Christchurch, New Zealand | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is New Zealand's third most-populous urban area behind Auckland and Wellington.

Christchurch was established in 1850 by Anglican English settlers and this heritage shows in its fine older buildings, especially the neo-gothic buildings in the cultural precinct along Worcester Boulevard and Rolleston Ave. The River Avon meanders through the central city and disrupts the otherwise regular rectangular layout of the city streets.

Christchurch is known as the Garden City, a well-deserved name. Looking from a few floors up, one is struck by the number of trees that grow like a forest throughout the suburbs.

The central business district is undergoing a major rebuild after earthquakes. All areas... Read more

Christchurch, New Zealand


Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is New Zealand's third most-populous urban area behind Auckland and Wellington.

Christchurch was established in 1850 by Anglican English settlers and this heritage shows in its fine older buildings, especially the neo-gothic buildings in the cultural precinct along Worcester Boulevard and Rolleston Ave. The River Avon meanders through the central city and disrupts the otherwise regular rectangular layout of the city streets.

Christchurch is known as the Garden City, a well-deserved name. Looking from a few floors up, one is struck by the number of trees that grow like a forest throughout the suburbs.

The central business district is undergoing a major rebuild after earthquakes. All areas are now accessible and the city remains a major gateway to the rest of the South Island.

Christchurch has a rich English heritage. This is shown in the older buildings, especially in the cultural precinct along Worcester Boulevard (which is open from the Avon River towards the west), where most heritage buildings remain.

  • i-Site Visitor Centre, 28 Worcester Boulevard (The Arts Centre), ☎ +64 3 379-9629, toll-free: 0800 423 783, e-mail: Daily 08:30-17:00. Free booking service for accommodation, activities, and transport. 


Christchurch has a temperate climate with moderate rainfall. Under the Köppen climate classification, Christchurch has an oceanic climate (Cfb). Summer in the city is mostly warm but is often moderated by a sea breeze from the Northeast. A record temperature of 41.6 °C (107 °F) was reached in February 1973. A notable feature of the weather is the nor'wester, a hot föhn wind that occasionally reaches storm force, causing widespread minor damage to property. Christchurch experiences the urban heat island phenomenon, similar to cities such as Tokyo, London, and New York City, making temperatures feel warmer than they actually are within the inner city regions.

In winter it is common for the temperature to fall below 0 °C (32 °F) at night. There are on average 80 days of ground frost per year. Snowfalls occur on average three times per year, although in some years no snowfall is recorded. The coldest temperature recorded was −7.1 °C (19 °F) on 18 July 1945, the third-lowest recorded temperature of New Zealand's major cities.

On cold winter nights, the surrounding hills, clear skies, and frosty calm conditions often combine to form a stable inversion layer above the city that traps vehicle exhausts and smoke from domestic fires to cause smog. While not as bad as smog in Los Angeles or Mexico City, Christchurch smog has often exceeded World Health Organisation recommendations for air pollution. To limit air pollution, the regional council banned the use of open fires in the city in 2006. In 2008, the council prohibited the use of wood burners more than 15 years old, while making funding available to upgrade domestic home heating systems.

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Christchurch, New Zealand: Port Information

Cruise liners dock at the Lyttelton Inner Harbor. You can get to the town center on foot.
The center of Christchurch is about a 30-minute ride. Usually, cruise companies provide free shuttle service. Public buses and taxis are available.

Get around Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch is mostly flat, so many people get around on bicycles. Bicycle lanes have been added to many streets to promote cycling.

Navigation by car or bicycle is generally simple due to the grid layout, but watch out for one-way streets and bus-and-taxi-only intersections in the central city. Parking in the city uses a pay and display system. You can pay with coins, credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Amex) or with a mobile phone text message then display the ticket with the expiry time visible on the curbside dash.

Public bus services cover the whole city (and the areas of interest for a visitor that may lie outside the central city, such as Sumner and New Brighton Beaches, Lyttelton, Gondola, etc). In some areas, buses may be infrequent, particularly on the weekends when there may only be one or two buses per hour. 

The restored Christchurch Tramway runs in a smaller loop around the inner city.

Electric scooter sharing company Lime is popular and widely available throughout the city center. There are bike paths dedicated for scooter rides. It is the most convenient way to get from point to point.

