Canterbury is one of the older areas in New Zealand, and its early settlement means the area has a rich history. That’s reflected in Christchurch’s museums. Some are handily located in the central city, while others, like the Air Force Museum in Wigram, are a little further afield. Pick up a cheap car hire from the Hertz Christchurch Airport Car Hire location and you’ll be whizzing about in no time.
You’ll find one of the world’s top military aviation collections at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand, which holds the national collection of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). Items on display include aircraft and parts through to medals, art, and apparel. Daily guided tours offer insight into the memorabilia on show. You can even experience flying firsthand in the museum’s simulator!
Entry is free and the museum is open every day from 9-5.
Canterbury Museum was first opened in 1870. A frequently revolving programme of exhibitions complements the extensive natural and human history collections – from ancient meteorites to moa, there’s something for all tastes. Highlights include artefacts from the age of discovery in Antarctica, Māori and quirky kiwiana. Free guided tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Entry is free, though donations are appreciated. The museum is open from 9-5.30 (5pm in winter).
Canterbury Museum is behind Quake City, a multi-sensory experience located on Cashel St aimed at informing visitors about the Canterbury earthquakes. You can view iconic objects such as the Cathedral Spire, learn about how emergency service teams deployed during the aftermath of Canterbury’s earthquakes, and see an active liquefaction volcano.
Quake City is open from 10-6 daily. Adults $10, children free.
Wanaka may have the famous Toy and Transport Museum, but Canterbury has the Yaldhurst Museum. If you’re into classic cars and other forms of road transport, look no further. Hundreds of vehicles are housed on this family property, a homestead that’s over a century old. There is possibly the oldest vehicle in New Zealand and an 1866 glass sided hearse said to have carried the body of former Prime Minister Richard Seddon.
Open daily from 10-5. Adults $15, children $5, families $30.