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Where to stay in Christchurch – a neighborhood guide

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With many city center hotels destroyed in the earthquake, central accommodation in Christchurch has been in high demand over the last few years. There are the usual international brands downtown, but if you fancy something different, head to the seaside suburb of Sumner. To the north, Waipara Valley offers a hazy retreat for the wine tasters, while Banks Peninsula is surprisingly easy to reach and delivers breathtaking coastal views and quirky campsites.

Mike Watt

My Destination local expert on

Christchurch (NZ)

Downtown Christchurch

 

The center of the city has the obvious highlights of Hagley Park, the glorious River Avon with its punting tours and the blooming Botanic Gardens. Visitors staying in Downtown Christchurch are also within a short walk from a whole host of top restaurants, trendy bars and cafes, and bustling shopping areas like the innovative Re:START retail village.

 

Accommodation in Downtown Christchurch

 

Hotels could be considered scarce in the very center, so look to the north (Bealey Avenue) or west (Riccarton Road) for affordable motels or motor lodges. The heart of the city features a scattering of high-end international hotels, and a couple of five star boutique residences.

 

Sumner

 

A seaside suburb of Christchurch, Sumner offers a different pace of life to the city and a more tranquil stay. A mere 15 minute drive from the center of Christchurch, this friendly town offers a quiet slice of beach and scenic walks amongst the surrounding hills. Take an afternoon stroll along the esplanade, surf the gentle waves and enjoy the hiking and biking trails of the secluded Taylor’s Mistake beach nearby.

 

Accommodation in Sumner

 

Sumner may be small, but it certainly doesn’t lack in accommodation. Find bed and breakfasts to suit all budgets, luxurious apartments overlooking the beach, a backpacker’s hostel and a French-styled hotel.

 

Waipara Valley

 

For wine lovers, the Waipara Valley is the ultimate Canterbury location. An hour north of Christchurch, this verdant valley is one of New Zealand’s most premier wine-producing regions, with wineries running tours and selling their vintages throughout the warm seasons. Further north, a short drive will take you to either the spa town of Hanmer Springs or the whale-watching haven Kaikoura.

 

Accommodation in Waipara Valley

 

Accommodation here is mostly in the form of bed and breakfasts and farm stays, but those looking for something a little different should be satisfied with either a luxury apartment or the unique intrigue of sleeping in historic railway wagons.

 

Banks Peninsula

 

A 40 minute drive from the city center, Banks Peninsula splays out into the South Pacific in a glorious ensemble of aquamarine coves and gentle headlands. Hiking, biking and kayaking are just some of the outdoor adventures here, and the French harbor town of Akaroa is a highlight, with rare dolphins and penguins to spot.

 

Accommodation on Banks Peninsula

 

Accommodation is mostly centred in Akaroa, with cosy inns and cottages, affordable motels and waterfront apartments. Elsewhere, find quirky yurt campsites and friendly farm stays.