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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Akaroa (be sure to stop by Le Bons Bay, Birdlings Flat and Little River)
- Castle Hill (be sure to check out Cave Stream and White River bridge)
- Hanmer Springs
- 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?