Planning to explore New Zealand’s South Island? Christchurch is an excellent starting point. It’s easy to get lured by the English atmosphere, architecture, and layout of South Island’s largest city. The challenge comes with choosing where to stay in Christchurch.
With its sizeable urban sprawl yet low profile, searching through the best areas to stay in Christchurch can be intimidating. The good news? The best hotels in Christchurch often have lower rates than those in Queenstown or Auckland. It’s easy to find great rooms at good prices—even in city centre neighbourhoods.
Ready to start your Christchurch accommodation search? Find the perfect room with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Christchurch.
Best places to stay in Christchurch
The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes showed the city’s indomitable spirit. Like a phoenix, Christchurch has been reborn. Located on River Avon’s banks, the British first settled here in 1848. Through a 1856 Royal Charter, it was declared a city. To this day, no city in New Zealand is more reminiscent of England than Christchurch.
Also called the “Garden City,” Christchurch is home to one of the country’s most important airports and the busiest one in South Island. It’s the oldest colonial city in New Zealand and is the gateway to the Canterbury Region and South Island.
There’s a mix of interesting areas & neighbourhoods in Christchurch. In the Central Business District, you’ll find bustling streets lined with shops, restaurants, and hotels. Outside the city centre, there’s other great areas to stay. You’ll enjoy spending time in Riccarton, the city’s university district. Or settle down in Merivale, one of the hippest neighbourhoods in city. Got the ocean on your mind? Check out Sumner, a seaside retreat that’s full of character. Wherever you decide to stay in Christchurch, plenty awaits for both leisure & business travellers.
The best areas to stay in Christchurch include:
Christchurch Central City
✔ Best area to stay in Christchurch for business & shopping
The heart of the Canterbury Region lies in Christchurch Central City. Also known as Christchurch CBD or the Inner City, this central location is home to the top tourist attractions in Christchurch. It’s bound by Deans Avenue in the west, Moorhouse Avenue to the south, Fitzgerald Avenue to the east, and Bealey Avenue to the north.
The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes devastated Christchurch Central City. Since then, the area has been revitalized. Many of its buildings were rebuilt and showcase innovative and eye-popping architectural styles. Today, Christchurch City-Centre is a tourist hotspot.
The city centre is sprinkled with modern restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and cafes. It’s the perfect place to base yourself while experiencing the city.
The city’s most famous point of interest is Cathedral Square. The square is located in the geographical centre of the area. Here, you’ll find the renowned Christchurch Cathedral, the city’s most famous historical landmark. Although damaged in the quakes, it’s still one of Christchurch’s most important historic symbols.
In Christchurch Central City, you’ll also find world-class museums and art galleries. The Canterbury Museum is one of the country’s best. Miraculously, 95% of its collection stayed intact during the quakes. Be sure to check out the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. The gallery home to one of the most popular art collections in New Zealand.
The Christchurch City-Centre district is well-connected by public transport and pedestrian-friendly. You’ll find bus stops on nearly every corner. Taxis are available throughout the CBD. You can even hop onto the refurbished Christchurch Tramway for historical sightseeing tours.
Recommended hotels in Christchurch Central City
Most of the top Christchurch hotels call Christchurch City-Centre home. For travellers, this area is the best place to start an accommodation search.
Quest on Manchester is a 4-star hotel featuring self-catered, modern accommodation. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout the property. Quest on Manchester is within walking distance to the CBD. For art lovers, the Christchurch Art Gallery is just 1.7 kilometres away.
The Parque is a lovely hotel refurbished with an Art Deco vibe. Each room has a kitchenette with a fridge and a microwave. All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV. The hotel is just 100 metres from Victoria Street. Christchurch Art Gallery is also less than a kilometre away.
Sudima Christchurch City is a brand-new 5-star boutique hotel on Victoria Street. Each room offers a soothing colour palette with clean modern design lines. Take your relaxation to the next level at the luxurious day spa, Moss. The hotel is surrounded by bars, restaurants, and cafes. For those looking for nightlife during their stay, it’s the perfect choice.
OGB Suites offers fully-serviced apartments with classical architecture and interiors. Facilities available include an indoor swimming pool, a fitness room, and a sauna. All units come with a fully-equipped kitchen and a living room.
