Three beautiful spots to watch the sunset in Christchurch New Zealand. Our top picks for 2020!

I always love ending the day by watching the sun go down, but there is something extra special about watching the sun go down in my home-town Christchurch.

Last Summer we wrote a blog on our favourite spots to watch the sun rise and set in Christchurch, but this time around, we have done a little more exploring and have picked our all-time favourite spots for watching the sunset in Christchurch. The brother blog to this (our favourite sunrise spots in Christchurch) is coming shortly!

Alright, without further ado, here are our top three spots for watching the sunset in Christchurch New Zealand.

1. Port Hills Secret Tarn

This spot is just beautiful, and even more-so because it's relatively unknown. Chances are (like us) you may have driven right past this spot without even noticing. The Tarn provides a beautiful reflection (on a still day) and overlooks the City. For me Char, this is a really special spot and one where you can't help but be reminded of the city's resilience.

Christchurch Sunset Spot Port Hills Secret Tarn

The Tarn is located on Summit Road, on the way to Witch Hill. For the exact GPS coordinates, read our quick CJ Way guide to the Christchurch Tarn here.

Now, if you have the luxury of picking when to visit here, we would highly recommend a sunset with lots of high clouds. This will enable you to (hopefully!) get some nice reflections in the tarn. You can check the forecast for high clouds here to help you plan your visit.

Port Hills Secret Tarn Quick Info:

  • Jandals suitable

  • Best at sunset with high cloud and minimal wind (so you can get the best reflection in the tarn)

  • Minimal parking and you need to pull over carefully here (narrow, windy road!)

  • Only 25 minutes drive from the Christchurch CBD

Christchurch Sunset Port Hills

2. Coopers Knob (and Gibraltar Rock!)

Coopers Knob is the highest point in the Port Hills and provides beautiful 360 degree views of Christchurch and the Lyttelton Harbour. You can spend hours here just looking at every which way. Coopers Knob is also great location wise as it's right by Gibraltar Rock so you have quite a few options of what/where to shoot.

Christchurch Coopers Knob Sunset

Click here for the exact location of Coopers Knob.

Or copy and paste the GPS Coordinates of Coopers Knob: -43.661095, 172.624887

Now for Coopers Knob, we did find the drone best for doing justice to the incredible landscape, but there were also several other rock faces which you could use to put your camera/tripod on. Note, if you do do this you will need the good ol' fashioned self timer!

Coopers Knob Quick Info:

  • Jandals suitable (but sneakers advised)

  • Best shot with a drone

  • Minimal parking and you need to pull over carefully here (narrow, windy road!)

  • Approximately 40 minutes drive from the Christchurch CBD

To read our complete guide (the CJ Way) to Coopers Knob, including the walk up (and where to go left haha) and our camera settings, click here.

And because we mentioned Gibraltar Rock, I'll sneak in a little bit of information on that too. Gibraltar Rock provides some pretty incredible almost pyramid-like symmetry and offers you two potential options for photography. 1 - you can either walk 40 minutes up Gibraltar Rock (and shoot the city from there) or like us, 2 - you can shoot from afar and get Gibraltar in the background of your shot. For our location and photography tips, click here to read our complete guide, the CJ way to Gibraltar Rock.

Gibraltar Rock Christchurch Sunset

Click here for the exact location of Gibraltar Rock.

Or copy and paste the GPS Coordinates of Gibraltar Rock: -43.660301, 172.614370

Gibraltar Rock Quick Info:

  • Sneakers required if walking up Gibraltar Rock

  • If you're planning on shooting the shrubbery in the foreground, you will want a day with minimal wind (I know, I know, harder said than done up in the hills!)

  • February and October are best for sunset here as the sun lines up well with the rock

  • Minimal parking and you need to pull over carefully here (again, narrow, windy road!)

  • 35-40 minutes drive from the Christchurch CBD

3. Witch Hill

Like Gibraltar Rock, you also have the option here of climbing up Witch Hill and shooting from there, or staying down at ground level and shooting Witch Hill itself. We have visited Witch Hill at both sunrise and sunset and think sunset is best as the sun (more or less) sets over the Christchurch side. Note, it is a lot busier here at sunset than sunrise. When I say a lot busier, I mean sunrise will likely have no-one, and sunset will have about 3-6 different groups. So still not busy busy!

Witch Hill Christchurch Sunset