For many, Christchurch is a gateway to New Zealand’s beautiful South Island. Fly into Christchurch Airport and you can enjoy a relaxing getaway in this picturesque city before heading out into the surrounding wilderness to hike, ski, kayak and swim with dolphins. Luxury holidays to Christchurch combine a city break with an adventure in the great outdoors.
Named for one of Oxford University’s colleges, Christchurch is known for its English atmosphere and architecture. While the devastating earthquakes of 2011 destroyed many of the city’s historical buildings, Christchurch has retained its quaint village-like charm. Soak up the atmosphere by wandering through Christchurch Botanic Gardens, cycling through Hagley Park or cruising on a flat-bottomed boat on the winding Avon River. Discover a vibrant, contemporary atmosphere at the city’s art galleries and modern restaurants, while at Quake City you can hear personal stories about the earthquakes that reshaped the lives of so many New Zealanders.
Beyond the city, you can explore charming towns like Akaroa, located on the neighbouring Banks Peninsula. Famed for its pretty French colonial buildings, Akaroa is a fantastic place to take a harbour cruise and spot dolphins, seals and penguins. If climbing or skiing is your passion, make for the mountains west of Christchurch. In Arthur’s Pass National Park you can follow the hiking trails past rivers, waterfalls and mountain lakes. The glacier-covered Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is the place to go for the most spectacular night skies. Closer to Christchurch, the waterways of the Waimakariri River are a hub for jet boating, kayaking, sailing and swimming.
Christchurch and the surrounding region has a mild and relatively dry climate, making it an ideal destination for an active luxury holiday at any time of year. For the warmest weather, visit between December and February. At this time, temperatures tend to peak in the twenties.
In the winter months, the South Island becomes a breathtaking landscape of snow-capped peaks and frozen lakes although in Christchurch temperatures tend not to drop below freezing. Visit between June and September if you plan to ski.
Inspired by traditional Maori cuisine and shaped by European and Asian influences, food on New Zealand’s South Island can take many different forms. In Christchurch’s luxury hotels, you can expect sophisticated dishes of refined modern food and plenty of excellent local wine.
In the cities, beach towns and ski resorts, dining experiences will range from fish and chips and burgers, complete with beetroot and a fried egg, to Maori specialities like hangi, meat or fish with root vegetables cooked in a pit dug into the ground.
British passport holders typically don’t require a visa to enter New Zealand. However, you should check the entry requirements before you book your holiday at GOV.UK. You should carry identification on you when travelling in a foreign country.