While abroad, it can be difficult to manage your finances- opportunities pop up left and right that call out your name but take major digs at your pocket. Luckily, if you are living in or venturing throughout many areas of New Zealand you’ll find yourself discovering surprisingly affordable adventures. This post will highlight some free or very affordable options if you find yourself in Christchurch.
1. Crusaders Rugby game
You can’t visit New Zealand and not attend a rugby game! The Crusaders are Canterbury’s Super Rugby team and tend to do very well in matches. Crusaders fans are a lively bunch and even the cheapest seats ensure a fun time.
2. Christchurch Botanic Gardens
One of my favorite things to do while living in Christchurch was go for runs or long walks through the Botanic Gardens. I lived in Christchurch from the end of summer to the beginning of winter, so I was able to take advantage of the fully-bloomed summer flowers as well as the changing autumn leaves. There are multiple paths that wind through native plants, along the Avon River, and past roses that are too beautiful to not stop and smell. The best part about the gardens- they’re totally free!
3. Orana Wildlife Park
Orana Wildlife Park is New Zealand’s only open-range zoo. This means that many of the animal exhibits are separated from the public by only a moat and small fence. Admission for students is about NZD$30, and if you get there early enough you can spend the day following handlers around the exhibits as they feed and interact with the animals. You can even handfeed giraffes and get up close and personal with cheeky keas. For an extra fee, you can partake in their infamous lion encounter where YOU are the one in the cage. It’s a really unique experience and a great way to spend a nice day.
4. International Antarctic Centre
Christchurch is a hub for Antarctic exploration, with ships and planes of researchers flocking in and out on a regular basis. The Antarctic Centre is an awesome place to learn about Antarctica, with penguins, 4-D movies, an indoor “cold room” that allows you to experience an Antarctic storm, and super fun Hagglund rides! It’s located right by the Christchurch airport and is an easy bus ride from the city.
5. Sumner Beach (Cave Rock)
Dip your toes in the Pacific and enjoy an afternoon at the beach. Located a cheap and easy bus ride from the city, Sumner is a relaxed seaside town. On a sunny day, you’ll find locals enjoying the beach, swimming and surfing in the ocean, walking the boardwalk, and grabbing lunch and ice cream at one of the local eateries.
6. Port Hills and Godley Head Track
After enjoying a walk on the beach in Sumner, there are plenty of tracks to be explored that take you up into the Port Hills. My personal favorite is Godley Head, which takes you along a beautiful coastline path that drops off to the bluest sea. If you like history, the track takes you to the Godley Head WWII coastal defense battery where you can explore the historic features. Also be sure to check out nearby Taylors Mistake, a well-known surfing beach.
Sarah Jakositz is a TEAN Alum and student at the University of New Hampshire, she studied abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand.