An A - Z Travel Guide
to Christchurch .....
(updated November 2016)
Arts Centre, 2 Worcester Boulevard
The Arts Centre is re-opening in stages, Rutherford's Den opened in August 2016, and Bunsen cafe opened next door in November 2016. The i-SITE moved from the Botanic Gardens to the Arts Centre on 28 November 2016. An outdoor Summer Cinema series will be held in the North Quad over summer, the gold coin donation ticket price will go to the Arts Centre restoration fund.
Bike Share - Next Bikes have come to town, and thanks to Spark the first 30 minutes are free, it's $4 per hour thereafter and $20 for 24 hours. If you've ridden Next Bikes in Auckland or Cambridge you're good to go, otherwise sign up via the link above. If you're into cycling see Cycling in Christchurch for other bike hire options, tours, where to ride etc.
Botanic Gardens is home to Canterbury Museum and can be entered on Rolleston Avenue, a short walk from Cathedral Square. With more than 21 hectares of colour to wander the Botanic Gardens are always a beautiful place for a walk, hat tip to the gardeners. Pick up a garden map from the i-SITE to help you find your way around or take a Caterpillar Garden Tour. The gardens are open from 7am daily, free.
Drexels Breakfast Restaurant, Westfield Mall, Riccarton
Early risers can have breakfast at Drexels from 6.30am during the week and 7am weekends. The signature hash brown is served with most dishes, and filter coffee and tea are bottomless.
Bus and bike - The brand new Bus Interchange is on the corner of Lichfield and Colombo Streets. Cyclists are well catered for with under cover bike parking, charge points for electric bikes, and a number of buses have bike racks. There is a Muffin Break onsite as well as Zuzu's Gelato, Auntie Dai's Dumplings and Zesto Convenience Store. Play Pong at the intersection of Colombo and Lichfield Streets via touch-screen while you wait for the pedestrian crossing - thanks to SmartCross.
Canterbury Cheesemongers sell hand made cheese and baked goods, there's a couple of tables outside to enjoy coffee and treats in the sun. Open Tuesday - Friday 9am-5pm; Saturday 10am - 4pm, located in the Old Registry Building at the Arts Centre, 301 Montreal Street. (Canterbury Cheesemongers also sell cheese at the Farmers Market at Riccarton House every Saturday). Cheese rolls are a unique South Island creation. If you would like to make your own try the Ultimate Cheese Roll recipe, winner of the cheese roll competition at the 2010 Science Festival.
Cookies - Buy cookies at discounted prices from the Cookie Time Factory Shop, 789 Main South Road, Templeton (on the outskirts of Christchurch).
Cooking classes - Two options for those who would like to make cheese or take a cooking class - She Chocolat in Governors Bay and Strawberry Fare. (More Cooking Schools around the country).
Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue (entrance opposite Worcester Boulevard)
At Canterbury Museum you can see a recreation of a Victorian Christchurch street, Antarctic artifacts, a hall of NZ birds, and a costume gallery. Curious Kiwiana - visit the recreation of Fred and Myrtle Flutey's paua shell lounge, and watch a short film about the hospitable couple who welcomed over one million visitors into their home in Bluff.
The museum is open from 9am daily (except Christmas day), free guided tours. Entry is free, donations appreciated. The Museum Cafe on the 4th floor has good views over the Botanic Gardens.
Christchurch Art Gallery, corner Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street
Christchurch Art Gallery and the Gallery Shop re-opened in December 2015. Entry is free as are guided tours at 11am and 2pm daily (no booking required). Open 10am - 5pm, until 9pm on Wednesday.
Christchurch attractions like Punting on the Avon, Orana Wildlife Park, and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve may be discounted on Bookme.
CoCA Centre of Contemporary Art is at 66 Gloucester Street. CoCA reopened in February 2016 and entry is free. Open Tuesday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm.
Craft Beer - The Beer Library at 363 Colombo Street in Sydenham is a craft beer retail outlet where you can buy beer by the bottle, can and rigger. There are brewpubs in the city that brew their own like Cassels & Sons Brewery and The Twisted Hop
Create your own carving at The Bone Dude's Bone Carving Studio, 153 Marshland Road, Shirley (previously located in the city). Choose from a range of designs or create your own, in three hours or less you will have a finished product.
Curious Christchurch - On thecuriouskiwi/blog there are a collection of blog posts about some of the more unusual aspects of Christchurch that we have seen and experienced as the city rebuilds.
Design your own jewellery at Beadz Unlimited, 7 New Regent Street in the city. Create your own unique piece of jewellery, purchase a ready made creation or join a workshop. New Regent Street is lined with pastel coloured Spanish Mission style buildings, it's a car free zone but trams rumble by the street side cafes. It's a sweet little street worth visiting.
Every cute car admirer will like sweet little Myrtle, a 1929 replica body Austin 7. Myrtle and her driver can putter you around the city on a tour. Myrtle's also available for special occasions and photo shoots. Visit Happy Tours for further details about Myrtle and her stable mates - Happy, Peapod and Aggie.
Ferrymead Heritage Park, 50 Ferrymead Park Drive, Ferrymead (15 minutes drive from the city)
The Edwardian township at Ferrymead includes a Museum of Flame - firemen will appreciate the display of old fire engines from around the country. Aeroplane enthusiasts can chat to the friendly plane restorer and find out which two planes were used as chicken coops on an Otago farm.
Tram rides are usually available weekends and school holidays, the steam train runs on some Sundays.
Open daily from 10am, admission costs. (Note: If you visit during the week you might have the place to yourself (and not all attractions operate), you may appreciate visiting on weekends when the atmosphere will be more lively).
First Thursdays arts and entertainment events happen in Sydenham twice a year - First Thursdays.
Gap Filler - a creative approach to using empty spaces. The aim is to fill spaces with creative projects until they're required for re-building - see current gap fillers. The Think Differently Book Exchange has been operating since 2011 on the corner of Kilmore and Barbadoes Streets. The Dance-O-Mat (photo below) gets packed up over winter, and moves around town, see the Dance-O-Mat Facebook page for its current location.
Going to the Canterbury A&P Show during NZ Cup & Show Week in November is a highlight for visitors and locals. NZ Cup and Show Week is a celebration of horse racing, fashion and entertainment.
Groynes Recreation Reserve, 160 Johns Road, Belfast (12km from inner city)
Take a bush walk and spot the bird life, you can also fish for trout (you need to purchase a licence first). Boats can be hired on sunny weekends, and coin operated BBQs are available if you want to make a day of it. Groynes is a rubbish free park so you will need to take your rubbish with you. Gates open 7am.
Indulge your chocolate craving at She Universe, 79 Main Road, Governors Bay and enjoy the stunning view. We visited for hot chocolates and a side or two of chocolate treats - see She Universe via thecuriouskiwi/blog. She also have a Chocolate Bar at The Tannery, 3 Garlands Road in Woolston. Fans of The Fudge Cottage will be pleased to know it is now back in The Arts Centre at 28 Worcester Boulevard. Open 10am - 5pm, 7 days.
It often snows in Christchurch over winter, you can ski and snow board a couple of hours down the road at Hanmer Springs Ski Area. Shuttles travel the 17km trip during the season from Hanmer Springs village to the ski area. I've read it's perfect for intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders.
Ice Skate year round at Alpine Ice.
Jump start your day with a flat white at Crafted Coffee Company, 121 Blenheim Road, Riccarton. Carl Sara, owner of Crafted Coffee Company is a 4x NZ Barista winner, so he knows his coffee. Luciano Marcolino is another Christchurch based barista champion and Luciano Espresso Bar is at 76 Moorhouse Avenue (next to Lighting Direct).
Kayaks, row boats and bikes are for hire at the picturesque Antigua Boat Sheds, 2 Cambridge Terrace. Alternatively, go Punting on the Avon in an authentic Edwardian punt. The Boat Shed Cafe next door is open for breakfast and can provide you with a picnic of snacks to take on the water. Cafe open 7 days.
Lincoln Road in Addington is home to Addington Coffee Co-op at number 297. Service and food at Addington Coffee are worth visiting for and WiFi is free with purchase. They support the work of Freeset in India by selling clothing and bags. There's also a laundromat - 3 washing machines and 2 dryers, washing powder is provided free. Open 7 days.
The Pedal Pusher at 284 Lincoln Road is a bike themed bar and eatery with unusual features like bike seat bar stools, a bike brake coat holder and sprocket light fittings. We had dinner on a packed quiz night Monday but Tuesday is currently '$25 fish & chips and beer' night, see what's on for other specials. Open 7 days.
Lyttelton's London Street lost some of its iconic colourful buildings but if you make the short trip through the tunnel from Christchurch you'll find more colourful businesses filling the empty spaces. The Lyttelton Harbour Information Centre is at 20 Oxford Street.
