Things to do, Sumner, Christchurch

Sumner’s Attractions & Activities

There is an endless list of things to do, in and around the seaside village of Sumner. Surprisingly close to the City of Christchurch,  and easy to reach via the Metro Bus Purple line, Sumner is a photographers’ paradise…..not the least being the nearby Southshore sand spit where migratory sea birds, the Godwits, fly in from Siberia each year.

Photography is certainly one of the things to do around Sumner
A  “I can stand on one leg” Godwit


The local estuarine area attracts a range of native birds including the protected White Heron.

But even the general landscape and the colourful and even quirky houses in Sumner itself, adds to the unique special character of the village.

The local “Hollywood” movie theatre itself is a classic Sumner public entertainment venue. Located right in the heart of the village, a wide range of current HD digital movies are screened throughout the day.

Activities in And Around Sumner

A visit to the Ferrymead Historical should be on the things to do list
An Edwardian set, at the Ferrymead museum with the Christchurch Port Hills as backdrop.

Whether you enjoy swimming,  leisurely walking, lying on the sand, taking a bike ride, serious hiking, or wining & dining, Sumner is the place to stay. If staying at the French Hotel on Marriner Street, guests can also put their feet up and relax with a good  book. Every guest’s bedroom holds a mini library.

For a bit of fresh air activity, take a few minutes drive to the Ferrymead Golf Practice Driving Range.  It’s an all weather facility, with great mountain views, realistic turf, and full distance golf balls, while coffee and snack food is also available.

Adjacent to the golf course is the Ferrymead Heritage Park and Historical Museum. If you are into photography, a visit is certainly one of things to do .

Place Ferrymead Museum on the list of things to do.
One well restored and one well loved loco at Ferrymead Museum







Christchurch Gondola

One of the City’s best attractions, easily accessible from Sumner,  is the Christchurch Gondola.  Cable cars traverse between a base station located at 11 Bridle Path Road, Heathcote, and the upper terminal,  located at the summit (448M) of Mt Cavendish .  The top station provides sweeping views of Lyttelton and its harbour,  plus expansive views beyond greater Christchurch out to the Southern Alps and the seaward Kaikoura Ranges.

Sumner’s Restaurants & Eateries

One of Sumner’s attractions is the tremendous range of dining choices in the village. Just check out the following venues:

A really new, cool things to do activity, in Sumner.

Stand-up paddle boarding or SUP as it’s now know, is just one of the things to do.  As the latest water- born activity in Sumner,  the adventurous SUP’ers can compete with the board surfers at Scarborough and ride the white stuff rolling in, but if some gentle beginners’ water is desired, the nearby Redcliffs mini beach provides the ideal beginners territory.

Learn to surf lessons at Sumner.

If you would like to try surfing on Scarborough Beach, just give  Surf Coach  a  call on + 64 21 030 7231. Aaron Lock, one of the best surfing coaches in the business, also has surf boards and wet-suits for hire.

Walking trails accessible from Sumner.

If you are starting from Le Petit Hotel, walk across to the Esplanade, and head east for the Sumner Clock TowerFrom the Clock Tower then take the Scarborough Road  and just above the Sumner Life Boat facilities locate the entrance to Flowers Track. Tramp up the short but steep pathway to Nicholson Park, admire the sweeping view of  Scarborough beach and then take the Taylors Mistake track to the secluded, premier surf break beach of the same  name.  

If you have extra time on your hands, say for about a 3 hour circuit route, spot the Godley Head Walkway track signpost in the Taylors Mistake car park . The track on the south side of the bay leads past a row of eclectic , colourful character, historical batches and generally hugs the coastline affording interesting views across the sea, and as far as the Kaikoura mountains,  on a clear day.

Watch out for some of our large seagulls as you walk along the track. Some of NZ’s white-flippered penquins nest along the coastline, so keep an eye out for them especially if you are walking as dusk falls. Out to sea, you may even spot a pod of rare Hector’s dolphins, some seals or even a whale.

When the track reaches Boulder Bay it is worth detouring down to the baches lining the rocky beach. Back in the 1880’s, the bay was known for the rough and ready cave shelters which were constructed by both Christchurch and Sumner fishermen for shelter during their weekend fishing expeditions.

Continuing on the trail, the  track eventually snakes up and around the penisular area known as Godley Heads.  It is here that you can see the old remnants of  a WWII coastal defence battery, with gun emplacements, old military buildings and tunnels.

The Godley Head car park is a good rendevous point for an Uber or Ola transport pickup. Both companies are practical transport options when following up on things to do in and around Sumner.

Rural Travel Options

From Le Petit Hotel, drive north and take Route 74 out onto State Highway 1.  Seek out the local wineries while on-route to Hanmer Springs and its hot pool experience. Alternatively, leave a little early after breakfast and head for Kaikoura.  A 10.30 am rendevous in the town will provide time to board a whale watching cruise off-shore. Your hosts will assist with any forward arrangements required.

Banks Peninsula Day Trip

For things to do , the hotel is a perfect base for exploring the Peninsula by car. The newly opened Evan’s Pass road provides an 8 min scenic drive from Sumner to the Port of Lyttelton.  An attractive drive takes in Governor’s Bay, on over Gebbies Pass and into a delightful country village called Little River.  The road then climbs to a summit called Hilltop with expansive views across to  Akaroa and its Harbour in the distance, your ultimate destination for the day trip.

On the return journey, as you approach Lyttelton again, look for the roundabout entrance to the road tunnel.  Travel through the tunnel and as you emerge, look to your immediate left and take the Heathcote  Valley exit.  The valley road will lead you back to the Heathcote bridge where you will turn right for Sumner.