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What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

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What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

We will be in Christchurch for 2 nights later this month. We'll arrive in time for dinner on the 1st night, have all the next day free and then have a flight out at noon on the last day.

My question is about how best to use this time. We'll be staying in a B & B near the airport but will have a rental car.

We are 2 active 60 year old adults. We're not keen on spending hours in a museum but quite like to have a general overview of a new city and its history. I'm fascinated with the Antarctic and am drawn to the Antarctic Centre but wonder if the rides etc. are more geared towards children - though have LOVED 4D experiences in the past!! If we do go there, is the Xpress pass worth considering?

I've looked at various tours - Rebuild, tram, various bus tours, but just can't seem to choose between them. Any recommendations?

Finally, are there any restaurants for our evening meal that we can easily reach from our B & B in the Avonhead/Burnside area? We don't mind a longish walk and prefer to walk than drive so that we can have a glass or two of wine with our meal!

Thanks for any tips

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Honolulu, Hawaii
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1. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

We enjoyed the Antarctic Center, even without kids. I can't remember what the express admission was, but I think that's what we got -- didn't include the Hagglund ride or 4D movie, but there was still plenty to keep us interested for a couple hours on the afternoon we arrived. Loved seeing and hearing about the penguins and their different personalities, and interacting with the Huskies.

The next day, our one full day, we mostly walked around the CBD, in and out of the rain. Most memorable was the 185 chairs, the Cardboard Cathedral, and Cathedral Square.

We usually wouldn't spend so much time in museums either, but because of the sudden downpour of afternoon showers, we also enjoyed visiting the Art Gallery and especially the Canterbury Museum - tons of stuff to see there!

Christchurch, New...
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2. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

Avonhead is a bit "out-in-the-'burbs" for restaurants. I have really no idea where you could eat - hope your B&B hosts can help.

In order of priority I would suggest the Antarctic Centre (would fit in best on your last day since it is at the airport); then the Botanic Gardens - autumn colours should be looking good; you could also visit the Antarctic section of the Canterbury Museum; walk or take the tram around the city centre - don't miss New Regent St if walking (the tram goes down it); You might like to begin with the gondola if it is a clear day.

Surrey England
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3. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

Yes, the Antarctic Centre is just as good for adults.I recommend the tram tour--you can hop off/on as you wish.Do visit the transitional cathedral and the 185 chairs,a block or two behind.The new memorial wall to the victims of the earthquake,the Botanic gardens and the museum are all worth a visit.

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4. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

If you have a rental car and the weather is good I would recommend some of the walks up near the Sign of the Kiwi...some great views over the Lyttleton Harbour and the plains to the mountains. Have a cup of coffee at the Sign of the Kiwi or the Cup...on Dyers Pass road...If you fancy another option wold recommend to go out to Godley Head..some glorious walks out that way...check with DOC website.

For dinner near Avonhead you would be hard to beat the Japanese restaurant Kinji...some brilliant dishes and not only Japanese...very very popular so you have to book. Its BYO so you can take a bottle of your own wine if you wish. Antartic centre would be best whilst you are waiting for your plane on the last morning..

The express ticket is fine if you are fine without the hagglund ride...however the 4d movie is pretty cool.buy your tickets on line and i think you get better deal.

rural West Aussie
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5. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

The tram ride gives you a good overview of the city and its history as the drivers give a commentary as you go. You can get on and get off anywhere and as often as you like. We really enjoyed it.

Also the Museum is really interesting. My museum-hating DH enjoyed the Antarctic and History of Airlines exhibits particularly, and the separate exhibition on the Christchurch earthquake is interesting if very sad.

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6. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch


Our interests may be quite different to yours.

FWIW our favorite things to do/visit in Christchurch are:



Botanical Gardens

Antarctic Centre



Christchurch, New...
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7. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

You are going to have to go into town/Merivale/Riccarton if you want to avoid a "less than ordinary" meal. The restaurants in your area are the "gobble and go" variety

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

Here is a blow by Blow itinerary if it helps fill your day using OZRCFLYER help

1)Willowbank drive from accommodation to here (opens at 9:30 am), After visit quick bite for Morning tea at café on site. Next Botanical gardens

2) Botanical Gardens Drive and park at Botanical Gardens 3 hr free parking morning walk through

Museum Walk from Botanical gardens to Canterbury Museum

3) Canterbury Museum and return to car parked in the Botanical gardens car park.

4) Gondola drive to Gondola and late lunch at top.

NEXT Morning

5) Antarctic Centre return car and book in luggage then walk across to the Artic Centre as it opens at 9:00am

Vero Beach, Florida
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9. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

Canterbury Museum has a fine Maori exhibit. A set of drawers reveals some wonderful items, including a batch of superbly crafted fish hooks.

The Gothic buildings across the street should have completed restoration; you can tell new stone by the color. Be impressed by the craftsmanship. The buildings were worth saving. The Botanic Gardens has quite a nice bunch of plants.

Waterford, Ireland
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10. Re: What to do with just over a day in Christchurch

I enjoyed the botanical gardens, the team rides, visiting the restart mall and a relaxing hour punting on the river.

For food try Valentino's - great food.

I have a post on my blog with these top items. It's a lovely friendly city.

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