The vegetarian and vegan friendly Shroom Room at 48 London Street has a quirky collection of spaces, and seating spills out into the adjoining Albion Square. My meat eater rated the mushroom pies and I think they must be in cahoots with Dukes of Sandwich as the ciabatta bread is tops as well. Take patience if you visit on a busy weekend as we did.
Other eating and drinking options on London Street include Civil and Naval, and Fat Tony's Bar & Swill. The Lyttelton Farmers Market sets up on London Street every Saturday from 10am-1pm. Port Hole container bar has gone from 42 London Street but may appear elsewhere in Lyttelton. Wunderbar is an unusual bar at number 19 - see thecuriouskiwi/blog Curious or Creepy?
Movies - If you like independent cinemas, The Deluxe is at The Tannery, 3 Garlands Road in Woolston. In the city, watch a movie at the 38 seat Alice Cinematheque at Alice in Videoland on the corner of High and Tuam Streets. C1 espresso is next door to Alice and the cafe is as popular as ever, there are some quirky features like the Singer sewing machine water dispenser, and bookshelf door. C1 also put a new spin on fast food - Super Speedy Dinner Delivery via thecuriouskiwi/blog.
New Brighton Library, Pier Building, 213 Marine Parade
The architects who designed the seaside library thoughtfully provided large windows overlooking Brighton beach. On the ground floor are comfy chairs where you can relax and read, or plan your next move as you gaze out to sea. Salt on the Pier cafe next to the library provides sea views with coffee and is open 7 days from 8.30am. (Salt on the Pier restaurant is located upstairs).
On the beach (almost) at Taylor's Mistake you will see some classic Kiwi baches. Taylor's Mistake is also a popular surf spot. To get there look for Taylor's Mistake Road south of the village of Sumner and drive the winding road to its end. See the surf conditions on the webcam, Taylors Surf is also on Facebook.
Only 90 minutes from Christchurch are two small but popular NZ villages - Hanmer Springs (north of Christchurch) and French flavoured Akaroa (south east of Christchurch). Relax in one of the country's best hot pool complexes at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. If you're interested in mosaic art I highly recommend a visit to the magical Mosaic Sculpture Garden at Giant's House B&B in Akaroa.
Orana Wildlife Park is an open range zoo and utilises moats and banks where possible to keep animals enclosed rather than cages and high fences. If you'd like to get up close and terrified by lions buy a ticket for the Lion Encounter and get on board a truck with the keepers. Lunch for the lions ensures your experience will be remembered - our short video of the encounter. Orana Wildlife Park is open 7 days (except Christmas Day), 10am - 5pm.
Tip: There are 20 tickets for the Lion Encounter each day at a cost of $45 pp (on top of park admission - $34.50). Tickets are first come first served but you can phone ahead to reserve and pay for your place. It's a tight fit in the back of the truck and weekends are especially busy, if you visit during the week you might strike it lucky and have less people in the truck giving you more opportunity for an extra close encounter.
Pay It Forward Design Store - Pay It Forward is a co-operative of local designers from the Christchurch area who sell their quality wares at 49 Nancy Avenue in Mairehau. There is a list of designers on the website, I bought a cute little dish made by Cecilia at Creative Clay Studio. There is a children's book swap box at the door. Open Monday - Saturday.
Pomeroy's Old Brewery Inn, 292 Kilmore Street
Craft beer is on tap at Pomeroy's, including some of their own brews. Victoria's Kitchen served us Three Mushroom Risotto, and Chicken Rigatoni on our last visit, good portion sizes, great taste and reasonable prices - no complaints here. Open Tuesday - Sunday. Little Poms cafe has opened at 294 Kilmore Street, craft beer is on tap there too. Open 7 days until 2.30pm.
We've stayed next door at Pomeroy's on Kilmore, the rooms have always been comfortable and nicely furnished. Included in the rate is a self serve continental breakfast and a voucher for a beverage next door. B&B from $145.
Public Art - See Scape Public Art - permanent works.
Queens & Kings of the Castles - head to New Brighton Beach in February for the annual NZ Sand Castle Competition. Kite Day is held on New Brighton Beach in January.
Riccarton Rotary Sunday Market, Riccarton Park Racecourse, Racecourse Road (10 - 15 minutes drive from the city)
There are over 250 stalls to browse at the Riccarton Sunday market, 9am - 2pm, rain or shine.
