Christchurch itself is definitely worth a visit, and chances are you’ll be there at one point during your trip around New Zealand. You can see the main attractions of the city in one or two days, depending on how much time you wish to spend on your chosen sights. However, don’t forget that Christchurch’s immediate surroundings are equally attractive and offer a variety of attractions off the beaten track.
You’d be foolish to just visit New Zealand’s Garden City and then head to the next big tourist attraction as advertised in your guidebook. Here are my suggestions for a few half-day or day trips from Christchurch.
A wide, long beach awaits after just a 15 minute drive from the city centre. Sumner is a rather nice suburb of Christchurch, and its beach is very popular with the locals, for a good reason. There’s plenty of parking right next to the beach, and the Eslpanade boosts various eateries, ice cream stands and cafes. There’s even a cinema, for the unlikely event that you’d rather be indoors… Sumner Beach is great for swimming, sunbathing, surfing (there’s even a small surf school), for taking walks and generally being lazy and enjoying the views.
Labelling Lyttelton merely as the port of Christchurch would not do this quirkly little town justice. Lyttelton Harbour is easily reached by bus or by car from the city centre, either through Lyttelton Road Tunnel or over the Port Hills. In my humble opinion, Lyttelton is best described as a quirky, somewhat alternative and also charming little place. Have a wee walk around town and enjoy the eclectic flair of numerous little cafes, pubs and bars. On Saturday mornings between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. there’s a farmers’ market just off Oxford Street, where local vendors sell their fruit and veg, homemade breads, pastries, jams and a delicious hot chocolate from local chocolatiers!
In my next post we’ll venture a little further form the city, for some cultural hertiage, quirky little towns and trips into Canterbury’s beautiful farmland!