Wrapping up the whole of Christchurch in a day’s trip is quite impossible because much of the beauty and history of the city yearns to be explored. However, if a day is all you have here’s Irhal.com’s list of the most important sites you must visit in order to say you’ve truly done the city of Christchurch:
Getting up early and setting out by no later than 9am is ideal, especially if a day is all you have. You will explore the Inner city that is home to the best attractions in town and has some of the most scrumptious eateries clustered close by. Chose the Globe café for a hearty breakfast with freshly baked bread and delicious servings. The café is close to the attractions we will visit today via the Hop on Hop off tram ride. The tram station is located in the city center and you can get further information about ticket rates and departure times from the visitor office I- site (Phone: 03/379-9629; Fax: 03/377-2424). A tram pass will let you get on and off the tram all day and at your chosen destination so that you can explore at your own pace and can stop by for refreshments.
An alternative to the Hop on Hop off tour is to book reservations for the Christchurch Big Five Attractions tour. If you are in a hurry and want to cover only the minimum possible places, then this might be a better choice. The big five attractions tour starts with an engaging visit to the Antarctic Center, an exciting view of native kiwis and their habitat in the Willow Wildlife Park, an adventurous ride of the tram to see the city center and its busy life, a panoramic view of the gardens of the city on a Gondola and finally a two hour harbor cruise to see surrounding lands. The tour departs at 9am in the morning and lasts for about 7 hours.
If you chose the tram ride and a more extended tour of the city then your first stop should be the Christchurch Cathedral with its dominating grey stone building and intricate architecture. Close by to the cathedral are the Arts Center and the Art Galley with beautiful pictures and displays of handicrafts from all the historic times that the city has passed. Most tourists shop at the Arts Center which has a lot of souvenir shops stocking traditional dresses, show pieces and post cards. Along similar lines in the Canterbury Museum which shows displays of how city life evolved from the early Maori times to the cosmopolitan city that Christchurch is today.
Hop on the tram again for a visit to the Botanical Gardens that amazes you with hectares of Greenland dotted with exotic plant species in a natural habitat and the Southern Aquarium and Kiwi house which shows a glimpse of surrounding Ocean and forest life of New Zealand.
Take a break from the tour and grab a bite to eat from the Honey Pot café, notorious for its freshly baked pizzas, gourmets and sandwiches and stroll around the Riccarton bushes to experience the serenity promised by the Garden City. The rest of the day will be spent shopping and collecting some Souvenirs to take back home with you.
Though most of New Zealand’s shopping malls are located in the suburban areas, the city center’s famous shops are found on the Victoria, High and Columbia Streets. These shops sell items ranging from exotic jewels and apparel to second hand furniture and antique collectables. Roam around and take your pick from the best ones and shop till you drop!
Finish off your eventful day with a peaceful dinner at the Flying Burrito Brothers that will serve you spicy Mexican food with a good list of beverages.