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About Christchurch

Christchurch is the largest city in New Zealand’s South Island. Nick-named the ‘Garden City’ due to its large public parks and Botanical Garden, the city boasts a wealth of natural beauty and landscapes. It is home to famous natural landmarks, like the Avon River and Hagley Park. Other popular sites include the Canterbury Cathedral and Air Force Museum.

Cheap flights to Christchurch are now available for a limited time only, so book your flight today and experience the eclectic cultures and inspiring scenery this city has to offer! Christchurch is home to Christchurch International Airport (CHC), a 15-minute drive from the city centre. Christchurch International Airport serves a multitude of airlines, including Emirates and Qantas. Direct international flights are not available from Johannesburg or Cape Town, but Jetstar Airways and Singapore Airlines are popular airlines for connecting flights.

Why visit Christchurch

scenic landscapes

Scenic Landscapes

Panoramic views of the city’s beautiful landscapes can be seen from the Christchurch Gondola, while the Waipara Valley offers wine-lovers scenic tours of the wine region.

nature and wildlife

Nature and Wildlife

Adventure seekers will love exploring the trails and beaches off the beaten track in Banks Peninsula, while Orana Wildlife Park allows you to get up close to giraffes and lions.

galleries and museums

Galleries and Museums

Examine the city’s English and Maori influences at the Canterbury Museum, contrasted with the quirky modernisation of New Regent Street and the International Antarctic Centre.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country New Zealand
Currency New Zealand Dollar
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 0.104 NZD
Language English / Māori / NZ Sign Language
Hub Airport Christchurch International Airport (CHC)
Airline Air New Zealand
Time Zone GMT + 13:00
Travel Adaptor Type I

Best time to visit Christchurch

Christchurch is known to be an ‘any time of the year’ destination. Summer time brings the peak season, from November to April. Local travellers take advantage of school holidays from Christmas through to late January, as well as the Easter weekend, so be sure to book accommodation well in advance. If you enjoy winter sports, go between June and August to enjoy the ski slopes, whale watching and thermal hot springs.

Weather & Climate in Christchurch

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 13°C 12°C 11°C 7°C 4°C 2°C 1°C 3°C 5°C 7°C 10°C 12°C
High °C 23°C 22°C 20°C 18°C 14°C 11°C 11°C 12°C 15°C 17°C 19°C 21°C
Rainfall (mm) 46 42 58 53 58 51 68 60 41 44 50 45

Christchurch has certainly bounced back from the unfortunate earthquakes it experienced a few years ago. With its beautiful landscape and wealth of activities, it is one of the most exciting cities on New Zealand’s South Island.

Without losing sight of its cultural heritage, Christchurch is embracing innovative and modern concepts in its reconstruction, bringing a futuristic edge to what is still a picturesque, garden city. An example of this is the use of modifying colourful shipping containers into chic spaces that house everything from bars to book stores. The Re:START mall is a fabulous example of this trend, and a great place to find high fashion and good coffee.

The old English charm is still evident in Christchurch’s public spaces, with punts floating up and down the Avon River, and picnickers enjoying the gardens and parks. If you’re looking for more traditional tourist attractions, visit the Christchurch Art Gallery and the Canterbury Museum.

Compare several airlines, and book your cheap flights to Christchurch online at Travelstart!

South Africans do need a tourist visa to travel anywhere in New Zealand for a stay of up to nine months. It is advised to apply for your visa at least six weeks in advance.

Visit the New Zealand Immigration website for more information on the visa process or see this step-by-step guide on how to apply for your New Zealand visa.

The South African High Commission to New Zealand is situated in Wellington - Level 7, State Insurance Building, 1 Willis Street, Wellington, 6011.

Phone: + 64 4 815 8484.

Christchurch is considered to be an exceptionally safe city. The locals are very honest and friendly towards visitors and will often go out of their way to help you. Apply the usual precautions of being vigilant with your belongings. It is perfectly safe to walk around, although try to avoid walking alone at night, especially in badly lit areas. Taxis are very safe and affordable.

The sun can be particularly strong during summer, so if you plan on being outdoors, pack a strong sunscreen. Weather conditions can change quickly, so always have warm clothes with you if you’re out for the day.

The city has a wide range of pharmacies and hospitals. Should you bring medication from your home country, you’ll need a doctor’s certificate.

Item Cape Town Johannesburg Christchurch
Meal, inexpensive restaurant R 90 R 100 R 193
Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught) R 22 R 20 R 77
Cappuccino (regular) R 19 R 20 R 44
Taxi 1km (normal tariff) R 10 R 12 R 31
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) R 38 R 38 R 227

The heart of Christchurch has the highlights of Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens and River Avon. A short walk from Downtown, you’ll find an array of good restaurants, trendy cafés, and vibrant shopping areas, like Re:start. Due to the earthquake a few years ago, accommodation options are rather limited in the city centre.

For beach lovers, Sumner offers a tranquil, scenic environment where you can take walks amongst the hills and make use of the hiking and biking trails along Taylor’s Mistake beach. You’ll find many accommodation options there to suit your budget and a drive into town only takes 15 minutes.

Banks Peninsula is 40 minutes from Christchurch and there you can indulge in outdoor adventures like kayaking. Explore the aquamarine coves in the harbour town of Akaroa, where you may even spot some dolphins!

The two main forms of transport in Christchurch are taxis and buses. Taxis are easily accessible throughout the city and they carry a standard fare.

A great option for getting around the central area is the Christchurch Shuttle. Not only is this a free service, but the vehicles are environmentally friendly! Hop On/ Hop Off tours along the Christchurch Tramway are a great way to explore the city.

The central bus station (Bus Exchange) is located in Downtown Christchurch and has information regarding schedules and bus routes. You can get an electronic Metroticket for discounted fares if you are staying in the city for a few days.

Renting a car is a popular option if you’re planning on visiting a few cities around the island. The scenic drives and spectacular views only add to the experience and discovery of New Zealand.

Main attractions in Christchurch

Christchurch Gondola

Christchurch Gondola

Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

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