What you need to know about where to stay in Christchurch

The largest city on New Zealand’s South Island has proven to be a city of an indestructible spirit. Severely affected by the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, the city, like a phoenix, is being reborn.

Best areas to stay in Christchurch

Best areas to stay in Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch, located on the banks of the River Avon, was first settled by the British in 1848 and became a city by Royal Charter in 1856, making it officially the oldest city in New Zealand.

Called the “Garden City”, Christchurch’s layout, architecture and atmosphere are more reminiscent of England than any other city in the country.

With one of New Zealand’s most important airports (the busiest on the South Island), Christchurch can be considered the gateway to this gorgeous region.

And, like all kiwi cities, the Garden City has a very low profile and an large urban sprawl, so finding the best area to stay in Christchurch is very important.

With regards to hotel fares, the city offers good news. Christchurch average rates are usually lower than those in Auckland or Queenstown, so this city is an excellent starting point for exploring the South Island.


The best areas to stay in Christchurch, New Zealand

1. Christchurch City-Centre

The Christchurch’s CBD, also known as the “Inner City” is the true heart of Christchurch.

The area suffered major damage during the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and it’s undergoing an extensive process of repair and reinvention.

Many businesses, attractions, cafes and accommodatipon properties have continued to operate without interruption. It is expected that the rest of businesses that are still closed will open their doors in the coming months.

To prove that there is no earthquake that can trump the city’s spirit, temporary shopping centres housed in cargo containers, keep the pulse of the city center going while providing a cool and alternative vibe to the central district.

The CBD is probably the best area to stay in Christchurch. If possible, select a hotel located in the rectangle bounded by the four main avenues: Deans, Bealey, Moorehouse and Fitzgerald, since this will allow you to walk to most of the attractions.

Hand-picked hotels


Area Rating:

Where to stay in Christchurch - CBD

Where to stay in Christchurch – CBD

Christchurch City Centre - Click to see all options

Christchurch City Centre – Click to see all options

Why stay here:

  • It’s the city centre
  • You can walk everywhere
  • Alternative, hip atmosphere
  • Bars, restaurants and popup shops
  • Great transportation options



2. Riccarton

The quintessential university district of Christchurch, Riccarton is west of Hagley Park, close to the city centre.

The area was not impacted by earthquakes as severely as the CBD and has become an important shopping and nightlife hub.

Riccarton has a huge shopping center, lots of Asian restaurants, stores, and heaps of cheap motels and cafes.

Riccarton offers some of the cheapest accommodation options in Christchurch.

The area between Riccarton and Fendalton is known as Ilam, and this is where the University of Canterbury is located.

Hand-picked hotels


Area Rating:

Riccarton Christchurch

Riccarton Christchurch

Riccarton - Click to see all hotels

Riccarton – Click to see all hotels

Why stay here:

  • Close to the CBD
  • Popular with students
  • Nightlife and restaurants
  • Shopping venues
  • University of Canterbury



3. Merivale

A yuppie neighborhood with a bit of a kick.

Located between Papanui and the city centre, Merivale is an attractive neighborhood, close to the heart of Christchurch.

It offers a good number of B&Bs and lodges along the famous “Motel Mile” which runs south along Papanui Road from Merivale Mall to Bealey Avenue.

It is a safe area and a nice place to stay, and you can walk here from the city centre in about 30 minutes.

Hand-picked hotels


Area Rating:

Merivale - Click to see all hotels

Merivale – Click to see all hotels

Why stay here:

  • Upper class neighbourhood
  • Relatively central
  • Lots of accommodation options
  • Restaurants and nightlife



Read this post in Spanish.

About the Author

My name is Luis Cicerone. When I was little, I would walk around the house with an atlas in my hand. My rainy Sundays were spent memorising maps and capitals. At fifteen I did my first solo trip and since then I travel whenever I can. I work in travel marketing. I love photography, movies and cat videos.

Leave a Reply