Car ride sharing company, Uber, is available in Christchurch.

What to see in Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Christchurch Cathedral (de-consecrated) ruins built between 1864 and 1904 in Cathedral Square and its replacement "Cardboard Cathedral", at 234 Hereford Street, an easy walk North West of its beloved forebear. There is no public car parking at the Cathedral.
  • Arts Centre, Worcester Boulevard. Gothic Revival stonework of former University campus. This area was damaged during the 22 Feb 2011 earthquake. While reconstruction work is taking place these buildings are closed to the general public and will be for several years. However, the beauty and historical significance of these building can still be appreciated by viewing them from surrounding streets such as Worcester Boulevard and Hereford Street and the excellent Canterbury Cheesemongers still operates from a modern building within its precincts.
  • Christchurch Art Gallery, Worcester Boulevard and Montreal St (one block east of Botanic Gardens). +64 3 941-7300. Th-Tu 10:00-17:00, W 10:00-21:00. Spectacular facility opened in 2003, the largest in the South Island, with over 5000 items and visiting exhibitions.
  • Air Force Museum, former Wigram Airfield, Main South Road, ☎ +64 3 343-9542. 10:00-17:00 daily. Opened in 1987 before the closure of the Christchurch RNZAF base, this museum has full-size replicas of fighting planes and dramatizes the history of New Zealand's Air Force from World War I to Vietnam and beyond. 
  • Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave, car park entrance Armagh St, +64 3 941 7590. Gates open 07:00 until one hour before sunset. 30 hectares of exotic and indigenous plants and trees wrapped in a loop of the picturesque Avon River and linking to the 160-hectare Hagley Park. These put the "Garden" in the "Garden City", and the combined total with Hagley Park makes them the second largest inner city park in the world (after New York's Central Park).
  • Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Ave at end of Worcester Blvd (adjoining Botanic Gardens), +64 3 366- 5000. 09:00-17:30 daily summer, 09:00-17:00 winter. Includes colonial, Maori and natural history sections, Antarctic exploration display, and visiting exhibitions. 
  • Ferrymead Heritage Park, Ferrymead Park Dr (Ferry Rd east from city, or take the 30 Sumner bus from the Bus Exchange and to the Heathcote River Bridge, then first right down Bridle Path Rd), +64 3 384 1970. 10:00-16:30 daily. A recreated Edwardian township and museum with horse and carriage (daily), tram (weekends and school/public holidays) and train (first and third Sunday) rides. Due to the voluntary nature of the historical societies managing Ferrymead, not all attractions may be running at all times. Special events are often held and the park has been used to film the TV One reality show 'Colonial House'. Admission price is based on whether trams/trains are operating or not, and include unlimited rides if available. 
  • International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Airport, +64 3 353 7798 (toll-free 0508 736 4846 within NZ). 09:00-17:30. A world-class Antarctic experience with simulated polar weather, Hagglund All-Terrain Vehicle ride, penguins, extensive exhibits about Antarctic science missions, cafe and gift shop. 
  • Orana Wildlife Park, McLeans Island Rd (10 min drive W of airport), +64 3 359 7109. 10:00-17:00 daily, last entrance 16:30. New Zealand's largest wildlife sanctuary and conservation project featuring endangered animals from around the world. The park's design minimizes fences and cages in favor of natural boundaries and habitats. Lion Encounter (limited 20 tickets per day, participants must be above 1.4 meters in height).
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, 60 Hussey Rd (off Gardiners Rd), +64 3 359 6226. A smaller park than Orana, with a focus on New Zealand species including kiwi in a natural environment.
  • Yaldhurst Museum, Main West Rd (near the airport, first right past Yaldhurst Hotel), +64 3 342 7914. 10:00-17:00 daily (17:00-21:00 by arrangement for groups of 10 or more). Mostly interesting for its collection of over 150 classic and vintage vehicles. 
  • Riccarton Bush. The last remaining forest remnant on the Canterbury plains is in Christchurch city. If your time is limited in NZ, this is a great way to experience an example of the country's native forests. The circular track passes under tall Kahikatea trees, and there is a diversity of small trees, shrubs, climbers and ferns. Christchurch's oldest house, Dean's Cottage (built 1843) is adjacent. Five minutes drive from the central city and easily accessible by bus.
  • Earthquake Tourism Tours of affected sites are available. Visitors can also make their own way to sites of significance such as Christchurch Cathedral (viewed from Gloucester/Colombo St); the Catholic Basilica (South Barbadoes St, just north of Moorhouse Ave) and the Cardboard Cathedral (Barbadoes/Hereford). Memorial sites include the 185 white chair memorial (Barbadoes/Cashel) and the site of the CTV building (Barbadoes/Cashel).

