The Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Christchurch, New Zealand

If you visit New Zealand and have extended time in Christchurch or happen to be passing through, you have so many exciting options to see the city’s neighbourhoods and areas.

Here, I have rounded up the top neighbourhood destinations in Christchurch you can visit.

The Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Christchurch, New Zealand

1. Cashmere

Cashmere
Cashmere

Situated in the southern end of the city centre to the north of Port Hills, Cashmere is an all-time favourite among locals. It’s great to escape the downtown crowd without straying out of the urban areas.

You would also visit the suburb’s village-like flair and the heritage buildings that come along with it.

This includes renowned crime writer Dame Ngaio Marsh’s former residence, which is now a museum. A range of chilled-out cafés and retail shops you would love to visit. This is one of the coolest Neighborhoods in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The suburb’s Port Hills location offers a commanding view over the rest of the mostly flat city. Cashmere’s proximity to the rest of the Port Hills has also made it a favourite for recreation. The upper reaches of the suburb are dominated by Victoria Park, with its multiple bike and walking tracks and connections to further tracks running the length of the Port Hills.

2. Ferrymead

Ferrymead
Ferrymead

Situated southeast of Christchurch, Ferrymead is a major thoroughfare for reaching areas like Sumner and Pegasus Bay. In addition, several commercial entities shifted to Ferrymead after the 2011 earthquake, making the neighbourhood a hot retail and hospitality hub.

It is also native to the Ferrymead Heritage Park, which recreates Christchurch’s life in the Edwardian era.

Ferrymead owes its historical importance to the hills dividing Christchurch from the port of Lyttelton. Pioneers transported their goods over the steep Bridle Path from Lyttelton to Heathcote, where punts were used to cross the river into early Christchurch.

Later, traffic came by sea up the estuary. In 1863, the first railway in New Zealand was opened, running from Ferrymead into central Christchurch. This railway line inspired Ferrymead Heritage Park and the restored railway line.

3. Fendalton

Fendalton
Fendalton

This is one of Christchurch’s most affluent suburbs, located to the west of central Christchurch near the University of Canterbury. It is also close to the main route that starts from downtown and ends at Christchurch International Airport.

This is also one of the city’s oldest residential areas – the Mona Vale homestead. It is a noteworthy place showcasing the attractive neighbourhood’s heritage.

Fendalton was the site for many early buildings in the settlement of Christchurch, including an early flour mill along what is now Fendalton Road. Daniel Inwood built this flour mill when they came to New Zealand aboard the Sir George Seymour in 1850 and used machinery that Inwood brought with him from England.

The suburb is also home to multiple significant historical buildings, especially as examples of various styles of homesteads. Above all, these include St Barnabas Church, Daresbury, and Los Angeles – one of the first examples of a California bungalow in New Zealand.

4. Ilam

Ilam

This is a free and leafy suburb with the University of Canterbury. It has much more than just this. The place is 3.1 miles from the city centre and is incredibly close to the central retail hub of Riccarton, which is also close to the international airport.

Close to the university, students and visitors alike can enjoy many cafés, eateries, and a bookshop. It is also home to the Ilam Homestead, an infamous heritage site for Peter Jackson’s 1994 psychological drama Heavenly Creatures.

The rector of Canterbury College in the 1950s inhabited the Ilam homestead, Henry Rainsford Hulme. In 1954, the homestead gained notoriety as Hulme’s 16-year-old daughter Juliet was involved in the Parker–Hulme murder case.

The homestead was a significant location for Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures about the murders. It has been the University of Canterbury Staff Club since 1971.

5. Merivale

Merivale
Merivale

This is a residential area to the north of the city centre. It has many narrow streets lined with historic cottages that brought the neighbourhood to life in the 19th century. It is also famous for its local mall, which boasts a chic establishment with a great selection of boutique shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants.

 Like all suburbs in Christchurch, it has no defined boundaries and is a general area. Still, for statistical analysis only, Statistics New Zealand[3] defines it as Heaton Street to the north, Papanui Road to the east, Harper and Bealey Avenues to the south and Rossall Street to the west.

However, Real Estate advertising often will claim residences outside this area, especially St Albans to the east of Papanui Road, as being Merivale due to the perceived desirability of the region.

6. Sumner

Sumner
Sumner

Located at the seaside, it is nestled in a beautiful valley. You will find it all when you visit this place. One of the oldest cities in Christchurch, Sumner has always been a favorable place to live.

You can enjoy a laidback coastal lifestyle in a vibrant suburb that’s as safe as fantastic. The Sumner locals enjoy staying at the beach in the summer months, a popular spot for surfers.

One of Christchurch’s oldest European settlements, Sumner, was first surveyed in 1849. It was to become Christchurch’s second port and was initially settled by European work crews building the road to Lyttleton until the Lyttelton Tunnel was built in 1964; the main road between Christchurch and Lyttelton passed through Sumner.

Sumner is a popular beach resort for Christchurch settlers, especially since a tram link was built in 1888. Originally a separate borough, Sumner became part of Greater Christchurch in 1945 under the Christchurch City Council.

7. Riccarton

Riccarton
Riccarton

A neighbouring city that can cater to most budgets is Riccarton. With a mix of townhouses, character homes, and units, Riccarton offers a central location and a tremendous cosmopolitan lifestyle.

You will find many cafés and bars, which makes it the perfect place for young and upcoming professionals. Riccarton area is a family place, with good schools and many parks and playgrounds just around the corner.

Final Thoughts

Christchurch is a trove of vibrant neighbourhoods, each offering a unique slice of life, from Cashmere’s historic charm to Riccarton’s bustling energy. Cashmere, perched on the southern end, is a favourite for its panoramic views and proximity to outdoor activities, making it a perfect escape from the urban buzz. Ferrymead’s historical significance and recreation of Edwardian Christchurch at the Heritage Park stands out. For those seeking luxury, Fendalton offers affluent living and a rich history, including the Mona Vale homestead. Meanwhile, Ilam caters to the academic crowd with its proximity to the University of Canterbury, bustling with cafes and a rich historical tapestry highlighted by the infamous Ilam Homestead. Merivale is unmatched for a blend of historic cottages and modern shopping.

My recommendation: each neighbourhood in Christchurch tells a different story, so take the time to explore these diverse areas for a fuller city experience.

Mamta Sharma

Mamta is a spirited writer hailing from Wellington, bringing a youthful zest to the world of digital content. Merging her love for narrative with an eye for detail, Ella crafts stories that resonate and engage the modern reader.