Christchurch, known as the "Garden City," is a charming and vibrant destination nestled on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. With its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and a wide array of cultural experiences, Christchurch offers a plethora of activities for you to enjoy before embarking on your memorable journey aboard the TranzAlpine. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie seeking culinary delights, this city has something to offer everyone.
So, if you find yourself with some time to spare before your journey, have a look at a few must-visit attractions and experiences to make the most of your pre-journey adventure.
New Zealand's Oldest City
The TranzAlpine train departs Christchurch at 8:15am, and with check in twenty minutes before departure, it can make it quite an early morning! Rather than rushing and dealing with early morning stress, why not arrive in Christchurch a day or two earlier and fully explore New Zealand's oldest city?
To ensure you have an unforgettable southern adventure, we've compiled a list of the top activities to do in Christchurch before you embark on your scenic train ride with us. Established by the Royal Charter in 1856, why not extend your adventure by exploring this historical city!
Hagley Park & Botanical Gardens
Nestled in the heart of the city, this sprawling oasis invites visitors to immerse themselves in its enchanting landscapes. Stroll through the park's lush greenery, cosy conservatories and discover this idyllic escape from the bustling urban environment.
The park's expansive lawns, gardens and fountains are the perfect setting for a leisurely picnic or a moment of quiet contemplation. Carry on through the park to meander along the Avon River. This lazy waterway adds a touch of serenity as it gracefully winds its way through the park and through town, inviting visitors to take a tranquil boat ride or simply enjoy the gentle ripples of the water.
With its towering trees and carefully manicured gardens, Hagley Park is an enchanting prelude to the magical adventure ahead.
Rising high above the picturesque city of Christchurch, the Gondola offers an unforgettable experience that will take you to new heights. Stepping into the cable car, anticipation fills the air as the journey begins.
With each passing moment, the cityscape transforms into a breathtaking panorama. The gondola gracefully ascends the Port Hills, revealing panoramic vistas of the sprawling Canterbury Plains, the majestic Southern Alps, and the glistening waters of the Pacific Ocean. The view is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Upon reaching the summit, step out and take a moment to soak in the awe-inspiring scenery. The Gondola is sure to provide you with an exhilarating adventure and a bird's-eye perspective of Christchurch that will leave a lasting impression.
Historic Tram Ride
Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Christchurch with a nostalgic ride aboard the Tram Ride. As the vintage tram gracefully glides through the city streets, be transported back in time to an era of elegance and charm.
The wooden interiors and polished brass fittings evoke a sense of nostalgia, while the friendly conductors share captivating stories about the city's history and landmarks. Along the journey, you'll pass by the iconic Gothic Revival-style Canterbury Museum, the tranquil Botanic Gardens, and the bustling New Regent Street with its vibrant pastel-hued buildings.
The tram ride offers a unique perspective of Christchurch's architectural gems and allows you to witness the city's remarkable resurgence after the devastating earthquakes. It's a delightful and informative experience that showcases the city's past while highlighting its vibrant present.
Riverside Market is a vibrant culinary paradise that delights the senses and captivates the heart. Stepping into this bustling marketplace, you'll find yourself surrounded by a tantalising array of sights, sounds, and aromas.
Local vendors proudly showcased their finest produce, artisanal crafts, and delectable treats, creating a haven for food enthusiasts and culture seekers alike. From freshly baked bread to exotic spices, the market's diverse range of culinary offerings catered to every palate.
As you meander through the bustling aisles, you won't be able to resist sampling a variety of mouthwatering delights, from gourmet burgers to heavenly pastries. The Riverside Market is more than just a place to shop and eat; it's a celebration of local flavours, creativity, and the vibrant spirit of Christchurch.
New Regent Street
New Regent Street is a gem that exudes timeless elegance and charm. Step onto this pedestrian-only street, and be transported to a bygone era with its beautifully restored Spanish Mission-style architecture and vibrant pastel-hued facades.
The street's quaint boutique shops, cosy cafés, and enticing restaurants line the way, beckoning you to explore and indulge. The distinctively tiled pavement adds to the street's allure, creating a sense of stepping into a picture-perfect setting. Alive with the buzz of locals and tourists alike, the energy of this street is undeniable.
Book your journey to Christchurch
Travel to Christchurch aboard the scenic railways from Picton or Greymouth aboard the Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine trains. Or, join one of our guided rail tours to discover more.
Uncover a city that seamlessly blends old-world charm with a vibrant, forward-thinking spirit. Wander through the town centre, along the Avon and onwards ot the train station and be captivated by the remnants of historic architecture standing tall amidst modern structures, a testament to the city's resilience and ability to rise from adversity.
Find out more about this creative South Island city and what it has to offer.