When to go to Christchurch
Christchurch by seasons
Located in the southern hemisphere, Christchurch’s seasons are the opposite of those in the UK. Its summers fall between December and February and its winters from June to August. Overall, the city enjoys a dry, temperate climate with cool winters and warm summers. It’s possible to travel here all year round, including the snowy depths of winter, depending on your interests.
September to November
Spring is a lovely time to visit Christchurch as the city bursts into colour and the flowers bloom all over the parks. Listen out for the lambs bleating in the fields and, down on the Avon River, the ducklings splashing about in the water. With temperatures sometimes pushing 17°C, this is a great time to get outdoors and try white water rafting in Rangitata or to hit the hot pools at nearby Hanmer Springs.
Oktoberfest: It might be far, far from Bavaria, but that doesn’t stop Christchurch from celebrating Oktoberfest, with beer (of course), oompah bands, and plenty of Bratwurst, held in various locations.
Christchurch Christmas Festival: it might be a month early, but in late November, get down to Saxon Square for the annual Christmas market, visits from Santa and the switch on of the Christmas lights.
December to February
There are plenty of beaches along the coast around Christchurch, and summer is the ideal time to try them out. Surfing is possible too, and with long daylight hours, dining beachside is a real treat. Summers here are warm, but thankfully not too hot, with temperatures rising to the mid-twenties. This makes sweat-free sightseeing a dream, and walks in the parks very pleasant indeed.
New Year’s Eve: Bid the old year farewell in style at the annual celebration in Hagley Park, with music, feasting and singing, and culminating in a dramatic fireworks display. And it’s free!
Christchurch Christmas Lightshow: With over 500,000 lights used to decorate the city, and displays synchronised to music, this Christmassy extravaganza is not to be missed.
March to May
Mild and sunny autumn days are accompanied by the gorgeous golden colours that adorn the trees here, best seen in Hagley Park or just by the roadside. Punting on the Avon is a particular treat, as the foliage reflects in the calm waters. Temperatures can still hit the mid-twenties, so it’s a good time to come to enjoy the outdoors before the wintertime comes.
Outdoor swimming: Christchurch’s many outdoor pools open from November to March, so grab your swimmers, get down to the parks and cool off from the summer sun.
Outdoor cinema: On the last Friday of the month, Christchurch’s Arts Centre shows outdoor movies on the giant screen, with family-friendly and adults-only flicks, as well as copious popcorn on offer.
June to August
Christchurch turns into a veritable winter wonderland in winter, with snow, or at least frost covering much of the city and its surrounding countryside. As long as you wrap up warm, the cold weather (down to an average of -3°C) shouldn’t put you off, as this is a lovely time to come and enjoy the white landscapes, or have a go at skiing at the 13 ski areas within easy access of the city.
KidsFest: If you’re travelling with children then this family-focussed winter festival, held in July, will be right up your street. There’s stargazing, painting, a circus, movies and skiing among numerous other activities to keep the little ones amused.
Christchurch Arts Festival: celebrate the visual arts at this annual festival, held between August and September, where the city puts on various performances and concerts.