About Sumner, Christchurch

Sumner and Sumner Beach

Sumner,  Sumner Beach,  and the village, are approximately 13 Km by road from Central Christchurch ( about a 21 min. drive) . It can also be easily reached using the Metro bus service on the  Purple Line.  There is a bus stop  directly opposite  Le Petit Hotel.

Sumner Beach
Tides out Sumner Beach, on a quiet and pensive day.


Access to Sumner Beach

Historically, transport wise, Sumner Beach was connected with Christchurch City by horse drawn trams in the late 1800’s .

Christchurch Accommodation Historical Sumner's transport
Sumner’s horse drawn tram transport

Sumner with its tram line terminus, quickly became an extremely popular holiday resort. The attraction of the seaside for Christchurch folk was such that the main route, at the turn of the century, employed coal burning steam engined locomotives, that pulled a series double decker passenger cars.  Around 1907, electric powered trams were introduced. Regretfully, the Sumner tram service was disbanded in 1954 and the tracks in some instances simply buried under roading material.

Remains of old Sumner Beach tramway sleepers.
Recently uncovered historical tram line sleepers.

Today, transport from the City to Sumner and the beaches is mostly by bus or car. The common route is via Ferry Road and over the Estuary Bridge. The road then bears left towards the estuary and carries on as the Main Road reaching Sumner after passing through the small village of RedcliffsSumner Beach or Clifton Beach as some know it, commences about 0.5 Km further on at a place commonly called Shag Rock corner.

Sumner beach and village

Sumner's Beach Bar cafe
Relax with a late breakfast at Le Petit Hotel. Then later, wander across to the Beach Bar cafe, an excellent spot for a late lunch.

Sumner beach is just across the road from the Hotel. The adjacent  Scarborough beach, a year round surfing mecca for both locals & visitors alike, is only a short walk along the esplanade, just past the Beach bar cafe.

The seaside village presents a wide range of excellent restaurants & cafes,  and it also supports a  busy supermarket, pharmacy, library, and cinema. Le Petit Hotel’s central location ( a 2 min walk from the village)  is a strong attraction for guests, who can leave their cars safely in the hotel car park and explore the village on foot.

Sumner Geography & Attractions

Sumner's Esplanade looking east.
Sumner’s surfing mecca – Scarborough Beach & just east of Sumner Beach, with the Esplanade walkway in view.

Sumner, east of the City centre, is nestled into a sheltered valley. It is  screened from the adjacent city suburbs by rugged ancient volcanic ridges that descend to the sea-shore. The area enjoys a pleasant  micro-climate with winters generally mild , aided by its proximity to the Pacific ocean. Nearby, a large estuarine area, supports  several important migratory bird species, while also providing ample scope for a variety of water sports including kite-boarding, surfing, and sailing. The local topography also offers easy but spectacular coastal, cliff top walks, & mountain bike trails. The local City Council publishes free maps covering both walking tracks and the new cycle-ways. In season, paragliding clubs actively operate from the hills that overlook  Sumner village and make use of Sumner Beach as their landing zone.

Many Le Petit Hotel guests don their walking shoes and head off for  a half day on the Boulder Bay Walkway , dropping in for a quick look at Taylors Mistake and Harris Bay ( known for its historical caves)  and then onto Godley Heads. The suggested reward on the return trip is to stop by the Ocean Cafe & Bar adjacent to the Scarborough Clock Tower . Take a hot chocolate  or a double shot flat white,  before the very short walk up the Esplanade & back to the hotel.  If time is short for adventures, take the 10 min scenic drive by car over to Taylors Mistake Bay, then return to Sumner and take the newly opened Evans Pass route across the peninsular to the Port of Lyttelton. The road trip to see the harbour will only take 8 min.

Directions to Sumner

Driving by car from Christchurch Airport, the general recommendation is to take the southern Route 76 across the city to the south ; slightly more Km/s than a route through the city, but travellers will find it is quicker, especially at peak traffic times, i.e. early mornings or not so late afternoons.

The City’s Metro bus stops opposite(right outside) the hotel in Sumner,  and is both frequent & regular. The route includes a direct connection to the Airport via the Central City Bus Station. It’s cheap to ride but it  can be a slow trip. On the other hand, you can relax on the bus and take in the views of the City, its suburbs, and finally the estuary and Sumner Beach.

Uber or Ola are growing in popularity, but Super Shuttles run a great service across the city and out to Sumner Beach for a very reasonable fare. Contact the hotel front desk for good advice on these options.

For the intrepid traveller, just enter 16 Marriner Street Sumner into your Google map.  You will be directed to our distinctive two-storey building, easily recognisable with its orange French roofing tiles, and green painted wooden french door shutters. Two slow growing South of France Pine trees are note worthy on the hotel’s street frontage.  Commonly seen in Provence, as they mature, their canopy takes on a parasol type shape.

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