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Our team of ten are all Cantabrians at heart (even the ones that have moved there from afar); it doesn’t take long to fall in love with this great city.
The things that we love about Christchurch are how picturesque it is – the Port Hills on one side and the patchwork of the Canterbury Plains in between leading up to the Southern Alps; it’s a truly magnificent sight.
This is not to mention all the other good stuff like the ski fields, lakes, beaches, walk, and mountain bike tracks. And, the city living – live music, international sports events, international shows at the theatre, as well as some awesome local talent. There are weekend markets, art exhibitions, concerts, shopping, day trips; we could truly go on and on.
If you are planning on a visit to Christchurch soon, then you need to hear what makes it so great direct from the locals who love it.
This is a terrific walk where you can look out over the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps. There are a few different walks you can do (or do them all to complete a circuit over Mt Thomas). It’s a great place to take the dog, go for a picnic or a run.
Skiing – we love to ski. Luckily for us, Mt Hutt isn’t too far away from Christchurch; meaning we can head out for a full day on the slopes and then be back home in time for dinner.
Tumbledown Bay is a favourite place to go. You can find it just over the back of hill at Little River near Akaroa, it is remote and has a lovely rolling wave suitable for long boarders like some of our team. Here more often than not you are surfing with the seals.
Cave Stream Scenic Reserve
The Cave Stream Scenic Reserve is a good spot to go. Here you can wander on one of two walks that lead to the cave entrances. You can also walk through the cave passage which meanders and twists in pitch darkness for 594m between the two entrances – so make sure you bring your head torch.
Gore Bay is another favourite spot – 10km off the main road from Cheviot. It is a secluded little township without shops or cellphone coverage. It also has a fantastic camping ground right on the beach.
Wiakuku Beach is just 25 minutes north of the city. It’s a great beach for surfers as it always puts on a performance and is one you have to watch because they are dumpers!
New Brighton Pier
Then of course there is New Brighton where the more adventurous jump off the pier with their board and surf the waves.
This is a great spot with lots to do. From 4WDing and jet boating to horse treks, tubing, swimming, kayaking or fishing.
A fun family hike up Mt Grey in North Canterbury to see stunning views of the entire Pegasus Bay and Canterbury. You can see all the way to the Milk factory in Dunsandel from the top.
Lots of weekends and weeknights are spent at Sumner where sometimes you have to swerve to miss the bathers but generally get a nice crack at some good waves for all levels. There is lots to see here, all sorts of activities on the beach and boardwalk as well as cool wee cafés and shops.
Hanmer Springs is just under 2 hours north of Christchurch – and is well worth the drive. Head up for the day or stay for the weekend. Originally the main pull of this cool little town was the hot springs, however now there is also a lot of other activities like riding ATVs and mountain biking, plus delicious places to eat or drink. Pro tip: head there in winter time to sit in the hot pools while it snows.
Who needs to go to an Art Museum when you can simply walk the streets of Christchurch? There are paintings and sculptures galore!
Canterbury Earthquake Memorial
The Memorial is located on the edge of the Avon River between Montreal Street and Rhododendron Island. It is a place for people to reflect on the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, honouring those who lost their lives on 22 February 2011, acknowledging those who were seriously injured and everyone who helped in the rescue and recovery operation. It is a reflective space on the north bank of the river and a Memorial Wall on the south bank.
Margaret Mahy Playground
The Margaret Mahy playground was inspired by and named after one of New Zealand's esteemed and popular author of children's and young adult books. It is a very cool, and very popular place to bring the kids. Those of our team with children love to bring their families down to play, and even the adults love to give it a go.
Hagley Park lunch time run
There’s heaps to do in Hagley Park but a few of our team like to use their lunch breaks to go for a good 5km or so run around the park’s many tracks. The park looks so good in its seasonal colours, with the leaves falling and the rustling when you walk through them in the Park in Autumn, or all the flowers blossoming in Spring and Summer.
Orana Wildlife Park
Christchurch’s premier zoo – Orana Park offers everyone the opportunity to get up close and personal with all kinds of wildlife. Such a great place to take the kids on a sunny day – just on the outskirts of the city.
