How to Spend an Afternoon in New Brighton

Pierside building sign in New Brighton.

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside (in New Brighton) and here's a whole bunch of reasons why.

Words by: Kelly Tapper

Photography by: Neat Places, Ben M & Vivian Wong. 

Bygone days of seaside prosperity linger in the eastern suburb of New Brighton, but don’t be surprised if you fall for its current scruffy charm. With newly emerging hospitality, He Puna Taimoana hot pools and eighteen kilometres of sandy coastline, New Brighton has a distinctive appeal. We’ve put together a guide for spending a captivating afternoon by the sea.

Lunch at Saturdays

Cafes key icon.

195 Marine Parade, New Brighton, Christchurch

Adjacent to He Puna Taimoana is Saturdays. Start your visit to New Brighton here. Eye-catchingly decked out in pastel hues, the place is as stylish as it is tasty. A patron friendly Eat All Day menu means you can choose your kai depending on your mood. Whatever you decide, a delicious meal with local and seasonal produce will ensue. The Saturdays’ bene is a firm favourite.

Seaside Vintage & Menage A Trois

New Brighton

If rummaging for hidden treasures is up your alley, head to Seaside Vintage and Menage A Trois for your second-hand fix. Wall to wall vintage curios can be found – everything from clothing to homewares, furniture to jewellery and plenty more. Those willing to take on the search will be rewarded handsomely. Just be prepared to get lost in a sea of collectables. Word to the wise, check their social media ahead of time to make sure they are open.

Image by KimsCollections NZ on Instagram. 

Coffee at Switch

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7/78 Brighton Mall, New Brighton, Christchurch

Once you’ve sourced some goodies, you’ll surely be parched. Find a table at the local haunt, Switch New Brighton, and await your quality coffee. There’s also the chance to try a delicious cold brew made using the Switch Espresso roasted beans. If the sun is shining, make use of the outdoor seating or find a quiet nook and watch the happenings of life unfold in front of you.

Walk Along New Brighton Pier

Brighton Mall, New Brighton

Now’s the time to meander down the longest pier in Australasia and breathe in some of that salty sea air. Stepping out onto the 300 meter-long pier is an age-old pastime that is still enjoyed by lots of folk today. Every trip down the pier will differ, depending on the cohort of colourful characters joining you on the journey. But equally, the season, the swell and, of course, the way the wind blows. Meteorology aside, this is a quintessential New Brighton box that needs ticking. You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some whales.

Image by Vivian Wong.

He Puna Taimoana

195 Marine Parade, New Brighton

Reputation precedes He Puna Taimoana for good reason. The hot pools in New Brighton are fast becoming a must-do activity for locals and visitors to Christchurch. There are five luxurious hot pools to choose from, plunge pool, steam room and a sauna with beachside views (sounds rubbish, right?). Sit back, relax and revel in those ocean views to complete the experience. Hot tip: if you live in the Christchurch City District you can apply for a Christchurch Resident Card to receive a discount on every visit to He Puna Taimoana.

The Burger Joint

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78 Brighton Mall, New Brighton, Christchurch

After your dip, it's time to conclude your trip to New Brighton with supper at The Burger Joint. With humble beginnings as a food truck serving flavourful burger creations, locals Sam Kubiak and Caroline Riley, have found a permanent home on Carnaby Lane. Their ethos is simple; Real Food, Real Local. So order a couple of burgers (best enjoyed with a pint of locally brewed Southpaw Beer), loaded fries and soak up the laid back vibes while you ruminate over your next visit to the seaside.

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Recycle Boutique Christchurch

Staff picks rack.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Recycle Boutique challenges the status quo as one part designer boutique, one part second hand shop and one part sustainable shopping option.


Eating oats with poached pear.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Saturdays is a celebration of not just the weekend, but every day. It’s an ode to what saturdays stand for: slowing down, enjoying one another and pairing it all with excellent food and drink.


The exterior and entrance to the PLUME clothing store in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Makes a strong case for the enduring value of a bespoke and compelling retail experience.

Ally & Sid

Customers sitting at tables inside a sunny cafe.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Cafes key icon.

Everything about Ally & Sid is inviting - a breezy spot for excellent coffee, tasty cabinet fare and a big side of sunshine.