Soak up the summer

As the dog days of summer close in around Canterbury, eateries across town are opening up their gardens, courtyards and secret sun spots to diners – and Neat Places has rounded up the hottest of the lot.

Summer dining and drinking

Christchurch & Canterbury

Eat & Drink, Shops

You can rely on some Canterbury mainstays to provide the essential spot to catch some rays while you sip and sup your way to summer bliss.

Governor's Bay deck

Governors Bay Hotel

52 Main Road, Governors Bay
Christchurch & Canterbury

A 20-minute drive south of Christchurch leads to an outdoor eating destination, incomparable to any inner-city dining experience. The Governors Bay Hotel has been offering priceless views of Lyttelton Harbour since 1870, and is today inundated by large numbers of locals and visitors pursuing a summer’s day breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu reflects the breathtaking landscapes in sight, with produce sourced locally as well as from the bounty of the Hotel’s very own organic gardens.

An outdoor deck wraps around the exterior of the building’s ground floor, as well as the upper level where tables with the most enviable coastal views can be found. There’s plenty of opportunity to stop and smell the roses in the grassed seating area, with a quaint rose garden in full bloom and natives growing wild.

Smash Palace courtyard

Smash Palace

172 High Street, Christchurch, Central City
Christchurch & Canterbury

Claiming the title of Christchurch’s biggest courtyard bar, one needn’t rush to Smash Palace for a perfectly placed table in the great outdoors. On days when the sun is at its brightest, no prospect is quite as attractive as making your way to the famous High Street school bus to order a burger and pint of Bodgie from the driver – or rather bartender.


Enter the iron gates and choose your site for the evening. A solid crowd will easily squeeze around one of the bar’s many picnic tables and twosomes will enjoy the rosebush surrounds of corner tables. Cool kids can make their way to the back of the bus for a shadier setting and Vitamin-D addicts will often be found ascending the stairs to catch the last rays on the rooftop balcony. Wherever you land, there’s plenty of tunes from live DJs, eats, drinks and fresh air to keep you hanging round for a long time.

Pegasus Bay garden dining

Pegasus Bay

Stockgrove Road, Glasnevin
Christchurch & Canterbury

When spring and summer ticks over in North Canterbury, Pegasus Bay’s vast backyard blooms with enchantment. Arrive at the home of one of New Zealand’s leading – and entirely family-owned – winery restaurants and lounge within the ultimate backdrop for enjoying fine food, world-class wines and excellent hospitality.

Summer lunches are made to be luxuriously long here, with a table placing to suit all diners. Beanbags and small tables are dotted along the edge of the pristine gardens to cater for casual wines and snacks, while larger picnic tables are perfectly positioned throughout the lawn, offering ample privacy for big groups. Those seeking more intimate spaces can wander along ponds and over red footbridges before finding a romantic table for two quietly lining the perimeter of the building, with thick roots and wild vines climbing the pillars.