What to do in Christchurch, New Zealand

  • The Summit Road, drive it or bike it or take a bus then walk it. The road (and the Crater Rim Walkway) traverses the crest of the Port Hills, which separate Christchurch from Lyttelton Harbour. Breathtaking views over Christchurch, the Southern Alps, Pegasus Bay, Lyttelton Harbour, and Banks Peninsula - often all from the same vantage point. Lots of sheep on the walkways, some of which traverse working farms. (It is not possible to drive along all of Summit Road because it is closed due to earthquake damage).
  • Lyttelton, the port over the hill from the city, is accessible by car/bus through the tunnel. Although only 15 km (9 mi) from the central city, it feels like another world entirely, with its cafes bars shops and locals, its ever-busy port, its stunning hilly backdrop, and beautiful harbor.
  • Punting on the Avon, punts depart from Antigua Boatsheds. Glide down the river in Cambridge University style with a uniformed boatsman.
  • Antigua Boatsheds, 2 Cambridge Ter, +64 3 366 5885. Boat hire from historic British boatsheds for a hands-on water experience. 09:30-17:30 daily summer, 09:30-16:30 winter.
  • Christchurch Casino, 30 Victoria Street, +64 3 365 9999. Open 24 hours except 25 Dec, Good Friday, ANZAC Day. Dress code (jeans now allowed). You get a free meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) if it is your birthday (booking essential, e.g. by phone).
  • Christchurch Gondola, base station 10 Bridle Path Rd (take 28 Lyttelton Bus from the Bus Exchange), +64 3 384 0700, [43]. Ride in the enclosed gondola car up to the summit of the Port Hills then view the Heritage Time Tunnel, take an outdoor nature walk, or eat at the cafe.
  • Adventure Ride (Guided off-road motorcycle tours), ☎ +64 274 510 584. 10 days. All tours include an experienced guide, transport from Christchurch, motorcycle or ATV rental, fuel, insurance, riding gear, lunch and support vehicle.
  • Southern White Water (Guided rafting fishing or hunting tours), ☎ +64 3 944 1246. All tours include an experienced guide, transport to and from Christchurch, fuel, wet weather gear, lunch. Overnight tours (1-5 days trips) also include camping accommodation and all meals.

Christchurch has the busiest program of annual festivals of any New Zealand city.
  • Summertimes runs from December through to late February and includes a number of major free events in Hagley Park, which attract audiences of up to 100,000. It consists of music, arts, culture and sporting events.
  • The World Buskers Festival. Runs for two weeks in January and usually features about 30 comedy, street, and circus acts from around the globe.
  • The Festival of Romance lasts for 10 days leading up to Valentine's day and includes a range of romantic activities.
  • The Christchurch Garden Festival takes place in March.
  • Kidsfest is on during the midwinter school holiday.
  • The Christchurch Arts Festival is the largest arts festival on South Island and takes place every second year in mid-winter. 
  • Carnival Week is centered around a number of events taking place in November - Guy Fawkes' night (a major public firework display at New Brighton Pier), the two New Zealand Cup (trotting and galloping) horse racing meetings, and the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral show, which is the largest in the country. 
  • Carols by Candlelight is a longstanding tradition on Christmas Eve, now held in Victoria Square.

