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Top 10 Things to Do in Christchurch

There is so much to do in Christchurch that it leaves visitors literally spoilt for choice. Whether you are into the arts and cultural activities, events and festivals, shopping and eating out or museums and gardens it is all only minutes from 298 Westside Motor Lodge, one of the city's top motels.

The beautiful city of Christchurch is not only famous for its stunning gardens, but also for a plethora of things to do and see. Whether you choose to see Christchurch's many attractions by bicycle, tour bus or on foot, or take advantage of the services of a a Christchurch car hire company, you won't find any difficulty in finding plenty to do. 

Below are 10 attractions in Christchurch that shouldn't be overlooked during your stay at Westside Motel in Christchurch.

1. International Antarctic Centre

Located just 17 minutes' drive from our motel and a short walk to Christchurch International Airport is the International Antarctic Centre.

Twice judged New Zealand's best attraction, the centre is a must see when visiting Christchurch. It is from here that most Antarctic missions are planned. A visit to this tourist attraction will educate and enthrall you about thehuman impact on Antarctica, the wildlife and plant systems and the continent's effect on the rest of the world.

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International Antarctic Centre

2Christchurch Gondola

When visiting a city for the first time, there is no better way to start your trip than to get the best view possible of the area you're going to be exploring. An elevated view of Christchurch and surrounding areas is there for the taking thanks to the 360 degree views on offer atop the Christchurch Gondola.

Located just 15 minutes from Christchurch's city centre and just a minutes' drive further from your Christchurch motel at 298 Riccarton Road, the Christchurch Gondola is open 7 days a week and offers breathtaking views of Christchurch's cityscape, as well as the Canterbury Plains, the beautiful Southern Alps and the dramatic hills of Banks Peninsula.

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Christchurch Gondola

3. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

Just 5 minutes’ drive from your Christchurch motel accommodation establishment is where you’ll find one of the world’s premier military aviation collections.

The Air Force Museum of New Zealand preserves the history of the Royal New Zealand Air Force for reasons of commemoration and inspiration as well as education and enjoyment. There are literally over 1 million collector items on display for visitors to Christchurch to see, including 28 classic aircraft, engines, assorted parts, medals, uniforms and weapons.

If you do head to this must-see tourist attraction, be sure to take one of the tours on offer.

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Air Force Museum of New Zealand

3. Canterbury Museum

Just a short walk from your motel accommodation is the world-renowned Canterbury Museum, featuring a number of outstanding Maori and European exhibits for visitors to Christchurch to discover. 

Rated as #6 Things to Do in Christchurch by TripAdvisor, this must-see museum is housed in a grand historic stone building, quite fittingly in Christchurch’s cultural precinct. It offers a fabulous insight into the natural history, heritage and culture of Christchurch and the entire Canterbury region.

Guided museum tours are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus there is also a café and shop selling quality NZ made products.

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Canterbury museum

4. Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Considered the jewel of the city, Christchurch Botanic Gardens is a must-see during your visit to Christchurch.
Literally just a hop, skip and jump from your motel on Riccarton Road, these gardens boast one of the most impressive collections of both native and exotic New Zealand plants, some of the tallest and largest trees in the country and a variety of other beautiful flora and fauna from around the world. Just over 1 million visitors grace their presence at this wonderful free attraction each year.

The Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre is a stunning multi-purpose building within the grounds of the gardens and features a function room for conferences and weddings, a café and gift shop. It is open daily from 8.30am – 5pm.

Throughout the year, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens hosts various great events including lectures about caring for native plants, the Autumn School Holiday Discovery Trail, the Autumn Art Programme and a talk about Scottish Gardens and Plant Explorers by one of the Botanic Gardens guides.

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Christchurch Botanic Gardens

5. Quake City

Co-ordinated by Canterbury Museum, Quake City is a unique exhibition that was opened in 2013 to provide visitors to Christchurch with an engaging, informative and educational insight into Canterbury earthquakes that took place from 2010 – 2011.

The exhibition was opened to provide visitors and locals of the devastation, tragedies and opportunities that resulted from the earthquakes. Quake City features everything from shattered pieces of glass from Christchurch Cathedral to photos of emergency services teams during the aftermath. The exhibition also pays tribute to those in Christchurch that have been part of the whole recovery process.

