No matter your age or interests, you’ll set off your fun meter in Christchurch. It might include swimming in the surf in the morning and shredding snow in the afternoon, or you might prefer to stroll the museums and stunning gardens of the city. If you want to get the most out of your time in Christchurch, consider adding these six must-see sights and destinations to your itinerary.
Air Force Museum Of New Zealand
The Air Force Museum of New Zealand is a testament to the history of the country’s military aviation. You can view life-sized models of fighter jets and helicopters or check out the galleries dedicated to New Zealand’s World War I and World War II airmen. Three daily tours provide behind-the-scenes access to the history of the most iconic aircraft.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
If you take a trip to the Avon River or Hagley Park, be sure to stop by the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The 21 hectares of sprawling greens spotlight some of the most exotic plant life in the region, including 250 variations of modern cultivar roses and specimens from every continent except Antarctica. Be sure to check out the Central Rose Garden, which is one of the largest displays of its kind in Australasia.
Garden City Helicopter
There is no better way to see Christchurch than via a spectacular aerial view. Garden City Helicopters lifts you to explore the endless blue waters, bustling city, and rolling vineyards from thousands of metres in the air. Packages range from scenic 20-minute flights above the region to six-hour trips to Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain.
If a helicopter tour is too much, explore the city from above with a trip on the Christchurch Gondola. The soaring suspended ride offers birds-eye views of the valley and mountainsides. Tours run daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are kid-friendly. The top of the tour is the money shot. You’ll get a 360-degree view and try some delicious snacks at the Red Rock Café. The ride also comes with a trip down the Time Tunnel, which serves up a dramatic reconstruction of the region’s history.
Explore the wealth of cultural and natural diversity of the region at the Canterbury Museum. The 150-year-old institution illuminates a treasure trove of collections, including Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House, the Bird Hall, and The Water Project. Currently, the museum has more than 2.3 million items and artifacts in its possession. What’s more, admission is free.
If you want to venture outside of Christchurch, head north to wine country. There, you can sample some of the most exceptional beverages in the country’s fastest-growing wine region. Currently, the Waipara Valley covers more than 1,2000 hectares with more than 75 vineyards, thanks to its fertile soils and mountain-moderated climates.
The region’s geography and climate give Waipara wines distinctive characteristics. Wineries in the area deliver a richness and spice that distinguishes their pinot noirs and rieslings. When you visit, you can also wrap your taste buds around some one-of-a-kind pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnays.
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