Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram is a heritage tram route catering to tourists that loops around some of the key attractions in Christchurch central city.

Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram

The heritage tramway route opened in February 1995 to cater to the tourist market. The 2011 Christchurch earthquake damaged the tram circuit and the tramway reopened in November 2013 on a limited route. A new extended route opened in February this year that includes Oxford Terrace, Cashel Street, and High Street to Cathedral Square.

The tram starts at Cathedral Junction and travels through Cathedral Square, High Street and past the Re:START Mall. The tram then rejoins the loop and passes Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, Hagley Park and Victoria Square. The tram travels through New Regent Street and back to Cathedral Junction. There are currently 17 stops.

Christchurch Tram Route Map

Christchurch Tram Route Map

Trams run approximately every 15 – 20 minutes. From September to March tram hours are 9am to 6pm and 10am to 5pm, April to August. Adults can purchase a pass for $20 that allows unlimited travel for that date. Children (under 15) travel for free.

The tram drivers provide informative onboard commentary. I had three drivers on the day I traveled and they each had their own style and perspective on the city.

Riding Christchurch Tram

Riding Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram is run by Welcome Aboard and they offer combo tickets and passes for that include other attractions, such as Christchurch Gondola, punting on the Avon River, tours of Christchurch Botanic Gardens. See their website for more details.

There is also the Tramway Restaurant, an evening four course dinner sightseeing tour of Christchurch. The tram departs Cathedral Junction at 7 pm. Reservations are essential. I haven’t experienced the Tramway Restaurant so if you have let me know what you thought in the comments below.

New Regent Street

New Regent Street is a boutique shopping and heritage pedestrian mall in Christchurch.

New Regent Street

New Regent Street

The street is located between Gloucester and Armagh Streets with a number of cafés, bars, retail and beauty shops.

New Regent Street opened during the Depression on April 1st 1932 as a beacon of hope for the people of Christchurch. Over a 3 year period the area that was previously a skating rink was transformed into a terraced street with Spanish Mission style architecture and a pastel colour scheme. Harry Francis Willis designed the two rows of shops that lined the street. Over the years some of the shops were amalgamated to form larger shops. Today there are 38 shops on the street.

Following the Second World War, the area became a public road. In 1986 it became a one-way street before becoming a pedestrian mall with a tram line in 1994.

New Regent Street

New Regent Street

New Regent Street

After the Christchurch Earthquakes the buildings were restored and interiors refurbished. New Regent Street reopened on the 20th April 2013, 81 years after its first opening. The street is being marketed as a boutique shopping, entertainment and heritage destination. Since its reopening many businesses have unfortunately come and gone as the heritage precinct struggles to finds its feet during the city’s rebuild.

In November 2013 the tram line reopened bringing more tourists to the area. The tram travels along Gloucester St down New Regent Street across Armagh Street to Cathedral Junction – which is also worth visiting.

Cathedral Junction

Cathedral Junction

At its opening Christchurch Mayor D.G. Sullivan described New Regent Street as “the most beautiful street in New Zealand.” While it may not quite be that, it definitely has a beauty and charm.