Christchurch Things to Do Tips by fishandchips Top 5 Page for this destination
Christchurch Things to Do: 435 reviews and 737 photos
In the comfy seats at Hoyts
The visit to the movie theatre died off several years ago as Videos etc came out and people could watch movies in the own home. There used to be around 6 separate movie theatres in and around the Cathedral Square alone. Now there is only one (Regent) with the Holy Grail bar keeping the big screen from the Avon movie theatre that was located in the same building.
A new style of theatre experience kicked off a hand full of years ago in the small and very cramped Hoyts theatres with a 'pack 'em in and show as many movies as possible in one day' approach. Hoyts nearly got killed off by a new player in Readings who provided an experience with a large comfortable seat with lots of leg room. Hoyts finally changed their ways and have now installed seating with their customers in mind. If you can stand the crowds you can get a cheap deal on a Tuesday otherwise it's around $15 to see a movie at Hoyts - when you add in popcorn etc it's a $50 outing unless you bring your own food. For some movies though it's a must do, experiencing a movie on the big screen!!
At Southern Encounter you can get your hands wet in the touch tank, see Kiwi's, have a chat with Max the Octopus and gaze upon Tuatara and Turtles.
The kiwihouse has a reversed light cycle (as the kiwi are nocturnal birds) so they are out when you are and you can see the endangered North Island Brown kiwi. If you time it right you can see a diver feeding the giant eels at around 11am. The other marine species are fed at 3pm.
Southern Encounter is located beside the visitor centre in Cathedral Square so easy to find. The cost is $15 for adults and $5 for kids with cheaper deals for families. It is open between 9am & 4:30pm every day except Xmas.
Victoria Lake can be found in North Hagley Park and is used by many including a model yacht club. The lake was created in 1897 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign. It was originally a swamp of over 1 acre in area (part of which can be seen nearby) and converted into the current lake.
The lake has seen a few changes over the years including New Zealand International Exhibition in 1906-07 which included the building of a Maori pa built next to the lake.
If approached from the car park area (accessed via Armagh St bridge) there is a picnic area with wooden table. It can be a nice area for a rest and watch either the ducks on the lake or the golfers at the nearby golf course.
Some of the Riccarton Bush specimens
Riccarton Bush is Canterbury's sole remnant of the original kahikatea floodplain forest. The 600-year-old kahikatea trees you can see here are the latest generation of a forest that was established on this site 3000 or so years ago. They have survived through two cultural periods, Maori then European, that saw widespread fires sweep the Plains and native vegetation give way to pastoralism and cropping.
A walk around here will let you see many native NZ trees including pokaka, mahoe, cabbage tree, lacebark, Coprosma robusta, mapou, kohuhu, hinau, lancewood and kowhai. The Riccarton Bush Nursery at 21 Kauri Street sometimes has seedlings which you can purchase & start your own native forest..........
Address: 16 Kahu Rd
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is a beautiful place to wander around during the day. It has a wealth of plants to enjoys and many tracks taking you through a great variety of landscapes. This includes Alpine, Succulents, and Tropical.
Of the more famous is the Rose garden which is set up in a big circle. A very large number of varieties which make a spectacular spot to take some photo's. In January and February most of the roses are in full bloom.
There is an okay tea rooms in the middle for when you want to stop for a bite to eat and a pool for the kids (if you have them).
The gates to the gardens close 1/2 an hour after sunset so don't get caught out.
Address: Christchurch, NZ
Directions: A 5 minute walk west from the centre of Christchurch
Most days of the week in the centre of Christchurch, there are a number of stalls in Cathedral Square. The stalls sell all sort of items from jewellery to clothing plus there are a couple of food vendors.
Prices vary greatly with the stall owners often the makers of the item (esp. re the jewellery) so willing to talk price and able to tell you about the item you are looking at.
The stalls come and go depending on the number of visitors and the time of year with the busiest period from January to March.
Christchurch has a multitude of festivals. Ranging from the International buskers festival to the Christchurch Arts festival there is often something special going on in Christchurch.
The festival list includes - Buskers in January, Global Extravaganza in February, Flowers in march, Jazz & Blues in April, Music in July, Film Festival in August, Cultural festival in August and Writers in September. There is also the Festival of Romance which is part of the flowers.
Currently the Cathedral Square is adorned with giant flowers, a mini tent city and UFO building all in the name of art.
View out through the interesting windows
The new Art Gallery was opened in 2003 and is a great addition to Christchurch. It has wonderful curving glass facades and spectacular outdoor sculpture. The Gallery has one of the largest permanent collections in New Zealand.
The collection totals over 5,500 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and crafts emphasizes local work. There are regular touring international and national shows as well so there's plenty to see. Entry to the permanent stuff is free with a small charge for the shows (when they are on). The Gallery is open daily 10am-5pm (Wed till 9pm) but closed most public holidays.
The book and gift shop is very good also. It has some excellent New Zealand-made goods as does the in-house craft gallery. The cafe is also not too bad & worth a look when you are in need of a sit down & Latte.
Next door is the Centre of Contemporary Art which is also worth a visit for its exhibitions of New Zealand contemporary art.
Address: Worcester Street
Directions: City Centre
You can find this post in Victoria park on the corner of Colombo and Armagh Sts. It was carved in 1994 from a native Totara tree by artist Riki Henare Manuel. The poupou is carved out of a Totara log one metre in diameter, and was given by a West Coast farmer. It is 6 metres tall.
The post commemerates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by the local Iwi of Akaroa. The Poupou celebrates Maori in Canterbury. The poupou represents all inhabitants of the Christchurch region, their ancestry and their resources. The location of the poupou also relates to the old Pa site Puari, their food resources, and the collection and conservation of these resources.
The carving was commissioned by the City Council in conjunction with the Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Board. Although the work took three years to organise the poupou took only twelve months the complete.
The Gothic Revival Christ Church Cathedral is the centre of Christchurch's Anglican (Church of England) community and where the big ceremonies are held. It comprises main church, 64.5 metre tower and visitor centre (on the left side of the photo). To date it has had 12 deans with the current man, the Very Rev Peter Buck. There are 3938 pipes in the Cathedrals organ.
The cathedral is one of the South Island's most visited attractions with a reported 300,000 plus visitors per year.
Construction started in 1864, just 14 years after the first settlers arrived (then stomped over the hill), and was completed in 1904. It was consecrated in October 1881 making it 125 years old. The church is now Christchurch's most important landmark. The cathedral is open for prayer during the weekdays and Holy Communion is celebrated daily.
It is certainly worth a look and a climb up the 134 steps to have a view over Christchurch is a must.
Address: Cathedral Square
Directions: Right in the middle of Christchurch
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