Top 9 free (or cheap) things to do in Christchurch

Port Hills Christchurch

When you’re visiting the treasure trove that is Ōtautahi Christchurch, it can be hard to decide which amazing experience to try first!

Here are the top 9 free (or cheap) things to do when you’re visiting Christchurch! 
  • Explore Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens
  • Plant Trees for Canterbury
  • Punting on the Avon River
  • Connect with Wildlife at NZ’s Only Open Range Zoo
  • Visit Quake City 
  • International Antarctic Centre
  • Visit Quail Island
  • Urban Art Guided Tour
  • Visit Sumner Beach
Hagley Park Christchurch
Explore Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens

They call Christchurch ‘The Garden City’ for a reason. With new flowers and colours blooming seasonally, there’s always something new to discover as you meander through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Walk through to the largest urban open space in Christchurch – Hagley Park, with the picturesque Avon river as a backdrop. This is the ideal place for a stroll and a selfie or ten!

Plant Trees for Canterbury

There are regular community tree plantings around Christchurch for you to get involved in to make a difference in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. These are usually two hours long, on community land, and it’s free to join in. Trees for Canterbury also have work to be done at their nursery, which can be a fun-filled and eye-opening adventure. You will work alongside many other volunteers – potting plants, weeding and doing general duties around the nursery. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about Trees for Canterbury and the brilliant work they do for their community. Learn more here

Punting on Avon River
Punting on the Avon River

With a length of 14 kilometres (8.7 miles), the Avon River meanders right through Christchurch and out into the Pacific Ocean via the Avon Heathcote Estuary. For a small price (around $30) you can experience punting on the Avon River – where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning views of the Botanic Gardens while learning more about the area from your punter. For more information, visit here

Volunteer Orana Wildlife park Christchurch
Connect with Wildlife at NZ’s Only Open Range Zoo

Set in 80 hectares within 15 minutes’ drive of Christchurch Airport, Orana Wildlife Park provides the ultimate animal adventure. You can meet New Zealand’s only gorillas, hand-feed giraffes, travel through the Lion Reserve, observe kiwi and encounter mischievous kea. Conservation advocacy is a key role for Orana Wildlife Park, so you will walk away from the experience feeling a connection with and responsibility towards the natural environment. Entry is $36.50 per adult, $9.50 per child. Learn more here

Quake City Christchurch
Visit Quake City 

Quake City is a special exhibition from the Canterbury Museum that tells stories from the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. Hear from those who lived through the quakes and those who came to help. You will learn about the science behind the quakes with the help of a hands-on interactive experience of the phenomenon of liquefaction – when the ground liquefied and bubbled up in the shaking, burying streets and sinking buildings. We would recommend that you visit Quake City early in your visit to Christchurch so you can understand the city more. Entry is approximately NZ$20 per person. Learn more here

International Antarctic Centre entrance Christchurch
International Antarctic Centre

Experiences at the International Antarctic Centre have been carefully developed to offer adrenalin and inspiration, education and entertainment. You’ll experience real snow and ice and even survive an indoor Antarctic storm. You’ll learn about life at Scott Base in Antarctica and see what it takes to work on the ice. Hang out with Little Blue Penguins and get close up to a husky. There’s also the exciting Hägglund Field Trip, an awesome 4D Theatre, a massive HD screen, and lots, lots more. Book now!

Quail Island Christchurch
Visit Quail Island

Explore the picturesque and historic Quail Island – just a short 15 minute ferry ride from Lyttelton. There’s a fascinating two hour loop walking track that will pass by shipwrecks, a former leper colony and a former quarantine station used by early European settlers. The Antarctica explorers, Scott and Shackleton, trained their sled dogs and ponies there, too. To top off a wonderful day, there’s a stunning swimming beach to relax at or take a dip in the summer months! The island is home to native New Zealand birds including the fantail, kingfisher, silvereye and many sea birds. Book your ferry trip over here

People looking at art Christchurch
Urban Art Guided Tour

Join a knowledgeable ‘Watch This Space’ guide and explore the story of Otautahi Christchurch’s emergence as an urban art destination! Spend over two hours roaming the central city and learning about the art and artists that have brought the city’s walls to life. From the diverse artistic techniques to the role of creativity in the city’s recovery from the Christchurch earthquakes, the tour considers both the global and local contexts of these vibrant art forms. 

With small groups and a flexible schedule, this is a unique way to consider your experience of urban space and how cities are re-imagined (oh, and you might even get the chance to make your own piece of art!) Learn more here 

Sumner Beach Christchurch
Visit Sumner Beach

We can’t think of a more ‘Kiwi’ way to spend your day than visiting Sumner Beach, one of Christchurch’s suburbs. Stroll on the beach and explore the picturesque caves and arches. It’s the perfect place to grab some fish and chips, look out for interesting wildlife and soak in the stunning scenery. Learn more here

BeKiwi has such a variety of experiences in Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region for you to explore.

Try out our search filters to find the ideal experience for you. Looking for volunteering opportunities? Want to find something to do that is less than $50? Or, find something that will boost your communications skills!

Get searching for your next Christchurch adventure!
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