Christchurch Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Christchurch

Christchurch, a "piece of England" down under, situated on New Zealand’s South Island, was heavily battered by 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, claiming many of the city's historic sights. Today Christchurch still comes to terms with those losses. Among the key attractions still in place are a good number of old-time landmarks, including the Christchurch Cathedral, the Edmonds Clock Tower, the Christchurch Town Hall and more. See what makes Christchurch a jewel of the English heritage in the southern hemisphere on this orientation walk.
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Christchurch Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Christchurch Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: New Zealand » Christchurch (See other walking tours in Christchurch)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: Nikki
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cathedral Square
  • Former Chief Post Office
  • Christchurch Cathedral
  • Isaac Theatre Royal
  • New Regent Street
  • Margaret Mahy Playground
  • Edmonds Clock Tower
  • Victoria Square
  • Christchurch Town Hall
  • Canterbury Museum
  • Hagley Park and Botanic Gardens
Cathedral Square

1) Cathedral Square (must see)

During the earthquake that hit Christchurch in February 2011, Cathedral Square - the geographical center of the city - suffered serious damage. The square has been named after the Anglican cathedral that once stood here. In 1867, a statue of John Robert Godley, the city's founder, was unveiled on a pedestal opposite the cathedral. This was the first public statue in all of New Zealand. The square was the city's main meeting place and was a regular venue for street performers and public speakers of various kinds. In 2000, The Chalice, a large piece of modern sculpture in the form of an inverted cone, was installed here subverting the shape of the spire that rises above the cathedral. Designed by prominent New Zealand artist Neil Dawson, The Chalice has survived the earthquake unaffected. It is made up of forty-two leaf patterns featuring different native plants. Today, Cathedral Square is closed for reconstruction.
Former Chief Post Office

2) Former Chief Post Office

Another outstanding sight that embellishes Cathedral Square is the former Chief Post Office building. Construction began in 1877 and originally was meant to house governmental offices, but later became a Chief Post Office. Nowadays, it is the home of Tourist Information Center. The Italian style structure riffs off other landmarks in the square in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Christchurch Cathedral

3) Christchurch Cathedral (must see)

The city of Christchurch has evolved around this once imposing building. Located in Cathedral Square, this strikingly grandiose Anglican cathedral has been an inseparable part of the city since it was built in 1864. The construction had to be halted, at one point, due to financial difficulties, and was resumed in 1873. Christchurch Cathedral has been noted for a number of splendid architectural features: stained glass windows, wall panels, font, altar and bells.

Earthquakes have repeatedly damaged the building - the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake destroyed the spire and part of the tower, and severely damaged the rest of the building. The Anglican Church decided to demolish the building and replace it with a new structure, but later the Christchurch Diocesan Synod decided that ChristChurch Cathedral will be reinstated.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Isaac Theatre Royal

4) Isaac Theatre Royal

Sited near Christchurch's city centre is an Edwardian style building - the seat of Isaac Theatre Royal. Originally built in 1863, a new theatre edifice was erected nearby in 1907 and remains the home to the Isaac Theatre to this very day. For over a century it has delighted spectators with wonderful classical performances.

Due to the damage caused by the February 2011 earthquake, the theatre was closed for nearly four years while the restoration took place. All of the significant architectural elements were rescued and restored by skilled craftsmen. The newly restored Theatre opened on 17 November 2014.
New Regent Street

5) New Regent Street

New Regent Street is a pedestrian mall in Christchurch. Built as a private development in the early 1930s with 40 shops in Spanish Mission architectural style, it is one of the city's major tourist attractions. Providing a number of small shops as a comprehensive development was an advanced idea at the time, and New Regent Street is regarded as a forerunner to modern shopping malls. Due to its coherent architectural character, the buildings in the streets are listed as Category I heritage items by Heritage New Zealand, and in addition, the entire street has a historic area listing.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Margaret Mahy Playground

6) Margaret Mahy Playground

The Margaret Mahy Playground is a playground in the Christchurch Central City on the banks of the Avon River. Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the government's Recovery Plan had a "city-wide family playground" as one of the elements of the East Frame. The playground opened on 22 December 2015, and it is the largest playground in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Edmonds Clock Tower

7) Edmonds Clock Tower (must see)