Christchurch Farmer’s Market – Riccarton House & Bush
Open every Saturday from 9am – 1pm since 2003 at Riccarton Bush, the people of Christchurch can head along to get fresh veges and fruit, or freshly baked breads and treats. What used to be just a 10 stall market has now grown to over 80 stalls each Saturday. This is a favourite Saturday adventure with the opportunity to purchase goods or simply wander around with a coffee, and listen to the live music.
Cycle from Cathedral Square in Christchurch to Akaroa – it’s only 100km! You can take on the whole challenge on a road or mountain bike as an individual, or tackle the event in bite-size chunks in a two-person team. Teams-of-two do one half each and change at Little River Domain.
Botanic D’Lights Festival
Botanic D’Lights transforms the Botanic Gardens into a spectacle of illuminated artworks and innovative light installations. This is a really cool family event, with all proceeds from the gold coin donation will go to revitalising the Children’s Garden.
The Great Kiwi Beer Festival
This is a really cool event where brewers from all over the country come to show off their creations. There is also a bunch of tasty food places to pick from. Held in the middle of Summer at Hagley Park, with bands playing as well as other entertainment, it’s not a bad way to spend the day if you can make it.
South Island Food and Wine Festival
This is another awesome event to go to – wine, food, music, sunshine – can’t get better than that.
World Buskers Festival
Get a real mix of different pop up shows around Christchurch. From comedians and street performers to acrobats and circus artists – you could never be bored in Christchurch at the end of January with this going on.
Dimitris Greek Food
Ever heard of this place? Found on Riccarton Road is THE best souvlaki you will find.
Pomeroy’s Old Brewery Inn
Pomeroy’s is a popular pub to go to; with a real English pub feel to it. It’s a comfy tavern with a traditional, UK-style vibe with a vast beer selection & inventive pub food.
Thai Container came about after the 2011 earthquake. Due to the lack of viable building options, Thai Container parked themselves and their container on the corner of Bealey Ave and Caledonian Road (right next to the Southern Cross Hospital). You have to give this a try (everything is great!).
Like a big American-style breakfast? This is the place to go! Serving up American-sized portions of the most delicious breakfast foods, Drexels is the place to go for a mouth-watering brunch. From past experience it can be hellishly busy – so make sure you have plenty of time.
This has to be one of the best dessert places in Christchurch (or possibly New Zealand). Strawberry Fare is an absolute favourite of a number of our team plus pretty much anyone else you talk to in town who has been. Make sure you book though!
This is definitely another favourite Thai experience in Christchurch. With meals to share (or eat a whole one to yourself and then slip into a food coma), fresh ingredients and a very cool vibe, Spice Paragon is a great place to go for lunch or dinner.
You like tacos? We like tacos. And Mexicanos is the place to go to get an authentic taco. Plus other amazing Mexican food that you have probably never experienced.
Burgers and Beers
Just like the name suggests – they serve burgers and beers. BUT, these burgers are extraordinarily tasty and they come with big, chunky fries that just top it off. Find this place and eat there. It is a franchise so even if you are in another city and see one – give it a go.
Tony’s Teppan Yaki Restaurant
This is a great place to get authentic Japanese food. We go here for team lunches when we get the chance.
The Brewery is one of the coolest places to go. If you like a Cassels & Sons brew (or just any beer), then this is the place to go as all their beer is brewed on site. Pizza is the best option there – wood-fired, thin and crispy – can’t go wrong. They even have an outdoor screen where they play movies on occasion.
For a few of our team members, they were surprised by how much they loved their city after sending through their favourite things. Putting their thoughts to paper really showed them how much they can do in and around their city, and what they love most about it.
Christchurch has something for each and every one of us – from fishing, biking, surfing, walking, hiking, running, skiing or swimming to shopping, playing with their children, exploring, attending events and more.
Everything is within 60 minutes of home, so you can spend the day or just an hour or two, and then stop somewhere nice for a well-deserved drink.
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