world. But you’ll need to allow yourself 3 to 4 days to complete the full 50km walk! If you don’t have that time, check out these shorter options.

Queenstown

The place for adrenaline junkies, Queenstown is a must on any South Island New Zealand itinerary. Whether you want to try your hand at bungy jumping (the sport was pretty much invented here) to great mountain biking, jet boating, sky diving, to skiing in winter, this alpine town has it all.

Check out here, all the best activities to do when in Queenstown.

Make sure you head to Ferburger for dinner when in town, it’s a Queenstown institution. Insider tip: order online and avoid waiting in the queue for your burger.

Mount Cook National Park

The highest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook, is set in the Mount Cook National Park (also known as Aoraki National Park) – and it’s actually surprisingly accessible from Christchurch, only around 4 hours drive. Although it’ll definitely take you a lot longer as you’ll want to stop at many places along this drive! Especially, Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki.

The National Park has some incredible walks. If you’re looking for something relatively easy, we’d definitely suggest the Tasman Glacier View Track, a 30 minute round trip and with good weather you can see Mount Cook! If you’re keen on a bit more of a hike, check out the Hooker Valley Track. It’s a 3 hour return journey, but is relatively flat and easy, but you’ll be rewarded for the little extra effort!

If you’re looking for something really special why not try a scenic flight and hike, without doubt the best way to see this stunning region.

Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier

A place that was on our list for our recent trip to New Zealand, but unfortunately an area we couldn’t access because of flooding (the road washed away), it’s also been added to our return to the South Island bucket list!

The two glaciers, that come sweeping down from the Southern Alps are two of the most accessible glaciers in the world, and a must-see place in New Zealand. James was actually lucky enough to climb (part of the way) up the Franz Josef Glacier and highly recommends it as an amazing experience. Check it out here.

Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki

Both Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki are only a 3 and 3.5 hour drive away from Christchurch, so if you’re only based in Queenstown, you may be able to combine this into a (relatively long) day trip as part of your Christchurch itinerary. But they are so worth it, with Lake Pukaki being our favourite place we visited while in the South Island. Think turquoise blue lakes, mountains and freedom camping. What more could you want?

Insider Tip: As you arrive at Lake Pukaki, take Hayman Road and you’ll find some very secluded freedom camping spots!

Lake Wanaka

Only a short drive from Queenstown, and you’ll find another stunning lake, Lake Wanaka, this time overlooking the equally beautiful Mount Aspiring National Park.

Make sure you stop into Arrowtown on your journey between Wanaka and Queenstown, not only can you try your hand at gold mining, the town is really cute and the local bakery has the best pies in New Zealand. Win, win, win.

Insider tip: if you’re looking for the best place to stay, actually get out of Lake Wanaka and head up towards Lake Hawea, the drive up towards the Haast Pass is beautiful, and there are some great places to camp (check out the DoC facilities at Kidds Bush Reserve).

Blenheim

You obviously can’t head to the South Island without visiting the Marlborough region and sampling some of the best wine in the world. Around 4 hours drive from Christchurch, Blenheim is another must-stop location, with easy access to the Marlborough Sounds and wineries, it makes for a perfect 2 to 3 day jaunt.

If we had to pick just one winery that you had to visit, then it would be Cloudy Bay. Award winning wine, a great set up and very relaxing atmosphere.

So what do you think of our Christchurch 3 day itinerary? Let us know in the comments below if we’ve missed anything off or get in touch with us here.

What camera equipment and other gear do we use?

We’re living proof that you don’t need the most expensive gear to travel the world and take good photos. Here are some of our must have items that make it into the packing list for all our travels.

Disclosure: The Travel Scribes were very fortunate to be hosted by Christchurch Attractions for the Christchurch Tramway Tour and Christchurch Gondola. However, all views are our own, and we are not paid to include Christchurch Attractions as part of our itinerary, but rather have included it as we believe that they are both must-do activities as part of any Christchurch itinerary.


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