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Christchurch Main pages Smaller areas Other links

Christchurch (Ōtautahi (in Maori Ngāi Tahu), is often called the The Garden City. Population: 375,900.

Located on the east coast, Christchurch is the South Island's largest city, and the third largest in New Zealand.

From September 2010 Christchurch endured in excess of 11,000 earthquakes for a period spanning more than 2 years, from September 2010 until late 2012. The city is still in recovery but the rebuild is well underway. Thousands of homes were destroyed and many streets have been damaged.

  • On the eastern edge of the city is Pegasus Bay and the Pacific Ocean with safe swimming beaches and good surfing
  • Kaikoura is 2 hours to the North
  • Dunedin is 4-5 hours drive to the South
  • The West Coast is 3 hours drive to the west over Arthurs Pass

Hospitality Networks


BeWelcome has very few active hosts in Christchurch.


There are over 1,100 hosts and Couch Surf locals in Christchurch and a growing community. Regular meetings are held every Wednesday evening. Other activities and social events are listed on the Christchurch group .

Budget accomodation

There is a shortage of backpacker hostels in Christchurch following the earthquakes of 2010/2011. - Search HostelWorld for the latest availability.


- Hitch-hiking - Online safety


  • These first inhabitants were moa-hunting tribes and these were followed by the Waitaha who are thought to have migrated from the east coast of the North Island in the 16th century. This migration was joined by the Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu and continued until about 1830.
  • The first European landed in Canterbury in 1815, 45 years after Captain James Cook sighted what he named "Banks Island", later found to be a peninsula.
  • In 1840 the first Europeans settled on the plains and whaling ships were operating out of Lyttelton by 1850.
  • During 1850-1851 the first organised groups of English settlers, the founders of Christchurch, arrived on the 'first four ships' into Lyttelton Harbour.
  • Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on July 31, 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand.
  • In 1893, New Zealand women were the first in the world to win the right to vote. A memorial to Kate Sheppard, who led the Women's Suffrage movement, can been seen on Oxford Terrace, alongside the Avon River at the Worcester Street corner.
  • Canterbury's economy was built on dairy and sheep products. Canterbury now has a diversified regional economy with growth across a range of sectors.


Christchurch has experienced over 11,000 earthquakes and aftershocks since 4th September 2010. The first earthquake of 7.1 magnitude struck at 4:35am on 4th September 2010 and a more devastating 6.3 magnitude quake struck at 12:51pm on 22nd February 2011. The February quake caused serious damage and 185 deaths, mainly in the central business district of the city. There was substantial damage to the eastern areas of the city. Much of the central business district was cordoned off for up to 2 years following the quakes but all streets are now open. More than 900 damaged buildings were demolished or removed. 2015 saw many new developments reaching completion in the CBD with many more to open during 2016. Many former central city businesses and government offices, have relocated to the western suburbs of Christchurch of Addington, Riccarton, Papanui, and Hornby.

Liquefaction in the eastern suburbs caused major damage to infrastructure such as water supply, electricity, sewers and roads. A huge area in the eastern suburbs was designated as 'Residential Red Zone' and all the houses removed - no decision has been made on the future use of this land. Meanwhile it is a huge area of grassland and trees.

Most backpacker hostels located in the CBD are closed or destroyed. Some hostels are open on Bealey Avenue and Barbadoes Avenue. Search HostelWorld for the latest availability.

Keep up to date with the latest quakes on GeoNet or Quake Live.

Earthquake related news

Christchurch before and after earthquake photos


Things to do and see in Christchurch

Check out the page 100 Things to do in Christchurch for some ideas.


Live Music Venues

  • Dux Live, 363 Lincoln Road, Addington, Christchurch
  • darkroom, 336 St Asaph Street, Christchurch

Keeping Active


  • One hour of access is around $2 at most paid internet cafes.
  • There are free Wifi hotspots around the city on a number of Telecom telephone street boxes.

Most Christchurch Libraries offer free internet via wifi or bring your computer. Free wifi is also available at Riccarton Hoyts movie theatre, and many cafes, coffee shops and bars.

Getting Around



Cash Fare - Single Trip $3.50 - Includes one free transfer within 2 hours

Metrocard - Single Trip $2.50 - Includes unlimited free transfers for the first 2 hours

All Day Travel Pass (with Metro Card) - $5.00 is the maximum you pay per day for as many trips as you like

All Metro buses have a bike rack fitted to the front of the bus. Your bike travels for free. At the Metro Bus Interchange in the central city there is a bike storage room where you can leave your bike. There are also lockers available to store your gear. Showers are available in the unisex toilet area.


  • Cycling is a great way to get around, as the city is flat. There are biking lanes on most of the main arterial roads. There are mountain biking tracks on the nearby Port Hills, McLeans Island near the airport and Bottle Lake Forest, which commences at North Beach. Most city Metro buses, have bike racks to carry cycles. This is handy in inclement weather or to get to Lyttelton, where cycling is not allowed through the tunnel.


Christchurch has a temperate climate. In summer temperatures range from 15 - 35 degrees Celsius but most commonly between 20 - 25 degrees during the daytime and around 9 - 15 at night. Winter temperatures are above freezing except when there are early morning frosts when it can be down to -5. It snows in Christchurch only once or twice each winter.

Forecasts are available from:

Christchurch city

Castle Hill

Ski Field Weather and Snow Reports


Bank's Peninsula

Banks Peninsula, or Horomaka, is a large peninsula on the East of Christchurch city. The Peninsula is of volcanic origin - Lyttelton Harbour and Akaroa Harbour are old craters. It features sheltered bays, sandy beaches, bush clad valleys, rocky coastline and high, wild hills. Boating, Maori history, tramping/hiking, wineries, cheese factory, Hector Dolphin cruises and the harbourside French village of Akaroa, are some of the key Peninsula attractions. Akaroa is a beautiful town 1.5 hours drive from Christchurch. The peninsula has some significant Maori history, including the massacre at Akaroa which focused on Onawe Peninsula.