Christchurch Tramway – All-Day Ticket
Christchurch, New Zealand
- Historic tram cars: After being mothballed in the mid-20th century, these restored wood and painted steel carriages are back on the tracks. Choose a cozy inside seat with picture-window views or go for a wind-in-your-hair outside seat.
- Citywide route: Your ticket gives you full-day access to 17 stops around town and offers a relaxed way to get oriented at your preferred pace – hopping off to visit sights and attractions, then hopping back on to visit more.
- Sights and attractions: See and learn about iconic sights like Cathedral Junction, the Avon River, the Gothic-style Arts Centre, Canterbury Museum, New Regent Street, the Transitional ("Cardboard") Cathedral, and others.
- Extend your experience: Hop off to go punting on the Avon, or for a thrilling ride on the Christchurch Gondola up to Mt Cavendish summit. To take a stroll through sprawling Hagley Park, or tour the city's Botanic Gardens by "Caterpillar "– then hop back on and continue your day of exploring.
About This Christchurch Tour
There's an old adage that history – and fashion – always repeats itself. Things that were once universally popular can fall out of favor, hibernate for a few generations, then reappear in a tsunami of nostalgia for "how things used to be."
This certainly has proven true with the trams in Christchurch. As far back as 1880, they rattled and chugged their way through the heart of town, powered by horses and noisy steam locos. By 1905, the Christchurch Tramway system was being electrified and expanded further out to the suburbs to carry more and more commuters into town daily.
Within a decade, the city's now fully-electric network was the largest in New Zealand, second only to Sydney's in route mileage and rivaling even famous tramways like San Francisco's.
But during the Depression years of the 1930s, economic pressures and the widespread popularity of bicycles began to chip away at tram ridership. World War II bumped up activity for a few years, but the era of postwar prosperity that followed spelled disaster for the old system – still running its "antiquated" carriages along long-neglected tracks.
The city and its population was expanding, and embracing the modern idea of owning their own transportation system – the increasingly affordable automobile. Soon, Christchurch's tram system was history. Diesel buses took over public transport duties, the old tram cars were sold off or scrapped, and the track and train sheds were repurposed – with no one shedding a tear.
But, true to form, that all changed again after some time passed. By late in the 20th century, Christchurch began to realize that cars were a congesting nuisance and that the quant simplicity and rich character of the old abandoned tramway was sorely missed.
Today, thanks to dogged perseverance and skilled restorers, classic tram carriages are once again rattling along the rails – providing a satisfying trip not just around town, but back in time.
That's how they rolled
Trams were the way New Zealanders got from point A to point B for over a century during their heyday. A 58-cent postage stamp issued in 1985 commemorates the era, showing a 1905 Christchurch tram crossing Cathedral Square. To minimize deadly encounters with pedestrians and cyclists, those early tram cars had big spring-loaded steel fenders front and rear. And, to coax reluctant riders out of their snug homes during the winter, electric heaters under each seat. No cushions though; those were considered unhygienic.
Please make your way to any of the 17 tram stops to begin your adventure.
Bring small coins for the bathroom. Take a light jacket or rain coat for the weather. The Christchurch tramway system is an extensive network in Christchurch, New Zealand, with steam and horse trams from 1882. Christchurch Tram is roughly 51 miles from port area of Akaroa.
The amount of walking is at the traveler's discretion while visiting the attraction. Varying surfaces will be encountered during your tour.
Bus Tour, Budget, Family Friendly
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for all ages.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.
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