Guide12 Hours Christchurch
Although the city has a shaky history, it’s a serious misconception to think Christchurch has nothing to offer visitors post the 2011 earthquake.
The neatest things to see, eat and do
From the golden Port Hills to the sea and spray of its many beaches, Christchurch is bursting with a new generation of café, restaurant and eatery owners – providing some of the best hospitality scenes seen here yet.
There’s no time for sleeping in a city as beautiful as this one, plus there’s way too much adventuring to be done to justify another hour in bed. So hop to it and head on out to discover the city in the morning light.
254 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t waste time being half-hearted about it, and instead head to one of the best in town for your morning wake up call. Open from 6:30am, even the earliest of early birds can dine here without fretting they’ll miss that morning meeting/flight/dentist appointment.
With porridge to eggs and everything in between available, you’ll be charmed not only by the food but also the clever fit out, where mismatched plants and glowing bulbs hang from the industrial-style ceiling and an old-school style selection of chairs will have you nostalgic for days in the classroom.
Action Bicycle Club
8 Walker Street, Christchurch Central
Even though Christchurch certainly is pedestrian friendly, you may wish to join those carefree, colourful bikers you’ve seen in the inner city and spend the rest of your day on two wheels. Action Bicycle Club is here to help.
A far cry from the greasy glum bike shops of days gone by, Action Bicycle Club is instead bright, fresh and friendly, and with an array of vintage-style bikes for hire for anywhere between five and 48 hours plus, you can soon join the easy-going peddlers and glide on through the city without breaking a sweat.
4 Walker Street, Christchurch Central
Before you set sail on your new shiny bicycle, you’ll be pleased to hear that just next door is a café and roastery serving up some of the tastiest brews around, and as any good biker knows, KMs covered is directly related to caffeine consumed. So park up for a moment in this dark, sleek setting run by super knowledgeable coffee experts who are more than happy to talk you through what’s good.
363 Colombo Street, Sydenham
Almost single-handedly bringing Sydenham to life after the Canterbury earthquakes, The Colombo is a brilliant display of when good people with great ideas come together and make something work.
This place is no ordinary mall, instead think of it as a boutique shopping experience with everything (if not everything you need, then certainly everything you want) under one easy roof. Find the latest fashion trends on the shelves or homewares to make your heart melt. Lucky you bought your backpack huh, coz we don’t think you’ll be leaving here empty handed.
As the clock rolls around to midday the things to do just keep coming, so rally the troops and kick on through to the next round of happenings.
Hello Dear Interiors
51 Durham Street South, Sydenham
Your next stop for more lovely homewares is only a hop, skip and a jump away (or a couple of pedals for you bike riders), so head on over to Hello Dear to view contemporary interior design at its best. Home to its own label, NED Collections, you can find anything from candles to couches, and why we don’t recommend you carting round furniture for the rest of the day, we do think putting something on hold is a grand idea.
249 Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch Central
If you’re not yet tired of looking at beautiful items, then a visit to The National would not go astray. A dealer gallery specialising in jewellery and objects by New Zealand and selected international artists, The National’s imaginative exhibition programme changes monthly, so if you see something you fancy, you best snap it up quick smart!
181 High Street, Christchurch Central
Hear that rumbling? It’s probably your stomach, and we don’t blame you, it’s a long time since breakfast. There’s only one cure for those who are truly famished, and that’s with a top-class burger and fries.
Bacon Bros is one popular place that you’re going to want to visit, and tucked in at the Little High Eatery you’ll most likely find them bustling with the lunch time crowd. Whatever wait there may be is truly worth it though, with burger options of bacon, beef, chicken, vege or vegan catering for all eaters, and with an aim to make their customers smile no matter how busy they are, you know you’re in safe hands here.
With no time for an after-lunch sit down sorry (unless you count being back on your bike as one) and that’s because the itinerary demands you just keep moving! So buckle that helmet and get ready for what’s next.
Christchurch Art Gallery
Montreal Street, Christchurch Central
There’s nothing better than getting a two for one, and in this case you’ll be pleased to hear you’re getting exactly that. The Christchurch Art Gallery is a magnificent architectural feat, and one you’re not likely to miss while peddling down Montreal Street.
If the shiny glass exterior isn’t enough to wow you, just wait till you get inside and see some of the latest and greatest in contemporary art around. See something you like? Maybe you’ll find it in gift form in The Design Store, a place for art lovers who want to take a bit of the magic home with them.
Rollickin' Gelato Arts Centre
35 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central
No sane human would stand between an ice cream lover and a gelato store, so we’re gonna come right out and say ‘there’s one just around the corner!’. Rollickin Gelato has already reached fever pitch popularity at its New Regent Street location, so it’s no wonder their new digs in the Arts Centre look set to follow suit. Swing on in for flavours like creamy cinnamon and banoffee pie, or even fruity sorbets for those not so keen on dairy.
After you've scoffed your gelato, we hate to say it, but it’s probably time to send back your faithful two-wheeled steed and spend the rest of the evening on foot. Enjoy the last half hour or so of peddling then hand over your bicycle back to the team at Action Bicycle Club, and if you really can’t bear to let go, remember, they also offer these bicycles for sale …
As dusk settles in the Garden City don’t be fooled into thinking things slow down. Instead gear up for the time when evening eateries, restaurants and bars open their doors.
5/2 Papanui Road, Merivale
For a truly authentic taste of Canterbury you can’t go past Gatherings. After a year spent working on an organic farm in Swannanoa, Alex Davies, the savvy chef-cum-restaurant owner, used his passion, skills and knowledge of what was truly local to start his own eatery.
Now earning high praise from those in the know about fantastic food, you can rest assured a visit to Gatherings will not leave you hanging when it comes to tasty dishes, unique wines and superb service.
30/28 Cathedral Square, Christchurch Central
There’s no better way to digest a meal than to slowly wander it off, so can we suggest a walk down one of Christchurch’s most picturesque streets - New Regent Street.
A nightcap you say? Jolly good idea, and a short jaunt away is OGB, a speakeasy-style bar located in the Heritage Hotel in Cathedral Square. Elegant and classy, this intimate bar holds the kind of crowd that appreciates a well-made drink. Liquor bottles take up the entire wall space behind the bar, and dapper staff are more than apt at turning them into prohibition-style cocktails.