While many visitors to Akaroa are aware that things are still operational over the hills in Christchurch, it seems that some have interpreted the redirection of tours around the outskirts of the city to mean that the entire city has been flattened by last year’s earthquakes.

So we thought it was worthwhile to clear up any misunderstanding and remind people exactly what is still running in the garden city.

Christchurch International Airport

The largest airport in the South Island, centrally located and recently upgraded, is very much up and running. The airport remains a hub for international visitors to New Zealand, and provides a direct link to Asia via Air Asia, as well as direct flights to Australia, the Pacific and the United States.

Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens

In a city known for its beautiful gardens, the centrally located Botanic Gardens are the jewel in the crown. Still extremely popular with locals and visitors alike the Gardens neighbour Canterbury Museum, which is also operational with new exhibitions (including one around the earthquakes), and the Hagley Park Event Centre which has become the venue of choice for arts, music and other events. Coming very soon is the Ellerslie Flower Show, which is currently under construction.

Cafes, Restaurants and Bars Galore

Although the very popular bars and cafes along the Strip and SOL square are no longer, the city has benefited from new “pop-up” bars and food outlets including the Carlton Country Club on Bealey Ave, Revival Bar in Victoria Street, Cargo Bar and Dux Live in Addington and the Brewery in Woolston. For more information about what’s on offer where, visit the blog.


Central city hotels are now mostly unavailable, but the majority of motels along Papanui and Riccarton Roads are fully functional, as well as hotels a little further out like The Chateau on the Park, the George Hotel, Pavilions, Heartland Hotel and many more.


All the suburban shopping areas around the city are open for business, and the central city has come alive again with the addition of the Re:Start Popup Mall located in Cashel Mall. This has been a highly popular initiative with locals and visitors alike, featuring 30 retail outlets and several cafes. Two hours of free parking nearby makes this an easy location to explore – and of course shop!


Many will have heard about the CBD (central business district) “red zone” where demolitions are currently taking place. Focusing around Cathedral Square, the red zone now only involves a small number of city blocks. The majority of the rest of Christchurch continues to run very much as usual.

The map below shows how small the red zone currently is, with further reductions planned within the next two months.

More things to do in Christchurch

More Akaroa activities