This clock tower on Madras Street was originally inspired by the older Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower, which are both listed attractions now. The Edmonds Tower was co-designed by a New Zealand sculptor, William Trethewey, and architect, H. Francis Willis. The foundation stone was laid in 1929. The tower is made of volcanic rock and limestone, shaped in a free style with a touch of Gothic. Each part of the tower reflects a certain theme: Charity, Faith, Hope, and Peace. The so-called Canterbury earthquakes have had their toll on the Edmonds Clock Tower causing it to crack at two levels and the top section to move. There is also moderate damage around the windows.
Victoria Square

8) Victoria Square (must see)

Once the city's main trading area, Victoria Square is a wonderful city park full of historic monuments. Formerly known as Market Square, it was renamed to mark Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1900. The square's redevelopment as a park was completed in 1989. During the earthquake that hit Christchurch in February 2011, Victoria Square was damaged, and in some places, concrete has risen at least a metre. Despite the earthquake, you can still see a majestic statue of Queen Victoria, a statue of Captain James Cook, an amazing floral clock, and Dandelion fountains very much intact in the park. A stroll and relaxation mecca for locals and tourists alike, this park is also a scene of some of the city's main public events.

Why You Should Visit:
Although not as crowded and large compared to other cities, it is still one of the interesting areas to visit in the town center.
A lovely place to sit on a lunch break or take a relaxing evening stroll near the river.
Christchurch Town Hall

9) Christchurch Town Hall (must see)

Established in 1972 as the Christchurch Town Hall of the Performing Arts, the Christchurch Town Hall - as it's now known - is the city's premier performing arts centre. Located centrally on the banks of the Avon river, overlooking Victoria Square, this top venue hosts a whole range of performances, including orchestral concerts and recitals, opera, ballet and dramatic productions, musical comedy, variety, folk, rock, and jazz concerts. Conventions and conferences, civic functions, as well as local cultural and commercial events are held regularly at the Town Hall, too. The 2,500 seat auditorium is widely known for its good acoustics. Due to significant damage sustained during the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, it was closed until 2019. Council staff initially recommended demolition of all but the main auditorium, but later voted to rebuild the entire hall.
Canterbury Museum

10) Canterbury Museum (must see)

Canterbury Museum displays all the natural, cultural and historic heritage of the city and the region. There is a large collection of stuffed birds on the ground floor where you can see the Kiwi and the extinct Moa. There's also a Maori department which preserves the artifacts of New Zealand's indigenous people. The Antarctica department will afford you a fascinating glimpse of this remote part of the world. Among the many other collections held inside particular mention deserves a set of 19th century fashion. The museum building sustained minor damage to its facade during the February 2011 earthquake and remains structurally sound. An estimated 95% of the collections have been unharmed. The museum was closed for repairs and reopened on 2 September 2011.

Operation hours: October - March: Daily 9 am - 5.30 pm; April - September: Daily 9 am - 5 pm.
Hagley Park and Botanic Gardens

11) Hagley Park and Botanic Gardens (must see)

Commissioned in 1855 by the Provincial Government, Hagley Park is the largest urban open space in Christchurch. Centrally located and bounded by the Avon river and nearby roadways, the park is distinguished for the many trees and broad open valleys. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens are located within this loop and frequent bridges provide connections. The Gardens contain a collection of beautiful flowers and trees from around the world. Many visitors also come to the park to see its thronging wildlife, including thousands of birds. Due to the earthquakes that hit the area in 2011, Christchurch City Council has closed the Botanic Gardens glasshouses: Fern House and Foweraker House, Gilpin and Garrick House, Townend House, and Cunningham House.

Walking Tours in Christchurch, New Zealand

Create Your Own Walk in Christchurch

Create Your Own Walk in Christchurch

Creating your own self-guided walk in Christchurch is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Christchurch Landmarks Tour

Christchurch Landmarks Tour

Although Christchurch is not very large, it is still home to a number of New Zealand's major landmarks. There is no shortage of beautiful buildings, parks, gardens and other places of interest. Ravaged by a powerful earthquake in 2011, which caused damage to many local attractions, Christchurch has still retained much of its charm and has a lot to offer visitors in terms of sightseeing. Take...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles