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There are a lot of things to do in Christchurch for free. It is, after all, the most popular city in New Zealand’s south island and is vibrant and energetic, and innovative as well. The city features a booming hospitality scene, state-of-the-art architecture and a complete urban regeneration that is completely changing how the city looks, feels and functions. This is my recommended seven things to do in Christchurch for free.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Christchurch has a reputation as the Garden City – so it would make sense to visit the city’s Botanic Gardens. With plenty of flora and fauna native to New Zealand and other parts of the world, the Gardens feature one of the finest collections of exotic and local plants in New Zealand. With more than 1.1 Million visitors each year the Botanic Gardens are one of the Christchurch’s most popular and well-loved attractions. Best of all, it’s free!
A short drive from Christchurch is the Banks Peninsula area and it is an absolute must. Stunning views, beautiful bays and quirky campgrounds. The town has a hotel/pub, 2 cafes, a petrol station, art gallery, craft store, campgrounds and a small museum. The southern bay has some really good surfing, and there are plenty of safe swimming areas, with walking tracks and trails. The area is often overlooked, so if you’re after something unique and tranquil, Banks Peninsula is your go-to destination.
Explore the Port Hills on foot, by bike or driving. It’s one of Christchurch’s many playgrounds – with an abundance of choices for cyclists, motorists, walkers, historians and naturalists. You can get a bus up to Victoria Park and it’s truly surprising that within a few minutes you can be in the wilderness with fabulous views of the mountain and sea. This is one of the most rewarding things to do in Christchurch for free.
The Canterbury Museum offers free entry, however, donations are appreciated. The museum showcases New Zealand’s rich cultural and natural history heritage. With rare Maori artefacts and the stories behind them that will surely fascinate you. There’s a historic representation of Christchurch Street where you’ll be transported back in time with the sights and sounds of the pioneering days.
Taylors Mistake – Awaroa/Godley Head Walk
The Taylors Mistake – Awaroa / Godley Head Walk is a great trek for everyone. In around 3 and half hours, you can walk to the top, have a picnic lunch and be back, all the while taking in the amazing scenery. Don’t be fooled by the name, it won’t be a mistake to have an adventure on this trail. It is actually one of the best things to do in Christchurch for free.
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu
The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu is the public art gallery of Christchurch. The gallery features a substantial art collection and also features exhibitions from New Zealand and international artists. Interestingly enough, the gallery is designed to deal with seismic events, with the foundation, a concrete raft slab that sits on the surface of the ground, evenly distributing earthquake forces.
Bottle Lake Forest
Inside Bottle Lake Forest is a number of activities – coastal and forest walks, mountain bike tracks and horse-riding trails. The forest is organised in a grid-like pattern of roads – most junctions are signposted to prevent you from getting lost. There is a visitor centre located at the main entrance that has track maps and information, brochures and information on the park’s history and ecology. Waitikiri Drive gates are open between 6 am and 10 pm year-round.
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