Canterbury Museum on Hagley Park, Christchurch

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Canterbury Museum


Canterbury Museum is currently closed for redevelopment. Visit the museum's website for information about pop-up museum exhibits in the meantime.

Yes, there's a mummy and dinosaur bones, but the highlights of this museum are more local and more recent. The Māori galleries contain some beautiful pounamu (greenstone) pieces, while Christchurch Street is an atmospheric walk through the colonial past. The reproduction of Fred and Myrtle's gloriously kitsch Paua Shell House embraces Kiwiana at its best, and kids will enjoy the interactive displays in the Discovery Centre (admission $2). Free one-hour guided tours depart from the foyer daily at 2pm.

The 4th-floor cafe has lovely views of the gardens and surprisingly decent coffee.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Christchurch attractions

1. Rutherford's Den

0.05 MILES

Canterbury College's most famous alumnus was the father of nuclear physics, Lord Ernest Rutherford, the NZ physicist who first split the atom in 1917 …

2. Central Art Gallery

0.06 MILES

Housed in the Arts Centre's beautifully restored 1916 Library building, the Central Art Gallery exhibits contemporary works by established and emerging NZ…

3. Arts Centre

0.07 MILES

Dating from 1877, this enclave of Gothic Revival buildings was originally Canterbury College, the forerunner of Canterbury University. The buildings are…

5. Botanic Gardens


Strolling through these 30 blissful riverside hectares of arboreal and floral splendour is a consummate Christchurch experience. Gorgeous at any time of…

6. Christchurch Art Gallery


Damaged in the earthquakes, Christchurch's fantastic art gallery has reopened brighter and bolder, presenting a stimulating mix of local and international…

7. Bridge of Remembrance

0.34 MILES

This majestic bridge and archway spanning the Avon River is a memorial to those who lost their lives in two world wars and conflicts in Vietnam, Borneo,…

8. Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct

0.34 MILES

One of the city's key post-earthquake redevelopment projects is reinvigorating the area around the Avon (Ōtākaro) River. Running along the river as a self…