TOP Ways to Explore Christchurch

  • Christchurch red buses
  • Christchurch Tram Circuit
  • Christchurch Tram
  • Quail Island Ferry route
  • Antigua Boatsheds Christchurch
  • Christchurch bike share

Driving around a strange city can be a little challenging at times, even with the help of google maps or your GPS, especially when you can't always find parking just where you want it.

But it can be fun to explore Christchurch and the surrounding areas using other methods, and we've included some suggestions below.

1. Invest in a Metrocard and ride the buses!

Buying and topping up your Metrocard means that each bus ride will be just $2.55 per adult ride instead of $4.00 - plus for a single fare, you receive two hours unlimited travel and for the daily maximum, you receive unlimited travel for one day.

The card itself will cost you $10.00 then you need to top it up with $10 for rides. To get a card you need to download and complete the application form, then take it to one of the places on this list. You'll also need a form of ID that shows your date of birth - your drivers licence or passport are probably the easiest options.

The easiest way to get your card if you are staying at the Park, is to hop on a bus heading to town from the bus stop outside the park on Cranford Street, head into the new Bus Exchange and get your Metrocard sorted there. (You will have to pay cash for that first fare of course.)

Travelling by bus around the city can be a lot of fun though, and you get a great view.

Check out some popular destinations including New Brighton beach and mall (by the sea), Sumner (again by the sea with beaches to explore and plenty of cafes to enjoy), Lyttelton (our port town - and you get to go through a nice long road tunnel under the Port Hills), Halswell (visit the former Quarry site for plenty of places to walk or picnic) or the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Museum - one of the most popular free places to visit, right in the heart of the city.

2. Hop off the bus at Lyttelton and take the Black Cat Ferry to Diamond Harbour

If you've invested in that Metrocard (or even if you haven't), you can take the bus to Lyttelton and catch one of the half hourly ferries that heads across Lyttelton Harbour to Diamond Harbour.

On the way, you'll go past Quail Island, which was used as a quarantine island for people and for animals, including the dogs, ponies and donkeys that travelled to Antarctica with the expeditions of Captain Scott, Admiral Byrd and Ernest Shackleton.

The ferry runs regularly from the Lyttelton jetty and you can check timetable information here. 

3. Pick up a bike and explore the central city

One of the fun projects (crowdfunded + sponsored by Spark) that has emerged in Christchurch recently is the appearance of sets of free bikes and bikes for hire around the CBD.

To make use of the bikes, you just need to download the bike app, sign in and drop your bike off again at another free bike stand within half an hour. If you want to bike for longer, you can also pay through the app. 

There's a $4 registration fee which is credited against your account.

If you want to bike right into the city from the Park, you can also hire bikes from our reception for a half day or full day.

4. Take a double decker tour

If you want to get an even better view of the city (but still on a bus) you can climb aboard Hassle Free Tours Double Decker and get a guided tour. You can choose form the one hour or three hour tour - depending on how much time you have and your budget. 

In the summer months, the open top double decker is an even better experience.

5. Ride the tram (and take a punt if you like)

The tram circuit around central Christchurch is another great way to travel. Catch a bus from outside the Park down Victoria Street and pick up the tram at a stop in New Regent Street (or anywhere along the route). Check out the image above for all the stops.

Tickets for adults are $20 each and children ride for free. You can also get a combo deal for the tram and punting along the Avon River, for $43 per adult and $12 per child.

6. Jump on a Segway Tour

If you have a great sense of balance - and adventure, you can join a Segway tour with the team at Urban Wheels. There are plenty of options to choose from and you're guaranteed a unique way to experience the city.

7. Float, float on (or paddle paddle paddle)

You can punt with the Welcome Aboard team if you prefer someone else to do all the hard work while you relax, or you can head down to the Antigua Boat Sheds and hire yourself a boat - canoes, kayaks or paddle boats.

Great fun if the weather is on the warmer side, and you can grab something to eat at the cafe afterwards if all that exercise builds up an appetite.

This is a really lovely thing to do in the spring when the blossoms and daffodils are out, as you are paddling through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.