Guide48 Hours Christchurch
There’s nothing like the promise of a full weekend ahead. We’ve already curated the best way to spend 12 hours in Christchurch, but if you have a little more time to spare, we have no shortage of ideas. From buzzing city cafes, quirky gallery exhibits, seaside walks and memorable meals, not a moment will feel wasted.
9am: Breakfast at Little Poms
294 Kilmore Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
You’ll more than likely find a crowd at this cosy, central, brunch spot, and for good reason. The menu is balanced with classic options like the Little Poms Benny and adventurous dishes like Chili Scrambled Eggs, paired with smoked lemon ricotta and Shitake mushrooms. While they have a thoughtfully curated menu with some of their most popular options (including the ones mentioned here) before 11am, you’ll find even more options if you decide to opt for a later brunch.
10am: Explore The Arts Centre Christchurch
Christchurch Central, Christchurch
The Arts Centre is an iconic landmark in Christchurch, dating back to 1877. Since its $290m post-earthquake restoration programme began, the centre has brought in new experiences with culture, creativity and education. From galleries and exhibitions at The Physics Room, Central Art Gallery, and Rutherford's Den, to shopping and retail from local artisans like Frances Nation, Indigo & Provisions, Skin Space, and Pepa Stationary, you can spend hours devouring all that this stunning building has to offer. After you’ve gallery hopped and shopped the local goods, you’ll have a decision to make: a quick, coffee break at Bunsen, or a more indulgent 11am glass of vino and cheese plate at Cellar Door.
11.30am: Exhibits at Christchurch Art Gallery
Montreal Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
While you’re in the area, head just down the road to Christchurch Art Gallery, a place loved by locals and tourists alike. Not only does it have a treasure trove of art, but it also boasts a full and impressive events calendar, including artist talks, films, and activities for kids. Plus, you can make a pit stop at the ever-changing and eclectic Design Store—the perfect shop to purchase a token from your 48 hour trip.
12pm: Lunch at Grater Goods
105 Orbell Street, Sydenham, Christchurch
Head just a little outside the city centre to Grater Goods in Sydenham, a vegan butchery and deli. If the word “vegan” has you tuning us out, we beg you to reconsider. Meat-eaters and vegetarians alike will delight in the options at this charming lunch spot, which includes innovative menu items like mushroom pate and faux gras.
12.45pm: Donuts at Grizzly Baked Goods
33 Buchan Street, Sydenham, Christchurch
Savor a post-lunch donut at Grizzly Baked Goods—a bakery whose pastries and breads have a short shelf-life due to their incredible popularity with Christchurch locals. Take it from us: the hole-in-the-wall vibe of this spot only adds to its cool factor.
1pm: Contemporary Art at The National
249 Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
The National has been at the forefront of the contemporary art scene in Christchurch for over a decade, and specialises in jewellery and objects by New Zealand and selected international artists. While jewellery has always been at the heart of the business, The National also showcases sculptural ceramics, glass and object based works.
2pm: Explore Riverside Market
96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
While Riverside Market only came onto the scene in late 2019, it’s quickly become the heartbeat of the CBD, bringing in dozens of local makers and producers all under one roof. While locals are happy to do their grocery shopping in the market stalls, tourists can delight in sampling all different kinds of cuisine, from greek souvlaki to unparalleled baked goods to Indian dosas. It’s an experience just to stroll through the Market (not to mention its charming laneway that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a quaint European town) so don’t let a lack of appetite stop you from visiting this must-see.
3pm: Visit Fiksate Gallery & Stroll New Regent Street
165 Gloucester Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
There’s so much to see and do on New Regent Street that we wrote an entire article about the best way to explore New Zealand’s most beautiful avenue. Make sure to stop at Fiksate Gallery while you’re in the neighborhood—it’s a go-to spot for urban, contemporary art run by a group of artists who share the collaborative work space at the back of the light filled gallery.
4pm: Grab a Scoop at Rollickin Gelato
35 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
Yes, this is your second dessert of the afternoon, but that’s what holidays are for. Besides, if you went to Christchurch and didn’t try Rollickin, did you really go to Christchurch? We vote no. In warmer months you can delight in a scoop at their outdoor picnic tables, or opt to cosy up in one of their slouchy leather sofas.
4.30pm: Cocktails at The Last Word
Christchurch Central, Christchurch
Just next door to some of the best gelato in New Zealand resides another Christchurch institution: cocktail and whiskey lounge The Last Word. With 320 whiskies available, owner Alex Rickett doesn’t shy away from being a self-proclaimed “whiskey geek” but rest assured there are extensive options even if whiskey doesn’t bode well with your palette. The warm and comfortable decor makes you feel like you’re enjoying a drink in your own living room, making it a spot where you’ll gladly hunker down for hours.
6pm: Dinner at Inati
48 Hereford Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
Inati is an easy stroll from your pre-dinner drinks, but feel free to take a breather and freshen up at your hotel beforehand. Trust us: you want to be fully present for this meal. Guests are seated at the polished brass chef’s table on beautiful leather-armchairs where they’re able to watch chefs prepare their meals in front of them. The cuisine comes from an innovative approach that focuses on the finest Canterbury and New Zealand produce around.
