The Best Airbnbs in Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurchs best Airbnbs make it possible to combine a peaceful getaway and a culture-packed urban break
Christchurch's best Airbnbs make it possible to combine a peaceful getaway and a culture-packed urban break | © Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo
Molly Codyre

This South Island spot is fast gaining a reputation as New Zealand’s coolest city – discover why from one of Christchurch’s best Airbnbs.

Having risen out of the rubble of two devastating earthquakes, Christchurch is reinventing itself as a cultural hub with new restaurants, shops and markets. A trip to the city also promises beachside suburbs and abundant countryside, ticking the boxes for both a peaceful getaway and a culture-packed urban break.

1. 1890s Grand Old Lady

Short-term Rental

1890s Grand Old Lady
Courtesy of Debbie / Airbnb

Built in the 1890s, this traditional clapboard bungalow is a historical Lyttelton property. Though you won’t have the place to yourself – with your sociable hosts and their four cats on-site – you’ll have privacy in a garden-facing room with a comfortable double bed. And if you fancy a lie-in on the weekend, after exploring the nearby harbour and city centre during your stay, enjoy a cooked breakfast from your hosts for an additional fee.

2. Banks peninsula cottage

Cottages, Short-term Rental

Banks Peninsula Cottage-Getaway near Christchurch
Courtesy of Rowan / Airbnb

This Kaituna Valley cottage, on the banks of a stream, sleeps two people, with vintage decor that offers a fascinating insight into the culture of 1980s New Zealand. This property is pared-back but fit with all the facilities you need, including a kitchenette with a Smeg-inspired fridge. And although you may only be 45 minutes from Christchurch airport, you’ll feel completely removed from city life, hearing only the trickling of the stream and gentle tweeting of the birds. Be sure to bring a handful of good books to best enjoy it.

3. Unique retreat at the Britten Stables – library suite

Boutique Hotel, Short-term Rental

Unique Retreat at the Britten Stables - Library Suite
Courtesy of Isabelle and Tim / Airbnb

These former stables have been meticulously renovated by motorcycle legend John Britten into a bright, airy space. An indoor pool sits at the centre of the building underneath a vaulted glass ceiling filled with tropical foliage and silver ferns, giving the effect of an overgrown stately home. Meanwhile, your room is decidedly more modern, sleeping two in a plush king-size bed with a mezzanine-style living space, which boasts a fireplace for those cooler Canterbury evenings. Outside, things are no less magical, with a spacious dining table and a jacuzzi amongst the greenery. Plus, if there are more than two of you, consider booking one of the other rooms on the property.

4. Gateway to the Southern Alps

Guesthouse, Short-term Rental

Gateway to the Southern Alps
Courtesy of Ohana / Airbnb

Sitting just off the main road which stretches from the airport to the city centre, this home boasts a prime location. Sleeping seven guests in two bedrooms – with a queen and single bed in each room, alongside a single bed in the lounge – there is enough room for a large group if you’re comfortable sharing rooms, and the outside space is ideal for evening drinks with friends. Hidden away at the back of the house, you’ll also be able to enjoy its courtyard seating area, which comes with a jacuzzi for a warming dip whatever the weather.

5. Country retreat with views

Guesthouse, Short-term Rental

Country retreat with views - includes breakfast
Courtesy of Emma / Airbnb

A total sanctuary in the Christchurch countryside, this little one-bedroom cabin will take you off-grid for a few days. Here, you’ll be able to wake up to native birdsong, tuck into homemade granola or farm-fresh eggs from the resident chickens, and watch the sun rise over the nearby hills. You’ll also be able to keep yourselves suitably entertained with board games and puzzles in the cabin, and make full use of the picnic blanket for sunset drinks in the paddocks.

6. Quirky seaside bach

Guesthouse, Short-term Rental

Quirky Seaside Bach, long stay discount
Courtesy of Neil / Airbnb

For those new to Kiwi slang, a “bach” is a small, laid-back beachside home – and this Airbnb epitomises the concept to a tee. Cosy, but with everything two people need for a comfortable stay, this house has a spacious living area, a fully stocked kitchen and a freestanding bath. Just steps from the beach, you can hear the waves crashing from the garden, while you’ll be just five minutes from local shops and restaurants.

7. Marina cottage in Lyttelton

Cottages, Short-term Rental

Marina Cottage Lyttelton
Courtesy of Donya / Airbnb

Sitting on a hill overlooking Lyttelton Harbour, with a sky-blue exterior and sunflower-yellow window frames, this cottage wouldn’t look out of place in a Wes Anderson film. Looking out over the harbour, the garden is a meditative spot to sit with a glass of wine, while things are no less joyous indoors, thanks to fresh flowers throughout and a seashell-pink bathroom with a freestanding claw-foot bath. While you’ll be sharing the home and bathroom with your host, she’ll leave you to it and will be on hand to offer tips so you can live like a local.

8. Beachside self-contained studio

Apartment, Short-term Rental

Beachside Self Contained Studio
Courtesy of Kate / Airbnb

This modern studio space is attached to a family home in Waimairi Beach, just behind the sand dunes beside the ocean. Sleeping two people, its open-plan room is airy and bright with floor-to-ceiling windows, while from bed you can actually step out onto the sand dunes. Take your morning wash outdoors in the private courtyard shower, which flows just as warm as the indoor facilities, and do your morning lengths in its indoor pool.

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