Quake City is located on Cashel Street in the middle of the city centre and easily accessible from your Riccarton Road accommodation 298 Westside Motor Lodge. It costs $20 for adults and children accompanied by an adult are free. It is open from 10am – 5pm daily.

Quake City

Quake City Christchurch

6. Hagley Park

Hagley Park features 165 hectares of wide open green spaces and mature woodlands, making it the go-to place to relax and unwind and suck in the fresh air during your trip to Christchurch.

Hagley Park borders the Avon River and Christchurch Botanic Gardens, combining to make the most impressive park area in New Zealand. It has been at the heart of Christchurch since the 1850s, during which time it was set aside for recreation and enjoyment for locals.

Today, Hagley Park is the most popular place in Christchurch to walk, run and cycle. The park is divided into North and South Hagley Parks and features cycle tracks and pathways through and around the park. Hagley Park also features netball courts, a golf course as well as football and rugby pitches. The park also hosts circuses and open-air concerts throughout the year.

You can gain access to and exit Hagley Park anywhere around the perimeter. 

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Hagley Park Christchurch

7. Mountain Biking Port Hills

The Port Hills of Christchurch attracts thousands of locals and visitors every year and is largely regarded as the best place to enjoy panoramic views of Christchurch by day and night.

What will be a surprise to many New Zealand and overseas visitors is that this range of hills is also the go-to location for avid mountain biking enthusiasts. Situated just 10 minutes’ drive from your motel accommodation at Westside Motor Lodge, Port Hills offers an endless network of tracks and views that reach from the Pacific Ocean to the Southern Alps.

The Port Hills are an eroded remnant of the Lyttleton Volcano which erupted millions of years ago. The tracks on Port Hills feature tussock grasslands and rugged rocky outcrops and provide a wonderful opportunity for cyclists to get away from Christchurch city and amongst a stunning natural environment.

During 2015 construction will begin on a $25 million, 358 hectare Adventure Park in the Port Hills. It will include more than 100km of downhill mountain bike routes, a 1.8km chairlift for people and bikes, a 2km zip line through forest, a mountain coaster and a restaurant and bar that will seat up to 180 people.

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Port Hills mountain biking

8. Punting on the Avon River

One of the oldest and still most popular things to do in Christchurch is punting down the tranquil Avon River in Christchurch.

Just a short walk from your Riccarton Road motel is an Avon River Punting Tour company that will slowly propel you down the river on a handcrafted, flat-bottomed boat, poled along by an experienced punter.

Punting on the Avon River is seen as the perfect family or group activity and an eco-friendly way to relax and experience Christchurch’s surrounds from another perspective. You have the choice of heading through Christchurch Botanic Gardens and witnessing Christchurch’s flora and fauna at its best, or the alternative route that takes you through the heart of the city.

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Punting on Avon River Christchurch

9. Akaroa 

If you plan to stay in Christchurch for at least a couple of days, it’s highly recommended that you take the 1 hour and 20 minute drive to experience the alluring French character of the little town called Akaroa.

Situated on the south-eastern side of the deep, sheltered Akaroa Harbour, the township of Akaroa features colonial architecture, galleries, craft stores and cafes.

Once you arrive in Akaroa there is plenty to do. You can take 4WD trips to Flea Bay which is home to the largest little penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Alternatively you can indulge in some sea kayaking amongst spectacular surroundings or even take a harbour nature cruise. There are also cycle tours and a wonderful range of walking tracks. There are plenty of other things to do in Akaroa as well. 

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Akaroa Christchurch

10. Adrenalin Forest

For visitors to Christchurch with a thirst for excitement, a rush or a challenge, be sure to check out Christchurch’s Adrenalin Forest.

Located just 20 minutes from Christchurch city centre, it is an adventure park that allows you to fly, jump, swing and scream through tree tops as part of 2km long obstacle course. There are 7 different courses that range from 1 metre – 20 metres off the ground. Challenges increase in difficulty the higher you get. There are bridges, nets to cross, barrels, swings and flying foxes.

Adrenalin Forest provides a great test of confidence and is affordable fun for the whole family. It is listed as #24 of 131 activities to do in Christchurch.

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Adrenalin Forest Christchurch

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298 Riccarton Road
Upper Riccarton
Christchurch 8041
New Zealand 
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Phone:        (+64) 03 341 7254
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