Spring in Christchurch: What to Do and Why You Need to Go!

There aren’t many people who don’t enjoy the season of spring. Warmer days, blossoming trees, and the excitement of long summer holidays are just a few months away. What’s not to love?!

Christchurch is one of those New Zealand cities that is simply spectacular in spring. The temperature usually doesn’t quite hit the 20s, but peaks at around 17 degrees Celsius—warm enough to get out and experience all that the garden city has to offer. There are hundreds of things to do in Christchurch – whether you’re visiting solo, with your family, for work, or for pleasure. So, here’s just a small taste of why you need to go this spring.

image of otautahi mural with woman on bike in front
Image by: Miles Holden

Go punting down the Avon River

Departing from the Antigua Boat Sheds on Cambridge Terrace, take a tour of the Avon River as a passenger on a private punt charter. On your 45-minute private tour, you’ll sit on a comfortable cushioned seat and glide peacefully down the Avon with a friendly punter in control of your vessel.

This is the perfect way to admire the vibrant Botanic Gardens at their most spectacular, with blooming daffodils, irises, magnolias, rhododendrons, and many more. With all the serenity of this relaxing tour, we think it’s the perfect way to start or end a clear spring day in Christchurch.

Frock up for the Riccarton Races!

It’s punting again… But punting of a different kind! The NZ Cup at Riccarton Park is one of the highlights of the year for Canterbury residents and racing enthusiasts from all over the country. A great excuse to get dressed up and enjoy a day in the sunshine as it’s usually spectacular weather!

In 2022, the NZ Cup at Riccarton will take place over three days in November – Saturday 5th, Wednesday 9th, and Saturday 12th. Have a punt, enjoy a drink and a bite to eat, and soak up the infectious spring atmosphere. Riccarton Park is situated about 15 minutes from the Christchurch CBD so it’s easily accessible by public transport.

image of building with roof top bar
Image by: Pink Lady Rooftop Bar

Visit the rooftop bars

We’re all for killing two birds with one stone, so why not soak up the stunning Christchurch skyline from one of the city’s rooftop bars? We can all agree that a late afternoon drink in spring is best-enjoyed al fresco, and luckily there are some great rooftop bars in Christchurch where you can bring this vision to life.

The Pink Lady Rooftop Bar in Central Christchurch has 360-degree city views which are among some of the best in Christchurch. And if you want a Christchurch rooftop bar with a bit of atmosphere, Mr Brightside is well worth a look. They often have DJs on the weekends and can get quite busy, especially when the weather gets warmer.

Day trip to Akaroa and Banks Peninsula

Just an hour and a half from Christchurch is the small town of Akaroa, the only historic French settlement in New Zealand. Browse the local shops, have lunch with a view and go on a small-group day trip with Cheeky Kea Tours—lunch included!

Just 20 minutes from Akaroa is the Fishermans Bay Garden, perched on the edge of Banks Peninsula. This incredible garden consists of a traditional flower border, herb garden, farm garden, fern garden, a shaded stream-side valley, and an exposed rock garden, all of which can be explored on a self-guided tour at your own pace. The garden is said to be at its most spectacular during spring – yet another reason to visit Christchurch at this time of year!

image of christchurch from heli
Image by: GCH Aviation

Fly over Christchurch by chopper

If you feel like splashing out or have someone to impress, a Christchurch helicopter tour could be right up your alley. GCH Aviation has a great selection of heli-tours to choose from, best enjoyed on a calm and clear spring day.

If you want more than just a scenic flight, you can land on the top of the Port Hills for a picnic and a glass of bubbles. Or arrive like a true VIP to a luxurious lunch at Black Estate or Waipara Hills Winery. Fly into a high-country station, visit the Hanmer Geothermal Springs, or catch the start of the whale-watching season with a flight over the coast of Kaikoura. Whatever your choice, a helicopter tour will not disappoint!

Play a round of golf at Clearwater

The immaculate Clearwater Gold Club is one of the best courses in the South Island, and it’s situated just 15 minutes from the Christchurch CBD. If you fancy yourself a spot of golf (or playing caddie for a day) Clearwater is the place to go.

The 72-par course sits on a 465-acre property near the Christchurch airport. As its name suggests, water features in over half of the holes on this course, with a handful of picturesque man-made lakes and streams throughout. It’s known to be quite a challenging course—especially on a windy day—but on a calm day in the middle of Spring, you won’t find a better golf course in Canterbury. Make sure you stop by the Members Lounge after your round—you’ll have great views of the 18th green and enjoy fabulous hospitality.

image of snowy mt cook with blue lake in front
Image by: Cheeky Kiwi Travel

Day tour to Queenstown via Mt Cook

If you’re in the South Island for a limited time and keen to visit Queenstown too, consider booking a day tour to Queenstown from Christchurch. The one-way tour run by Cheeky Kiwi Travel takes about 13 hours in total but includes plenty of stops and time for exploring. It’s a great way to see some of the South Island’s most iconic destinations like Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook, and the Tasman Glacier.

You’ll stop for morning tea in Geraldine, visit the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo, and soak up all the views of the bright blue lake. At the Aoraki National Park, you’ll have 2.5 hours of free time to walk to the Tasman Glacier, take a scenic flight, or simply explore at your leisure before heading on to Mt Cook Village. On the final stretch, you’ll visit a local salmon farm and drive over Lindis Pass and the Kawerau Suspension Bridge before arriving in beautiful Queenstown. It’s a long and busy day, but one you’ll never forget.

woman having fun while ziplining
Image by: Miles Holden

Visit Christchurch Adventure Park

To finish off, the spring season calls for a day out at Christchurch Adventure Park. Explore one of the free walking trails as you breathe in the fresh spring air or jump aboard the longest chairlift in New Zealand for a ride up to the top of the Port Hills. There are mountain biking trails, zip lines, and downhill rides on gravity quads for wheelchair users and the able-bodied.

The Adventure Park is open from 11am until 7pm during spring, and the Adventure Park Café has great lunch options with a kids’ menu, as well as a licensed bar. This Christchurch activity is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for the whole family.