Shopping – If you like shopping in malls you'll like shopping in Christchurch - Westfield Riccarton, Northlands and The Palms are three of the city’s best. The Orbiter will take you to the shopping malls if you don't have transport. You can also shop at Cashel Mall Re:START, a container shopping centre in the heart of the city. Now that rebuilding is well underway the containers are being shifted often to make way for permanent buildings, but Re:START is still an interesting place to visit. The Colombo at 363 Colombo Street in Sydenham is a smart new permanent shopping hub also worth visiting.
The Tannery in Woolston is reminiscent of The Strand Arcade in Sydney. Supporters of NZ made can visit stores including KILT and Chalky Digits. The Tannery has some interesting tenants including The Apothecary. Looking through the herbal teas I saw 'Gone With The Wind' - helps with gas; and 'Hair of the dog' - helps the liver. If you're interested in traditional remedies I got a good introduction to The Apothecary from one of the staff so you're in good hands. If you'd like a beer, something from a bakery, or even a bike, The Tannery has you covered.
Stock up on organic produce at Piko Wholefoods, corner Kilmore and Barbadoes Streets. Piko sell certified organic fruit and vegetables, a range of whole foods and gluten free products. Harbour Co-op (formerly Lyttel Piko) at 12 London Street, Lyttelton is now a community owned cooperative.
Liberty Market on the corner of Moorhouse and Fitzgerald Avenue is another option.
Street Art - Rise Festival and Spectrum Street Art Festival facilitated the addition of impressive art on walls in Christchurch's inner city. See 41 photos of Christchurch Street Art via thecuriouskiwi/blog.
Sumner is a seaside suburb in Christchurch and you can hire surf boards and wet suits from Stoked at 9 Wakefield Avenue, or Learn to Surf (Sumner surf cam). Sumner Village has a directory of businesses for the upmarket suburb. Hollywood Cinema in Sumner opened in 1938 and it's still standing strong.
Tea party at The Cup Cake Collection
The Cup Cake Collection is a gorgeous wee store in a small, suburban mall at 140 Colombo Street, Beckenham. Decorated in pastel colours with pretty tea cups, plates and tea pots it's the perfect place for tea and sweet cakes with friends. Open Monday - Friday, 9.30am-5pm and Saturday 9.30am-4pm. The Cup Cake Collection also has a stall (no seating or beverages sold) on Level 2 at Westfield Riccarton.
Trash to treasure - EcoShop (formerly Supershed & Retroshed) is located at 191 Blenheim Road, Riccarton. If it's recyclable it will be here. Open 7 days.
Unusual accommodation in Christchurch includes a budget option near the Railway Station - Jailhouse Accommodation at 338 Lincoln Road in Addington. Read about our stay at Jailhouse via thecuriouskiwi/blog - A night behind bars. Unusual accommodation in the seaside suburb of Sumner is the French style Le Petit Hotel B&B.
We've stayed at Waipara Sleepers in Waipara wine country, a 45 minute drive from Christchurch. Two and a half hours drive from Christchurch is the seaside settlement of Kaikoura, our unusual accommodation choice was a house truck at Wacky Stays. (Note: A large earthquake and aftershocks caused damage in Kaikoura in November 2016. State Highway 1 between Picton and Kaikoura reopened on 15 December 2017 (NZ Transport Agency provide information about road closures in and around Kaikoura).
Water Drop Vegetarian Cafe is part of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple, the cafe is another haven of calm on the very busy Riccarton Road. There's a set lunch, sweet snacks in the cabinet and free fruit on the tables. (Closed Monday).
Walk the Writers' Trail - Many of the plaques may be part of construction sites, but if you're interested in writers with a Canterbury connection check out the Writers' Trail brochure.
Whodunnit? Dame Ngaio Marsh (1895 - 1982) is New Zealand's Queen of Crime fiction writing, and a world renowned fiction writer. One hour guided tours of her home at 37 Valley Road in Cashmere can be arranged by appointment, $20. Tours are run by volunteers so pre-booking is essential.
X marks the spot at Map World, 35 Moorhouse Avenue. Buy maps, travel books, local guide books for cyclists, GPS devices, compasses and travel accessories. Closed Sunday.
You will be entertained at the World Buskers Festival in January each year. Garden City Summer Times concerts and events are held 31 December - March every year. The biennial Christchurch Arts Festival returns in 2017.
Zero in on some of the neat places in Christchurch by visiting the website of the same name - Neat Places. It's my go-to website whenever I'm planning a trip to the city.