What to eat and drink in Christchurch, New Zealand


  • Buy from a local supermarket, the yellow colored Pak'n'Save is cheapest. New World has greater product variety, but do not focus on having extremely cheap specials.
  • Fruit and vegetable shops offer locally grown high quality produce for prices often much cheaper than supermarkets. The Funky Pumpkin is one.
  • Perry's Cafe, 145 Madras St (opposite Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology). M-F 08:00-17:00. Surprisingly good cafeteria-style food with touches of cafe class, gets crowded around lunchtime. 
  • Dux Dine, 28 Riccarton Rd, ☎ +64 3 348-1436 This is the award-winning successor restaurant to the famous Dux de Lux venue that was smashed in the earthquake - but a good 2000m east, across Hagley Park. Offering good seafood and vegetarian options you will find no meat on their menu.
  • Strawberry Fare, 19 Bealey Ave (Hagley Park end, on Calton Mill Cnr) ☎ +64 3 365-4897 In the heart of Christchurch, Strawberry Fare carries an extensive menu of modern interpreted New Zealand dishes as well as many dessert dishes to die for. Reservations are required M-F 07:00-late, Sa-Su 08:30-late.
  • Under the Red Verandah, 502 Worcester St ☎ +64 3 381-1109. Closed M. Under the Red Verandah offers a range of food incorporating fair trade coffee, free range eggs, and gluten-free baked goods.

Christchurch's Asian district is mainly in the Riccarton/Upper Riccarton area.
  • Chinese: Church Corner is often considered Christchurch's unofficial 'Chinatown'. It offers many shops, for example, Chinese supermarkets, all kinds of Asian restaurants and more.
  • Korean: There are many Korean restaurants in the (unofficial) Chinatown area, and down in the shopping precinct near Westfield Riccarton. KOSCO, a Korean supermarket, has several branches in Christchurch, including one in Riccarton.


  • Bog Irish Pub. Located in The Speights Ale House, 263 Bealey Ave.
  • Aikmans Bistro & Bar, an upscale drinking spot in the trendy Merivale area. 154 Aikmans Rd, Merivale.
  • Speights Ale House Tower Junction. A relaxed atmosphere bar, a great place for meals. Tower Junction Mega Centre, 55 Clarence St, Riccarton.
  • The Watershed Restaurant & Bar. Overlooking the waterfront in Ferrymead. 12/23 Humphrey's Drive, Ferrymead.
  • The Craic Irish Bar, 84 Riccarton Rd.

Shopping in Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Ballantynes, corner of Colombo and Cashel, Tel: +64 3 379 7400. The major upmarket department store. Open seven days.
  • Locals tend to shop at the many suburban malls, the largest of which are Westfield Riccarton, Northlands and The Palms in Shirley.
  • The Warehouse. Common throughout New Zealand, and with several stores in Christchurch, these big red stores contain a variety of bottom-end products including clothing, tools, camping equipment, toys, music, etc. Their motto is "where everyone gets a bargain", most things are made in China, and prices are cheap.
  • Riccarton Rotary Market. Su 09:00-14:00 - wet or fine. Selling all sorts of things from plants, fruit, and vegetables to kiwi souvenirs and cheap Asian wares. Has performances, bouncy castles and food.
  • Christchurch Farmers Market. Meet the growers, farmers, brewers and other artisan producers. A lively affair which takes place every Saturday morning between 09:00 and 12:00 on the grounds of Riccarton House.
  • Christchurch Artisan Market. Takes place at Riccarton House on Sundays between 11:00 and 15:00. In addition to ready to eat foods, you will find arts and crafts made locally.

Safety in Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch has a problem with smog during the winter, but only at night. Although conditions have improved over the years due to the intervention of the city council, take care venturing out on calm frosty evenings if you have a breathing-related medical condition.

While violent crime is relatively rare, some people do have a tendency towards aggression when drunk, as in most cities. Linwood is one of the lower socio-economic areas of Christchurch, and is rougher than some other neighborhoods, but is still considered safe. Avoid dark alleyways and confrontations and, if in doubt, make haste to a populated area and call the police (dial 111).

Aftershocks from the 2010-11 earthquakes have long since subsided. There is still a risk of another major earthquake rocking Christchurch, but the chances are comparable to any other New Zealand city.
  • Christchurch Central Police Station, 68 St Asaph St (cnr Antigua St), ☎ +64 3 363-7400. 
  • 24 Hour Surgery, 401 Madras St (just south of Bealey Ave), ☎ +64 3 365 7777. 24 hours. Urgent accident and medical center, with on-site facilities for fractures. 

Language spoken in Christchurch, New Zealand

English is the predominant language.


6:58 am
December 2, 2021


14.39 °C / 57.902 °F
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20.46 °C/69 °F
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21.22 °C/70 °F
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22.8 °C/73 °F
overcast clouds

13.39 °C/56 °F
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