Skip to content

Your Winter Playground

10 Ways To Play This Winter In Ōtautahi Christchurch

Ōtautahi Christchurch

Embrace The Winter Chill

Winter in Ōtautahi Christchurch is an adventure waiting to happen! Hit the slopes of our world-class ski fields, soak in natural hot pools, and watch playful dolphins and adorable penguins in Akaroa. Explore vast wildlife reserves, where you'll encounter unique creatures and stunning landscapes, or hit the central city for some retail therapy. Embrace the chill and let winter be your season of play!

Exclusive Winter Deals

Ski-Field Visit

Carve through the soft snow on your snowboard, ski down the breathtaking rugged terrain and inhale the refreshing cool air right outside the city's doorstep. With Mt Hutt, Porters and Mt Cheeseman ski fields just a short and scenic drive away, spend your day enjoying the snow and the slopes of Canterbury's stunning mountain ranges.

Hot Pool Soak

With Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Methven's Ōpuke Thermal Pools & Spa just a picturesque drive away, and our very own He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools in New Brighton, a revitalizing dip in a hot pool is just a stone's throw away. Make a weekend out of it with an overnight stay in one of the alpine villages or stay local and start your morning by soaking up the tranquil vibes and enjoying the beautiful landscapes. It’s simple: relax, unwind and rejuvenate your body and mind.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train

Take the TranzAlpine train for an epic winter journey across New Zealand's South Island. Covering 223km in five hours, you'll travel from Christchurch to Greymouth, crossing the Canterbury Plains and ascending through stunning gorges, river valleys and lush alpine beech rain forests. This scenic train ride offers a perfect winter escape into the beautiful and unforgettable landscape of the South Island.

Visit The Wildlife Reserves

Pop on your warmest boots and hat and get ready to explore Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and Orana Wildlife Park. At Willowbank get up close and personal with some of the cutest animals and endangered species around, you can even pet and feed some of them. Don't forget to grab some eel food. They'll love you for it! Head to Orana Wildlife Park, New Zealand's only open range zoo to spot gorillas (the only ones in New Zealand) and hand feed the giraffe. Watch majestic lions as they bask in the sun and come face to face with a rhino as part of their rhino experience. What better way to get a dose of fresh air than quality time spent with everyone’s favourite four-legged friends? 

Akaroa Sea Life Experiences

Located just a 1.5-hour scenic drive away from the city, Akaroa is the perfect spot to observe beautiful sea life up close. Check out Akaroa Dolphins and Black Cat Cruises to witness the rare and indigenous Hector's dolphin, along with seals, penguins, and numerous coastal sea birds. Make sure to visit Pohatu Penguins while you're there, as it is home to the largest colony of little blue penguins on mainland New Zealand. Akaroa is a perfect winter's day destination to enjoy the cuteness overload of sea life and fill up your cup on a chilly day.

Restaurant Cosy-Ups

Discover your new favorite foodie spot in the beautiful city of Ōtautahi Christchurch. From the bustling hubs of The Terrace, Riverside Market, The Crossing, and the BNZ Centre, to the numerous eateries, restaurants, and bars scattered around the inner city and beyond, the city has something for everyone. With endless flavours and cuisines to choose from, you can never go wrong with trying a new place and enjoying a winter's day meal in a cosy spot.

City Shopping

Escape the cold weather and explore the vibrant stores and boutiques located in the city centre. With over 100 shops on Cashel Street alone, indulging in some well-deserved retail therapy on a chilly day sounds like an excellent idea, don't you think? The Ballantynes Department Store is an excellent place to start, then be sure to check out The Crossing and Riverside Lanes for even more fabulous boutique shopping.

Gondola Ride

Prepare to be blown away by the breathtaking views of Christchurch, Lyttelton Harbour and beyond from the summit station atop the Port Hills. The Christchurch Gondola is an absolute must-do experience, offering panoramic vistas of the snow-capped Southern Alps, sprawling Canterbury Plains, and the sparkling waters of Pegasus Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Take in the wintery wonderland while enjoying a hot cup of coffee from the cafe at the top.

Riverside Market

Riverside Market is a bustling indoor farmers' market, boutique shopping centre, and international cuisine hub situated in the heart of Ōtautahi Christchurch. Overlooking the beautiful Ōtākaro Avon River, this lively destination is the perfect place to escape the cold, indulge in some retail therapy, and enjoy delicious food from top-notch restaurants, lively bars, and a colourful array of global cuisine options. The beautifully lit space is adorned with lush decorative plants, wooden detailing, and a contemporary rustic ambiance that will make you forget all about the chilly day outside.

The International Antarctic Centre

Elevate the chill at the International Antarctic Centre in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Brace yourself for an exhilarating ride on a Hägglund, then step inside the Storm Dome where you'll feel the chill of an Antarctic storm in -18 degrees celsius! Witness adorable rescue penguins swim, pet some huskies and enjoy 4D short films that will transport you to the heart of Antarctica. Discover the thrill of exploring Antarctica in one of the five Antarctic gateway cities in the world!