A little over five years ago, Christchurch was hit with its biggest earthquake to date, coming in at 7.1 magnitude. The earthquake devastated the city, destroying a vast majority of the city centre and hundreds of homes. In the end, over 150 people lost their lives and countless others lost family, jobs, friends and even their houses. But what has happened to Christchurch, I don’t think anyone thought would happen; it grew into a place of opportunity. I have been to Christchurch numerous times and the city ceases to amaze me with their fresh style and positive outlook into the future. I’m one of the city’s biggest fans and will tell anyone visiting New Zealand that they must stop in this city to understand the true heart of the country. If you’re planning on coming to New Zealand and visiting Christchurch, here are some places you cannot miss:
Hello Sunday Café
I always love to start with a food option in any list, and Hello Sunday Café couldn’t be a better place to begin. This adorable and tiny café makes everything in-house from their breads to their sauces and coffee. They are some of the most hospitable staff I’ve ever come across and did I mention their food is to die for? Best for brunch, Hello Sunday Café is not only must eat, it’s a local hot spot too. So much in fact, it just won an award for best café. See? I’m not lying!
To get your fix for shopping, head to the city centre and check out the ReStart Mall. This project was put together to bring money back to the city. Made completely out of shipping containers, ReStart has revolutionised the way we think about recycling and small spaces. This brightly coloured spot has plenty to offer too; amazing local food trucks, the best souvenirs, local shops filled with local goods & art, and cafes. If you want to help the city get back on its feet, shop here.
Riccarton & Lyttleton Saturday Markets
Saturday markets are amazing in Christchurch. Both Riccarton and Lyttleton Saturday markets offer up the best in local produce, jewellery, coffee, baked goods, clothes, accessories, and plenty more local goods that you can’t wait to get your hands on. It’s also a great option to grab a cheaper meal and get to know locals.
New Brighton Pier
Outside of the city on the east coast lies the New Brighton Pier. It’s a stunning sunrise and sunset from the end of the pier that looks out to nothing but ocean. For photographers, it’s a dream. For the beach goer, it’s also a dream. There are cute cafes around the area as well, so bring your appetite as well as your sun cream.
Getting back to the food scene, Christchurch absolutely spoils anyone who comes to say hi. Supreme Supreme is one of the city’s best developments. Housed in an old Chinese restaurant/bakery, Supreme Supreme pays tribute to the past by keeping up many of the Chinese signs and furniture. It’s a hipster feel with an incredible menu and incredible coffee. Trust me when I say this; order the mac n’ cheese.
Punting on the Avon
To step back in time and experience the English influence in Christchurch, go punting on the Avon! Sit back and relax a lovely boat ride through the city, marvelling at the beautiful architecture, wonderful parks and photo ops all around. The punters themselves are full of interesting information and suggestions, so make due of their wealth of knowledge.
Street Art Tour
Take a self-made walking tour of Christchurch’s city centre. After the earthquake in 2011, street artists turned the rubble and broken buildings into some of the most stunning works of art in the entire country. They represent the fight and love all locals have for their city, and the fight and love they have to bring it back to life. It’s an amazing art walk that will make you feel proud just to have witnessed these unbelievable and colourful works of art. The city loves them so much; they have created a mini-map showcases the best places to see the most popular pieces of street art.