Where to Stay in Christchurch When You Visit (Updated 2024)

A vintage tram near the Bridge of Remembrance in Christchurch, New Zealand
Posted: 02/10/24 | February 10, 2024

Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city (and the largest in the South Island) and is full of cool markets, trendy bars and lots of new and trendy restaurants. It’s a laid-back destination that’s perfect for a few days exploring and enjoying local life.

After being severely damaged by earthquakes between 2010 and 2012, it is now being revitalized. And while there isn’t much to see or do here (only 380,000 people live here), it’s by no means a boring destination. There is a fun nightlife, lots of museums and plenty of green spaces where you can end the day or go hiking.

To help you decide where to stay in Christchurch, I’m highlighting the best neighborhoods below, as well as some of my favorite hotels in each area. (Still, Christchurch is fairly compact and you can easily walk around most of it.)


First time visitor


outdoor enthusiasts

Where to stay in Christchurch for first-time visitors: Christchurch Central

This is the heart of the city, also known as the city center or CBD. From here you can walk to many of the top attractions including the Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, expansive Hagley Park and the historic hop-on hop-off vintage tram. This is also where you will find most of the restaurants. While this is home to many of Christchurch’s main hotels and plenty of shopping, it is also home to the most hostels, making it a fun and affordable area to stay.

The best places to stay in Central:

  • BUDGET: Urbanz Christchurch – This lively, sociable hostel has a bar with some of the cheapest beers in the city, making it a fun place to stay if you want to meet people. There is a large kitchen as well as a large common room (with a fireplace) where you can watch movies or play billiards. The beds do not have privacy curtains, but they do have very thick mattresses. There are also lockers and numerous electrical outlets in the dormitories. It is one of my favorite hostels in the country.
  • MEDIUM: Carnmore Hotel – This is a modern, stylish four-star hotel within walking distance of everything in the neighborhood. The rooms are bright and spacious, with colorful wallpaper and a simple, minimalist design. The beds are comfortable and the rooms have a TV, a desk and a coffee/tea maker. The showers have excellent water pressure.
  • LUXURY: The Observatory Hotel – This luxurious five-star hotel is housed in a huge, palatial building that was once home to a real observatory. It’s a boutique hotel with just 33 rooms, each with antique accents and unique, colorful decor. The rooms (and bathrooms) are large and airy and the beds are incredibly comfortable. The lounge is particularly impressive with its exposed brick walls and hardwood floor.

Where to Stay in Christchurch for Foodies: Merivale

In this hip suburb you’ll find lots of cool cafes, trendy boutiques and chic restaurants. As it is primarily a residential area, there are not many hotels here, giving the area a less busy and more relaxed atmosphere. However, it’s only a 30-minute walk to the city center, so it’s very easy to explore the city from here.

Best places to stay in Merivale:

  • BUDGET: Ashford Motor Lodge – This unpretentious motel is ideal for travelers on the road as it has free off-street parking. The rooms are simple but spacious and comfortable and have plenty of natural light. The bathrooms are also spacious and well lit and the showers have great water pressure. There is also an outdoor pool and barbecue areas, as well as on-site laundry facilities. Because the rooms are apartment-style, each has a kitchen, as well as a work desk, coffee/tea maker, microwave, and television.
  • MEDIUM: Pavilions Hotel – In addition to large, clean, and modern rooms, this four-star hotel has two on-site restaurants, as well as a heated outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a small fitness center. It’s not a particularly fancy hotel, with a rather simple, modern design and feel, but it’s comfortable, clean and offers great value. The rooms are large and well lit and the beds are comfortable. The bathrooms are spacious and clean, with good water pressure. There is also free parking.
  • LUXURY: The Mayfair – Just south of Merivale, close to the edge of Hagley Park, this elegant and stylish five-star hotel offers a plush atmosphere. Everything is modern and contemporary. The rooms are bright and feature a bathroom with a walk-in shower, a flat-screen TV, a minibar, a coffee/tea maker and excellent soundproofing. Although breakfast is not included in the price, it is delicious and includes many fresh, regional dishes.

Where to Stay in Christchurch for Nightlife: Riccarton

To the west of Hagley Park is Riccarton, a relatively quiet suburb with a large student population (thanks to its proximity to the University of Canterbury). Since there are a lot of students here during the day, it’s pretty quiet, but there are also plenty of bars and pubs, making it a good base for night owls who like to bar hop. The city center can also be reached by car in just 10 minutes. Although it feels a bit far away from everything, it is still just a stone’s throw from everything.

The best places to stay in Riccarton:

  • BUDGET: Metropolitan Motel – This functional motel is one of the cheapest places to stay in this part of the city. The apartment-style rooms are modern and well-maintained and feature comfortable beds, kitchenettes, and flat-screen TVs. Outside there is a barbecue area and free parking. The owner is super friendly and takes great care to ensure you have a hospitable stay.
  • MEDIUM: Chateau on the Park – Located on Hagley Park on the eastern edge of Riccarton, this four-star hotel is just a five-minute drive from downtown. It is modern and features a simple but contemporary design, with bright rooms that have flat-screen TVs, work desks, coffee/tea makers and large bathrooms. The beds are also comfortable. There is a bar and restaurant on-site, as well as a fitness center. There is also free parking.
  • LUXURY: There are no luxury accommodations in this part of the city. The Mayfair (mentioned above) is the closest five star hotel in this area.

Where to Stay in Christchurch for Outdoor Enthusiasts: Kashmir

Cashmere, a 10-minute drive south of the city centre, is a quiet suburb on the north side of the Port Hills and offers stunning views over the area as well as plenty of green space. In general it is a cheaper area to stay, although the choice of hotels here is limited so make sure you book early. If you like to spend most of your time outside hiking and enjoying nature, this is the neighborhood for you.

Best Places to Stay in Kashmir:

  • BUDGET: The But n Ben – With apartment-style rooms, this small property is the cheapest you’ll find in the Cashmere area. It features a private pool and mountain views. The rooms are clean and stylish with minimalist design and lots of natural light. They also feature kitchenettes, TVs, coffee/tea makers, sofas, desks and plenty of space to relax (both indoors and outdoors). It’s a good choice for couples or solo travelers looking for a quiet stay outside the city center.
  • LUXURY: Dyers House – This charming B&B is set in a century-old Edwardian house. The house itself is huge and stunning, with large rooms letting in lots of natural light. Some offer beautiful views of the nearby hills, while others have a terrace or a view of the relaxing garden. The owners are particularly friendly and helpful and will do their best to ensure you have an exceptional stay. Breakfast is delicious, with lots of fresh fruit and pastries, and the dining room itself offers great views of the surrounding area.


Christchurch is a cool little town and a must for anyone traveling through New Zealand. It has come a long way after the earthquake and feels reborn.

And even though the city isn’t huge, your decision about where to stay will impact your trip. By choosing one of the neighborhoods above, you can enjoy the best accommodation Christchurch has to offer while making the most of your stay.

Book your trip to New Zealand: Logistical tips and tricks

Book your flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines all over the world, so you always know no stone is left unturned!

Book your accommodation
You can book your hostel at Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they always show the cheapest prices for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

If you’re looking for more places to stay, here’s a full list of my favorite hostels in New Zealand.

Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case something goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I have had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value for money are:

Are you looking for the best companies to save you money?
Check out my resources page for the best companies to use while traveling. I list all the ways I save money on the go. You also save money when traveling.

Would you like more information about New Zealand?
Be sure to visit our detailed New Zealand travel guide for even more planning tips!

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