The Key Ingredients for a Wellness Weekend in Ōtautahi Christchurch

Women soaking in the hot pools at New Brighton Hot Pools in Christchurch.

Now more than ever people are making their health a priority, often travelling around the country to get the very best wellness experiences.

 Words by: Julia Rutherford

Ōtautahi Christchurch is leading the way on this front and we know that in and amongst the comings and goings of our everyday lives, it’s important to take the time to rest and recover. For some this may look like active relaxation, getting out into nature and exercising, while for others a luxurious massage or enjoying nourishing food might be the key to easing the stress levels and unwinding. Throughout the garden city and its surroundings, there are many options to take a ‘treat yourself’ moment and indulge a bit.  

So take a dose of wholesome cooking, a pinch of the great outdoors and green space and add in a whole lot of pampering and you’ve got yourself the key ingredients for enjoying a relaxing wellness weekend in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Interior image of the colourful Barefoot eatery.

Eating well to be well

One of the best ways to nourish your mind and body is through food, and throughout Ōtautahi Christchurch we are spoiled for choice when it comes to eating well. Of course, there are always a few spots that are top of mind when it comes to marrying wellbeing and eating out. Barefoot Eatery (in The Welder) heroes local produce, with a strong focus on fresh juices alongside a food menu featuring everything from acai bowls to waffles and burgers. In Sydenham, Grater Goods is a vegan deli (yes you read that correctly) with the goal of introducing more people to sustainable eating and to the idea of flexitarianism. Heading to the other side of town, in St Albans, you’ll find The Origin, a calm but bustling cafe with a vegetarian menu that delivers on flavour and will satiate even the most ardent of meat eaters.

Embrace your inner dancing queen

265 Gloucester St

Dancing is proven to be good for the soul, whether this is scientific or anecdotal is neither here nor there, and the most important takeaway is to get yourself to the Dance-O-Mat. This coin-operated dance floor has been a treasured part of the central city for 10 years, bringing people together and encouraging everyone to get their groove on. The good folks at Gap Filler originally created the mat in response to the lack of spaces to dance following the earthquakes, and it has gone from strength to strength in the years since. There’s nothing quite like putting aside the worries of the day and having a good ol’ boogie alongside friends and strangers. Speaking of dancing your troubles away, if you feel like working up a sweat and getting in a great workout, you need to check out Retro Gym Club. Twin duo Hannah and Bridget have brought back 80s aerobics to the city and it’s quite possibly the most fun you’ll have in an exercise class!

Wander the Botanic Gardens, a jewel in the garden city’s crown

Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

No guide to a wellness weekend in Ōtautahi Christchurch would be complete without a mention of the Botanic Gardens. They are one of the city’s treasured green spaces, and it is quite easy to spend a meditative few hours wandering the many pockets and getting lost in the beauty of nature. Make sure you walk past Ilex Café and enjoy a moment of mindfulness with a coffee or treat from their very tempting cabinet.

Soak your way to happiness at He Puna Taimoana

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195 Marine Parade, New Brighton, Christchurch

Escape to these beachside saltwater hot pools and reap the benefits a good soak can provide; calm the nervous system, minimize inflammation and boost circulation. Not only are there five hot pools (all of varying temperatures), but you can also experience the cold plunge pool, steam room and sauna, all providing their own health benefits. To extend your relaxation and make the most out of the trip to New Brighton, walk along the pier and take in the views along the beach right along to the mountains.

Take a moment for some self-care and pampering

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16/42 Marriner Street, Sumner, Christchurch

Sometimes there’s no better way to unwind and relax than with a luxurious massage or facial. Luckily there’s no shortage of beauty salons and specialists in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Whether you are after a hydrating or brightening facial, a deep tissue massage or a treatment tailored to your specific needs, there’s a spot in the city that can cater for you. Our top picks include; Nicola Quinn, Lovoir Day Spa, Dee Dee Massage (inside The Arts Centre) and Renaissance.

Christchurch Adventure Park… where tranquility and adrenaline meet

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225 Worsleys Road, Cracroft, Christchurch

Found in the forest and valleys of Cashmere, there’s a recharging experience for every temperament at Christchurch Adventure Park. For the thrill seekers among you, this is your chance to experience some of the best mountain biking trails in the country and zoom around on a zipline tour. If you prefer a gentler pace, no worries, the park still has plenty to offer you. You can enjoy the walking track which might get the heart rate up a little, but you can relax and take in the scenery on a chairlift ride back down to the bottom. Make your way to the cafe, where there’s plenty of local fare to choose from, such as Underground coffee, Cassels and Sons Brewing Co beer and wines from Black Estate.

Views from on high along The Crater Rim Walkway

Head for the Port Hills, get active and enjoy spectacular views from the Crater Rim Walkway. This popular hike follows the arching rim of the extinct Lyttelton Volcano and provides scenic vistas of the city in one direction and Banks Peninsula in the other. If you’re an avid tramper and have a whole day to spare, you can tackle the entire 20km walk (and that’s just one way!) or if you just want to get the blood flowing and spend an hour or two exploring, there are many different sections you can pick from.

Take to the streets and discover the city on two wheels

8 Walker Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

It’s often said that there’s no better way to explore a city than on your own two feet. How about a twist on this concept? Grab a rental bike from Action Bicycle Club and create your own tour of Ōtautahi Christchurch. Make sure to ride by city icons like Hagley Park and the Arts Centre, and take advantage of the many dedicated cycleways. The rush of endorphins from cycling combined with the exploration of the central city, ensures both your mind and body are taken care of.

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places


An empty treatment room.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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From expert facial therapy to massages, and everything beauty and skin related in between, there’s a treatment for everyone.

Twenty Seven Steps

Customers dining inside the restaurant.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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An effortless combination of old and new, Twenty Seven Steps is a modern and sophisticated restaurant on New Regent Street.

Swoon Store

Two women browsing the shelves at Swoon Store Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Everything you need to know about this store is in the name.


Two women sitting and chatting a table inside Zeek's Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Everyone deserves a good lunch, and you’ll get a great one at Zeek’s. Fresh, fast and super tasty is the name of the game.