Australia & New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand

A guide to the best places to run in Christchurch and Vicinity

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The third most populated city in New Zealand after Auckland and Wellington, Christchurch features a lovely geographic setting and year-round mild climate, making it a great city for outdoor recreation. Those wanting to run in Christchurch should take full advantage of this city’s river paths (‘tracks’), location near the Pacific Ocean, surrounding mountains, and abundance of trail running (‘bush’) options.

Notes: Christchurch suffered extensive damage in the 2011 earthquakes. Reconstruction could affect some routes. Also, driving is on the LEFT side, so be sure to look RIGHT when crossing! If you’d like to have a guided running experience in Christchurch, we highly recommend our affiliate partner Go! Running Tours.

The ‘planned’ downtown area of Christchurch features extensive paths along the Avon River and the iconic Hagley Parks. We’ve also put together a short run of the Central District’s main sights and squares. It’s worth the short drive to Governors Bay and Taylors Mistake/Boulder Bay for lovely bayside running paths. For beach running, head to New Brighton, with 20+ km of beach. In that area, there are also nice trails for running in Travis Wetlands and Bottle Lake Forest Park. For gentle trail running, there paths along the Waimakariri River and Little River. For scenic, but hilly/challenging trail running, head to the Port Hills area (Victoria Park, Crater Rim Trail, & more). Use the gondola to help save some elevation!

For transport, there’s an extensive local bus system. Bicycle infrastructure is also quite good. The Christchurch Gondola is helpful to get runners/hikers up to the summit paths from Heathcote Valley.

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Christchurch, New Zealand

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Avon River Paths

Christchurch, New Zealand

A green and pleasant river run of nearly 12 km, from central Christchurch to the estuary in New Brighton. A mix of dedicated path, some road sections, and some shared paths. Numerous parks along the way. Can do a one-way and use bus!
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New Brighton Beach

Christchurch, New Zealand

Up to 20 km of spectacular running on a wide, flat beach. The beach generally has firm, compact sand, and there are great views of Pegasus Bay and the South Pacific. There are also some trails alongside the beach, in sections.
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Little River Rail Trail

Christchurch, New Zealand

A nice opportunity for a long, flat off-road run, some along the water. We've mapped 20 km of this 50 km trail, from Motukarara to the end of Lake Forsyth. The most scenic sections are ~4 km along Lake Ellesmere, and 4.5 km along Lake Forsyth.
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Avon River Paths

Christchurch, New Zealand

A green and pleasant river run of nearly 12 km, from central Christchurch to the estuary in New Brighton. A mix of dedicated path, some road sections, and some shared paths. Numerous parks along the way. Can do a one-way and use bus!
Explore

Christchurch has pleasant weather for running year-round, with mild temperatures in summer and winter.  A layer might be needed nearly any time of year! In summer (December-March in the southern hemisphere), average highs are 22C (72F), with cool nights — a layer is needed. In winter, daytime temperatures reach into the 50s (10-12C), with lows just above freezing. The 622 (24 inches) of precipitation is fairly evenly spread throughout the year.

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There are numerous lodging options in central Christchurch. We recommend staying within a couple of km of the Avon River Path or Hagley Park for access to good running options just outside your door.

RUNNING STORES

In addition to Asics, New Balance, and Nike outlets, there are several local/independent running stores in Christchurch.

Frontrunner has two locations.

Smiths Sports Shoes has a location in Christchurch.

The Athlete’s Foot, locations in Riccarton and Papanui.

FurtherFaster, which is more for trail running.

GROUP RUNS