Luxury holidays in Christchurch

This Antipodean hotspot offers more than a passing nod to England, thanks to its manicured gardens, stunning Victorian Gothic architecture, Avon River punting and pint-pouring pubs. The heart of verdant Canterbury on NZ's South Island, Christchurch has emerged as a cosmopolitan hub with a world-class art scene and exciting line-up of restaurants and bars. Use Christchurch as a base to explore the neighbouring Waipara wine region, French-toned town of Akaroa and quirky port of Lyttelton, three distinct areas that all add flavour and flare to a city that is very much on the rise.

When to go

The summer months (December–February) are warm and dry, with temperatures typically between 27°C–33°C. Autumn (March–May) can be a tad unpredictable, so pack for cool weather. In winter (June–August) the mercury drops to around 2°C–12°C, and although spring (September–November) brings warmer days, the nights remain chilly. In September 2011, the Rugby World Cup comes to town, which may be a drawcard or a deterrant, depending on where you sit.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Christchurch Airport ( is the main international gateway to the South Island, with connecting flights to and from almost anywhere in New Zealand. The airport is 12km from the city centre and the shared Super Shuttle ( drive passengers between the city and airport 24 hours a day. The Five Dollar Bus and the City Flyer bus ( also service the airport. A taxi into town will cost $30–40.
  • Trains

    TranzScenic ( runs the daily TranzCoastal service between Christchurch and Picton via Kaikoura and Blenheim, and the daily TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass. Around town, restored trams operate a 2.5km inner-city loop past all the local attractions.
  • Automobiles

    Compact Christchurch is eminently walkable but there is an efficient bus network if you’re feeling weary or weighed down with shopping bags. The two main services are the Red Bus ( and the free yellow shuttle. There is also a Best Attractions Shuttle ( that links major sights including the gondola and International Antarctic Centre. If you’re planning on touring the region, then a car is the best way to go. All of the major car companies have offices in Christchurch; smaller operators include Ace Rental Cars ( and Omega Rental Cars (
  • Taxis

    You shouldn't have any trouble hailing a cab in town. There's a taxi rank on Cathedral Square and if you do need to call one, Christchurch's main companies are Blue Star (+64 (0) 3 799 799), First Direct (+64 (0)3 775 555) and Gold Band (+64 (0)3 795 795.