Things to do in Sumner, Christchurch

Things to do in Sumner: Attractions & Activities

The list of things to do in Sumner and in the neighborhood is endless. Top of the draw cards to the suburb would be its sandy beaches, the host of nearby walking and biking trails, and the tantalising range of restaurants where you can “eat around the world” as one of  our guest’s described it.

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 important nearby Southshore sand spit where migratory sea birds, the Godwits, fly in from Siberia each year to rest and feed. Sumner also has its own significant representative selection of sea gulls.

Things to do in Sumner must include Photography.
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 the streets of Sumner itself, adds to the unique special character of the village.

The local “Hollywood” movie theatre itself is a classic.  This Sumner public entertainment venue is located right in the heart of the village, just a short walk from Le Petit Hotel. A wide range of current HD digital movies are screened daily in its 3 theatrettes.

Attractions in the wider community

Whether you enjoy swimming,  leisurely walking, lying on the sand, taking a bike ride, serious hiking over the hills, or wining & dining, Le Petit Hotel provides the ideal starting point to check out the neighborhood.

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

The Ferrymead  Museum located in nearby Heathcote Valley  Heritage Park is just 7 Kms  or  10 mins away and should be on your list of things to do.

The Museum has  live exhibits and restored trams operating within an Edwardian scene set and if you are into photography, a visit is certainly worthwhile.

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

If you are in for a round of golf,  try out the adjacent Ferrymead Park Golf Practice Driving Range. It’s an all weather facility, with great mountain views, realistic turf, and full distance golf balls. Coffee, tea  and snack food is also available at the complex.

The 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 and sampling must be one of the essential things to do in Sumner. Just check out the following venues:

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

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 and nearby Redcliffs,  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. Surfing is an all seasons activity in Sumner. Many hotel guests have it on their personal list of things to do.

Surfing is definitely available as one of the things to do in Sumner.Lana on Scarborough
Lana’s up up and away on Scarborough Beach


Walking trails accessible from Sumner.

One of the key things to do in Sumner when staying at Le Petit Hotel, is put on your walking shoes.  Allow yourself a couple of hours, and begin by walking 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.

The Godley Head walk would have to be among the top favoured things to do in Sumner with Le Petit Hotel’s guests.

Rural Travel Things to do in Sumner, 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.

In season, the Mt Hutt skifield  via Methven, is a 2 hour easy drive from Sumner, and Arthurs Pass , an attractive mountain village in any season, just takes a little longer at 2 hrs & 12 mins,

Banks Peninsula Day Trip

For things to do in Sumner by car, the hotel is a perfect base for exploring the Peninsula roading network , with its spectacular scenery and attractive coastal  hideaways.

The roads are good and the newly opened Evan’s Pass road provides an 8 min scenic drive from Sumner to the Port of Lyttelton.  An attractive drive further on,  takes in Governor’s Bay, on over Gebbies Pass and into a delightful country village called Little River  which demands a stop at its special gallery and cafe/tearooms. 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. The journey takes approximately just over an hour each way.

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 Bridle Path valley road will lead you back to the Heathcote bridge where you will turn right at the traffic lights for Sumner and back to Le Petit Hotel.

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