Christchurch Travel Guide


Christchurch takes to the streets in summer. Held mid-to-late January, the World Buskers Festival draws international and local performers who perform in Cathedral Square, Oxford Terrace and the Arts Centre. The Dux de Lux restaurant hosts the festival club. There's also the three-month long SummerTimes celebration, which includes outdoor concerts, fireworks and children's entertainment. The longest-running multisport event in the world, Speight's Coast to Coast finishes on Christchurch's Sumner Beach - after a 239km (148 mi) cycle/run/kayak across the Southern Alps.

In mid-winter there's the biennial Christchurch Arts Festival, a diverse program of performing arts, jazz, cabaret and classical music. There is also plenty of rugby action in the cold months; if you're lucky you may catch an international such as the Bledisloe, if not, there are regular local matches. Christchurch's gardens come alive in spring, and the totally trad Royal Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show and horse racing carnival, collectively known as Showtime Canterbury is held in November.

Public holidays include Christmas and Boxing Day (25-26 December), New Year (1-2 January), Easter (March or April), Waitangi Day (6 February), Anzac Day (25 April), Queen's Birthday (1 June), Labour Day (October) and Canterbury Anniversary Day (mid-December).

When to Go

Christchurch has a temperate climate, although summers can be hotter than the norm for the South Island. They are usually pretty dry too, thanks to the shelter of the nearby mountains. Winter temperatures can be cold - 1-10°C (34-50°F) - with snow at sea level not unheard of. Missing the Mistral, the Sirocco or the Santa Ana? Christchurch has its very own notorious wind - a fiery springtime nor'wester - that is associated with increases in suicide and domestic violence, and can cause widespread damage when at gale force.

The peak travel time in New Zealand is the summer school holidays, from late December to late January - this is also the best time for beach weather. The warmer months (November to April) in general are busy, and you should consider booking accommodation in advance. The exception to this is, obviously, ski resorts, which get crowded in winter.

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