A Quick Guide to Christchurch

A Quick Guide to Christchurch

Christchurch, first and foremost, is a city more resilient than most other places you will ever come across. Surrounded by some of New Zealand’s most exciting and diverse outdoor playgrounds, it is home to around 400,000 Kiwis and wannabe Kiwis like myself. Don’t be fooled though, the city vibes are still under construction. A plethora of greenery mixed in with the occasional road cone may draw a shadow over what is in fact a town graced with creativity, innovation and vibrance. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

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Sunrise is best to be gazed at from New Brighton Beach followed by an epic breakfast at one of the countless new eateries. Favourites include Kadett, Supreme Supreme, and Vic’s Bakery.

To stay in the loop about spaces being welcomed back into the inner city and new food hubs, fashion collectives and all sorts of other local gems opening their doors, Neat Places will sort you out.

Adventure awaits in the city’s surrounding hills. Every steep step is worth the vistas along Bridle Path, Rapaki Track and Victoria Park. Soaking in the views from atop Scarborough Reserve, Godley Head, Mt Cavendish and the Port Hills is particularly captivating towards the end of the day. Escape the city rush with a visit to laid-back Lyttelton and hop on a short ferry trip across to Diamond Harbour, home to more mind-blowing views and Christchurch’s best chocolaterie.

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First-timers shouldn’t miss the amazingly curated Art Gallery, beautifully facaded New Regent Street and the ever popular Botanical Gardens. Head South and you will stumble across The Colombo, a boutique retail space. If you’re anything like me and try to avoid standard shopping mall environments at any cost, you will love it here! Think Friday Farmers markets, far from mainstream high-end fashion, and antique furniture.

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Going East towards Sumner, follow the road until the end and take a dip at the gorgeous Taylor’s Mistake Beach. Head back inland and take a breather at The Tannery, yet another addition to Christchurch’s sprawled out, yet perfectly curated, shopping experiences.

If wine is your thing, you can’t go past Vesuvio. Life jazz, tapas and carafes of French wine are the perfect match to end a perfect day in what is admittedly a very unique city.

Christchurch may be somewhat broken, but if you look deeper, you will soon find there is more to it than stunning hill panoramas, demolished houses and make-do shipping container malls. Ultimately, the city’s charm lies in a strong local community, an amazingly diverse food scene, and a pool of creatives offering a fresh, unprecedented approach to style, art, and music.

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Although public transport is convenient within the city boundaries, hiring a car will allow you to go on a number of unmissable day trips. Here are Christchurch’s 5 best:

  1. Akaroa (be sure to stop by Le Bons Bay, Birdlings Flat and Little River)
  2. Castle Hill (be sure to check out Cave Stream and White River bridge)
  3. Hanmer Springs
  4.  Kaikoura
  5. Lake Tekapo (stay over-night for some seriously cool star-gazing and don’t miss Lake Pukaki)

 

Have you been to or are you from Christchurch? What do you like best about it?

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  • I have never been to Christchurch. I really wish I had been before the quakes. As a planner it is a place that is so interesting. It is not often that you redesign a city centre basically from scratch! The quake my have taken the buildings but by the sounds of it it didn’t take the heart! I can’t wait to come and visit these places sometime soon! Thank you! Xx

  • What gorgeous photos!!!! I’ve been to Christchurch twice and luckily I got to see the Cathedral and the city before the quake! I can’t wait to go back and visit some of the places in your guide! x

  • Lovely photos! I’ve been to Christchurch a few times, but all before the earthquakes. I drove through quickly about 6 months after and couldn’t believe my eyes. Will definitely keep this post in mind for my next visit!

    • Thanks so much! I’ve never seen CHCH before the earthquakes; so for me it’s just this ever-evolving place which is a bit weird but exciting at the same time. I hope you can see all the changes yourself some time soon x

  • Awesome post about Christchurch. I went at the end of last year and I loved it!! We took a day trip to Hanmer springs and I loved it so much. It was such a beautiful township and the hot pools were so relaxing. I’d love to come back though and do some other day trips and check out some of the other places you’ve mentioned.