The Christchurch Gondola – Know Before You Go
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Gliding to the top of the Christchurch Port Hills in the comfort of Christchurch’s very own gondola is the perfect way to enjoy the fantastic views Christchurch has to offer. At nearly 500 metres above sea level, 360 degree views include the new emerging city scape, Banks Peninsula, the Canterbury Plains and even as far as the snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps.
At just 15 minutes drive from the central city and 30 minutes from the Christchurch International Airport a trip up the Gondola is an easy escape high above the hustle and bustle of the city. The Christchurch Gondola is ranked as one of the city’s top tourist attractions by well-known travel website TripAdvisor.
What Do I Need To Know?
Here are a few quick gondola facts, useful to know before you head out.
- The Gondola is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.
- Each gondola/cable car cabin seats up to four people.
- Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
- It is advisable to bring a jacket or warm clothing, it can be quite chilly at the top of the hills.
- There are some great walking tracks near the top of the Gondola, see below for more information.
- The Christchurch Gondola summit station includes a café for refreshments and light meals, the cafe is open daily.
How Much Does The Gondola Cost?
The purchase price for the scenic Gondola ride up the Port Hills is $28 per adult and $12 per child. There is a $2 discount available if you book online more than 48 hours in advance.
Or combine two of Christchurch’s iconic attractions – the Gondola and the Tram with a $48 combo ticket or take a look at the various other combos available on the Christchurch Gondola website including the addition of Punting on the Avon and a Botanic Gardens Tour.
Where Are Best The Port Hills Walking Tracks?
Forming a very distinctive backdrop to the city of Christchurch, the Port Hills are actually the remnants of the Lyttelton volcanic crater, formed millions of years ago. Today the hills are an instantly recognisable landmark of Christchurch and provide the city with a wide range of recreational opportunities including walking, tramping, running, mountain biking, paragliding and rock climbing.
From the top of the Gondola there are several options for the avid walker. See the map provided in the summit building or check out our list of the best walks for all occasions. Arriving at the top of Mount Cavendish in the Gondola walkers can choose to head west towards the historic Bridle Path track or eastward along the Crater Rim Walkway.
The Bridle Path Track. Starting at the bottom of the Gondola and heading straight up and over the hills and down to Lyttelton, the Bridle Path offers great views in return for a bit of hard work. For an easier option we recommend taking the Gondola up to the top, walking along the Summit Road to where it joins the Bridle Path Track and making you way down on foot.
Crater Rim Walkway. Take in stunning views of Lyttelton Harbour as you make your way around the rim of the ancient volcanic crater. The Crater Rim Walkway will lead you to the remains of WWII gun emplacements. A good way to make a loop out of this track is to combine it with the Chalmers hill Track.
The Chalmers Hill Track. Cutting across the side of the crater, the Chalmers Hill Track connects to the Major Hornbrook Track which then connects to the Mt Cavendish Bluffs Track to reconnect to the Crater Rim Walkway in order to make your way back to the Gondola.
Major Hornbrook Track. Heading down hill, the Major Hornbrook Track cuts down the slopes and into the northern edge of Lyttelton on Somes Road. This track is only 1 km in length.
Of course it is possible to mix it up a little and make your own way on the Port Hills walking tracks by combining various routes to suit all time frames and abilities. Always check the Christchurch City Council website for track closures before setting out along with familiarising yourself with up to date weather information.
How Do I Get There?
As mentioned above the base of the Gondola is just 15 minutes drive from the central city and 30 minutes from the Christchurch Airport. Other transport options include catching the Gondola Shuttle from Rolleston Avenue in the city and using public transport (buses).
The Gondola shuttle departs on a regular basis usually on the hour (9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm and 4:00pm). Adult tickets can be purchased on site for $10 return, $5 for children (5-15yrs inclusive). The shuttle departs from just outside the Canterbury Museum.
Bus service Route number 28 provides public transport to the base of the Gondola.