The Salisbury Hotel is an elegant luxury hotel in a prime location in central Christchurch. The rooms shine with a sophisticated colonial vibe. The hotel is close to Christchurch Arts Centre, Victoria Street, Christchurch Art Gallery. Other points of interest nearby include Victoria Square, Hagley Park, and Canterbury Museum.
The George is a luxurious 5-star boutique hotel in the heart of the city. Its 53 comfortable & stylish rooms all boast modern bathrooms and contemporary furnishings. Guests will enjoy views of the River Avon and Hagley Park. Spend a night nibbling at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, 50 Bistro. It serves contemporary cuisine and offers al fresco dining.
✔ Top area to stay in Christchurch for fashion & food
Merivale is one of the coolest areas in Christchurch City. The neighbourhood is north of the city centre and Hagley Park, down Papanui Road.
While mostly residential, Merivale also has plenty in store for fashionistas and foodies. Merivale Mall sits at the centre of the neighbourhood. Plenty of hip fashion boutiques also await to shop for the latest styles. On the streets of Merivale, you’ll also enjoy a wide assortment of cool cafés and trendy restaurants.
To the south, Hagley Park is famous for its flower gardens, mature trees, and well-maintained open spaces. During spring, you’ll enjoy some of the city’s most picturesque views here. The neighbouring Christchurch Botanic Gardens is another fantastic place to relax.
If you’re looking for nightlife in Merivale, the area might not be the best choice. It doesn’t have much of a clubbing culture. Instead, it has its share of laid-back bars for outdoor drinking and late dining. Aikmans and Number 4 are two good choices.
From most parts of Merivale, Christchurch City-Centre is about 30 minutes by foot.
Recommended hotels in Merivale
Thanks to a mix of the well-known “motel mile” on Papanui Road, B&Bs, and business-oriented hotels, Merivale is an excellent area to stay in Christchurch. It offers excellent lodgings within most price ranges.
Pavilions Hotel offers simple, yet comfortable, modern rooms that provide excellent value. Extras include a well-equipped fitness centre, a spa pool, and an outdoor heated swimming pool. Pavilions Hotel is within walking distance of Christchurch Casino and Hagley Park. You’ll also be close to Victoria Street and its wide selection of bars, restaurants, and shops. Central Christchurch is 5 minutes away by car.
Merivale Manor was built in the 1880s. It offers charming accommodation that blend classic and modern sensibilities. The hotel is a 5-minute drive from central Christchurch. There’s also a bus stop is right outside the building. Getting around the city is no problem from here.
Heartland Hotel Cotswold is one of the area’s top choices for budget travellers. It offers simple accommodations in a English countryside-inspired manor house. Facilities include a fitness room, a sauna, and an outdoor swimming pool. All rooms have coffee and tea making facilities, and satellite channel TVs. It’s a short walk from the Christchurch Casino and the Christchurch Art Centre.
Randolph Motel Apartments is only 600 metres away from the Merivale Mall. Standard rooms come with a fridge, kettle, toaster, microwave, and ceramic stovetop. It has a fitness centre and offers free parking. For leisure walks, the motel is within walking distance of Hagley Park.
Adelphi Motel offers colourful contemporary accommodations with free private parking and Wi-Fi. Adelphi Motel is 2 kilometres from Hagley Park and 5 kilometres away from Rugby League Park. The motel is also close to Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch Arts Centre, and Canterbury Museum.
✔ Recommended area to stay in Christchurch for shopping, dining & nightlife
Riccarton is known as Christchurch’s quintessential university district. This buzzing area is west of Hagley Park and close to the city centre.
Many of Christchurch’s major educational institutions call Riccarton home. The popular University of Canterbury sits to the west between Riccarton and Fendalton. Its young, vibrant student population adds much flavour to the district.
Riccarton wasn’t as devastated by the Canterbury earthquakes as the CBD. Many businesses, relocated their operations here. Quikcly, Riccarton became one of Christchurch’s nightlife & shopping hubs.
One of the area’s biggest attractions is Westfield Riccarton. The massive shopping complex has become a favourite dining & entertainment destination in the city. The neighbourhood is also chock-loaded with excellent international restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
Riccarton is 10 minutes away from central Christchurch by car. Plenty of public transportation options await to get your sightseeing adventures rolling.
Recommended hotels in Riccarton
For budget travellers, Riccarton is a great area to stay in Christchurch. It’s got plenty of cheap accommodations and is close to the city centre. Finding a good hotel, motel or B&B at a reasonable price shouldn’t be difficult. For the best luxury hotels in Christchurch, you’ll need to look elsewhere though.
