Guide12 Hours Christchurch
Whether you're treating yourself, exploring the rebuilding city, or simply after a fresh take on home base, Christchurch is forever full of surprises. The Garden City is home to top of the line retail, quality eating and drinking establishments, and plenty of activities to nourish body and soul.
The best things to see, eat and do.
In this 12hr Guide we stroll around West End and the Central City, enjoying a bit of nature, some wining and dining, and some self care experiences. With a free day up your sleeve, you'll find plenty to love.
Christchurch often treats visitors to crisp, clear mornings but regardless of the weather beginning the day in the heart of the city is a must. You’ll find the green centre of the city, Hagley Park, has much to offer both within and around its lush borders.
120 Hereford Street, Christchurch Central
This independent bookstore has been a cornerstone of Christchurch since the 1970s. Browse through Scorpio’s huge selection of titles, enjoy all the local-bookstore-warm-fuzzies, plop down in a cosy chair for a few page turns and peruse the robust New Zealand literature section. If bookworms are to get on with the day at all, they’ll need to set a timer here.
Hagley Park and the Ilex Cafe
Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
Stroll through Hagley Park’s colorful botanic gardens, hundred-year-old trees and riverside knolls. Tucked amongst this greenery you’ll find Ilex Cafe which is defined by aesthetics and flavours as brilliant as the park itself. Ilex’s menu features local seasonal dishes, barista-made coffee and an array of sweet and savoury treats to get your day going.
By now you’ve surely worked up an appetite, so keep those legs moving and make your way towards some choice lunch spots nearby.
50 Bistro and Pescatore
50 Park Terrace
On the edge of Hagley Park sits, The George, one of the cities most well known boutique hotels which boasts two dining venues: 50 Bistro and Pescatore. 50 Bistro’s beautiful dishes are created with ingredients that are ideally sourced from within a fifty kilometer range. Their signature beef and lamb dishes are award winning. Pescatore, on the other hand, pairs line caught fish with organic produce and curious taste profiles that keep patrons guessing. The fresh, sustainable menu items and artful presentations at these two destinations simply cannot be beat.
123 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central
Get ready to ‘bao’ down to this totally yum chinese fusion lunch option. Sister Kong is reminiscent of a traditional Hong Kongese baijiu house and is decked out with red lanterns, neon Lucky Cats and a bustling bar that mimics Hong Kong’s energy. Here diners fill up on bao buns and dumplings that are filled with local produce, meats and other bold flavours. Chase your meal down with a cold Asahi and refresh yourself before heading into the afternoon.
Made Espresso Bar
56 Cashel Street, Christchurch Central
Head to Made Espresso once you hit that 2:30 slump. This petite and sunshine filled espresso bar has all the caffeinated barista beverages and yummy lunch/snack options that you need to keep going. If you’re a bit peckish have a peek at the cabinet which is always brimming with sweet treats, Grizzly bagel sandwiches and salads. If you’re on the move take your order to-go and guilt free, all packaging used at Made is recyclable.
In Christchurch you’ll find heaps of storefronts, each marked by their own personality and flare, that offer artisan wares, uncommon goods and luxurious services. Treat yourself at any of these noteworthy spots.
The Arts Centre of Christchurch
2 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
The Arts Centre boasts one of the most unique and exciting collections of retail stores in New Zealand, and all under one roof. With a focus on sustainable and Kiwi made goods shops like Frances Nation will wow you with beautiful, made-to-last objects for the home that all have their own story to tell. At Rekindle, a buzzing maker space, you’ll find handmade wares all of which are made by local craftspeople who subscribe to Rekindle’s ethos of ‘making what we need from what we have’. Indigo & Provisions houses a collection of carefully curated work wear, home wear and heritage styles that are designed to be worn and loved for many years.
Rejuvenate and recharge
Cloud9 1/65 Mandeville Street, Riccarton
While you’re here take a chance to rejuvenate. At Cloud9 you can de-stress with a float therapy session inside one of their four state-of-the art float pods, a completely tranquil experience. Total Body Concept is the place for wellness treatments like reflexology and anti-ageing treatments for both men and women. Renaissance skin clinic and day spa, located just steps from the beach, is well known for their bespoke facials where each client’s treatment is designed to be completely holistic. Skin Space, a light filled shop located within the Arts Centre, purveys some of the most aromatic, luxurious and high quality skin care products that are all ethically produced, made with pure ingredients and are cruelty free.
Tie one (or a few) on to celebrate a day well spent in Ōtautahi. These three locals offer distinctive venues and cocktail lists that are all entirely their own while still managing to cater to a wide array of libation preferences.
92 Victoria Street, City Centre, Christchurch
Those who love gin already and those who want to get to know her better will all fall in love with this cocktail bar. gin gin’s pink interior, vibrant plant life and quirky decor all complement the exciting and unusual cocktails that are on offer here. The drinks menu features boutique gin from New Zealand and beyond with added colour, flavour and texture from special additions like fermented berries, tonics, rose petals and more. Forget basic G&Ts. Spirits, wine and beer are also available.
151 Cambridge Tce, Christchurch Central
Located alongside the Avon River, Sawyer, is an intimate spot for a luxe cocktail. Enjoy a private nook or take a seat at the raw wood bar to explore the enticing drinks list. You’ll discover adventurous and cheeky cocktails like a Buttered Martini as well as an extensive gin list, craft beer and cider. If you’re after a nibble, Sawyer’s ever evolving snack menu features crowd pleasers like an antipasto platter and a Reuben Toasty. You can’t go wrong with a drink above the river to end your day.
128 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
Earl, a European style bistro, is host to one of the most bespoke bar affairs that Christchurch has to offer. The iconic v-shaped bar frames the kitchen and creates a comfortable, inviting atmosphere with a light wood fit out, natural materials and hints of blue here and there. Libations include an array of wines, beers, spirits and Earl’s creative cocktail list. Order ‘The Manhattan’ a whiskey, vermouth and bitters cocktail to quite literally end your day with a cherry on top.