8pm: Nightcap at Boo Radley’s Food and Liquor
level 1/98 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
This candlelit venue makes the perfect last stop of the evening, where you can indulge in a wide array of beers, wine, and cocktails, including their “grown-up” milkshakes in Salted Caramel Bourbon, Vanilla Maple Bourbon and Bushwacker. Find comfort in one of their spaciously curved leather booths and don’t feel pressure to call it a night anytime soon—they stay open until 3am and have live music and entertainment from Wednesday to Saturday.
9am: Breakfast at The Caffeine Laboratory
Christchurch Central, Christchurch
The Caffeine Laboratory boasts an incredible breakfast and brunch menu (including one of our favorite burgers in town, if you find yourself in this spot again a bit later in the day). In the A.M. we can’t recommend their Christchurch famous donuts enough, and since you’ll be arriving early you just might have luck in snatching one up!
Shopping in the CBD
What would a holiday be without a little retail therapy? The Christchurch CBD offers easy access to some of the best boutiques and shopping centres the city has to offer, including Infinite Definite (for men and womens clothing), RUBY (for womens) Head over Heels (for shoes), and Ballantynes—a lux department store that offers everything from designer handbags to amazing homewares.
11am: Coffee Break at Unknown Chapter
254 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
Owner Jeremy drew inspiration from his previous years living and working in Amsterdam when creating the concept for this fresh, clean, and open cafe, decorated with greenery and exuding an effortlessly laid back vibe.
11.30am: See the Street Art at BOXed Quarter
Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
Located in the SALT District, BOXed Quarter houses dozens of street art works that can be admired all around the precinct of this intriguing corner of the city. Filled with eateries, cafes, offices, shops, and even a nightclub, it’s an experience that you truly don’t want to miss.
12.00pm: Explore Little High Lanes
Lanes in the Salt District, Enter off High Street, Tuam Street, St Asaph or Lichfield.
Little High Lanes is home to some of the oldest architecture in Christchurch—the stunning Edwardian structure from the Tuam & High Street side dates back to the early 1900s. Meander through the laneways and you’ll find plenty to keep you busy, from stunning streetwear shops to Bohemian Bakery’s second storefront—an award-winning spot known for its mouth watering pastries and sourdough.
1pm: Lunch at Earl
128 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
This highly regarded lunch spot may be in the middle of the city, but it offers a laid-back vibe inspired by coastal Europe. Serving up bistro classics alongside shared plates and a well-curated salad menu, you certainly won’t leave disappointed. Plus, the wine list is second-to-none, and a glass of vino with lunch perfectly suits that aforementioned European vibe.
2pm: Explore The Welder
20-26 Welles Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch
The Welder is a unique health and wellbeing centre in stunningly repurposed buildings in the heart of South Town. While there are plenty of healthy food and drink options to peruse, you may prefer to explore its other offerings, like the upstairs yoga studio or on-site sauna. While you’re at it, try out floatation therapy or indulge in a massage—you’re on holiday, afterall.
2.30pm: Head to Port Lyttelton
Over the Port Hills you’ll find the quirky suburb of Lyttelton, a place where charming, historic homes are nestled atop steep streets overlooking the industrial harbour and the main drag is dotted with eccentric bars, cafes, and shops. Make the most of this excursion with a pit stop at The Tannery—a chic retail hub set in a glass atrium—where you can enjoy the the fresh blooms at Mrs. Bottomleys Flowers, or pick up a few goodies from Food for Thought, a pantry refillery and retail store that provides high quality, eco-friendly alternatives to everyday products.
When you arrive in Lyttleton, make sure to visit Henry Trading, a thoughtful shop brimming with gifts, candles, ceramics, natural body products, woollen goods, toys, kitchen tools, desk supplies and more. Not far down the road is Lyttelton Coffee Co, a cafe suited for all seasons with a cosy wood burner for winter, and an expansive deck with views of the Banks Peninsula in warmer months.
4.00: Head to Sumner Village via Sumner Road
15 Wakefield Avenue, Sumner, Christchurch
Take in the views on a quick drive into the affluent but approachable Sumner Village, a beachside suburb with gorgeous scenery and plenty to explore. Grab a scoop at Utopia Ice, which will no doubt enchant you with it’s charming courtyard, but really win you over with its inventive ice cream flavours.
Once you've finished your icecream, take a seaside stroll down the Sumner Promenade. The Sumner Promenade is a little bit of paradise right here in Christchurch, and a late afternoon walk is the dreamiest way to soak it up. At a 25 minute walk each way, you’ll get done just in time for an early dinner at one of our favorite local spots.
5.30: Early dinner at Miss Peppercorn
32 Nayland Street, Sumner, Christchurch
Nicole Zou hails from the Chinese province of Sichuan, and was inspired to create a modern eatery that celebrates the fragrant flavours of her hometown. You won’t find your average sweet and sour pork at Miss Peppercorn, but The Biang Biang Noodles and Sour and Spicy Wonton Soup are not to be missed.
7pm: Head back to Lyttleton for post-dinner drinks at Civil & Naval
16 London Street, Lyttelton
Wrap up your evening at Lyttelton local Civil & Naval, a place that feels like home to neighbourhood folks and is a welcome respite for travelers. The team here knows a thing or ten about good food, beer, wine and cocktails – or in Civil and Naval speak: grub, ale, plonk and hootch.