FYFFE on Riccarton is an excellent value mid-range hotel on the area’s main street. Each room comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, fridge, microwave, and flat-screen TV with a DVD player. FYFFE on Riccarton also offer transfers to & from the Christchurch Casino. It’s located half a kilometre from Canterbury University and 10 minutes by car from Christchurch Airport.
Parkview On Hagley is a 4-star hotel overlooking Hagley Park in Christchurch’s centre. The hotel offers roomy suite-style accommodation with free parking and internet. It’s also walking distance from the CBD. Upgrade to a room with a balcony to revel in views of Hagley Park.
Kauri Motel on Riccarton offers luxurious studio apartments. It lies opposite the Westfield Riccarton shopping mall. Each unit is equipped with heated towel rails, electric blankets, air conditioning, and a heat pump. Self-catering facilities include coffee/tea making facilities, ceramic hob, microwave, and fridge.
Quality Suites Amore offers self-contained accommodations. They come complete with kitchen facilities, satellite TV, and free unlimited Wi-Fi. This hotel is 200 metres away from the shops, bars, restaurants, and cinemas of Westfield Riccarton. Quality Suites Amore is 8 minutes away from the city centre by car.
Roma On Riccarton Motel is a great choice if you’re looking for bigger, high-quality accommodations. The motel is close Hagley Park and Christchurch Railway Station. They offer one- and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchenette facilities. An excellent selection of cafes, restaurants, and shops surround the motel.
Golden Star Motel was built-in 2017. The motel offers spacious rooms with stylish modern furnishings. They’re equipped with LED TVs and cable connections. Golden Star Motel is 1.6 kilometres from Hagley Park and less than kilometre from AMI Stadium.
✔ Best neighbourhood to stay in Christchurch for seaside charms, outdoor adventure & families
Want to get away from the humdrum of city life and take a breath of fresh open sea air? Christchurch’s coastal district of Sumner is the area of choice. Sumner is 20 minutes from the centre to southeast. It sits on the western edge of the rugged Bank Peninsula.
Sumner Beach is the area’s main leisure point. It’s a popular place for water sports like windsurfing and kayaking. There’s a handful of surf schools in the area, too. If you ever wanted to learn how to hit the waves, Sumner is a great place to do it!
Even if not staying here, locals & travellers visit the area for outdoor activities. Options include mountain biking, climbing, camping at the beach, and visiting parks & gardens. With all its activities, Sumner is one of the most popular Christchurch day trips for visitors.
Nearby, you can tackle your need for altitude at the Christchurch Gondola. The famous funicular will transport you from Heathcote Valley to the top of Mount Cavendish in the Port Hills. While you’re up there, strap on your hiking shoes to check out some of Christchurch’s best hiking trails. On the hikes, you’ll marvel some of the finest views in the city.
To get into the city centre, there are several convenient bus stops throughout Sumner.
Recommended hotels in Sumner
Sumner doesn’t have many hotels, but you’ll find a handful of hostels and apartments near the beach. The neighbouring town of Lyttelton presents a few more options, too. For top-end luxury, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Harbour Lodge is located in the port town Lyttelton, less than 10 minutes south of Sumner. It offers accommodations with barbecue facilities, a garden, and a shared lounge. Units are available with sea or garden views. They come equipped with a washing machine, wardrobe, flat-screen TV with Blu-ray player, and a kitchen.
Sumner Bay Motel is only 300 metres away from Sumner Beach. The motel offers free private parking and Wi-Fi with each accommodation. All rooms have private bathrooms and kitchenettes. Other amenities include a wardrobe, hairdryer, kettle, microwave, and a flat-screen TV with satellite.
Cave Rock Guest House is the perfect Sumner hotel. Settle in to enjoy a view of the sea while having a barbecue. The Cave Rock Guest House offers accommodations with free private parking and Wi-Fi. All rooms have a flat-screen TV and a kettle. Nearby, you can engage in activities such as cycling, windsurfing, and playing golf.
Sumner Re Treat is a boutique hotel offering apartments with free internet access and a private balcony. Each apartment has full cooking facilities, stylish heated bathrooms, and air conditioning. Within a 2-minute walk you’ll be on Sumner Beach.