New Brighton Good Life Guide: Elisha Blogg

A woman and child standing amongst a log playground.

Elisha Blogg grew up in pre-quake Christchurch before taking off overseas for nearly ten years. When she was pregnant with their first child, Elisha and her partner Mike moved to Christchurch to be closer to the much-appreciated support of her folks, and landed in New Brighton in 2018. Six years, two tiny humans, one very needy black cat and their second New Brighton home later, they have immersed themselves into the culture and community. They cannot imagine living in any other part of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

We chatted to Elisha about her favourite experiences in New Brighton and what makes it special.

A woman wearing black smiling to camera.

It’s great living so close to the amazing stretch of beach where we can walk rain or shine, and sometimes feel like the only ones around on the sand. We rarely use our car when venturing around the neighbourhood. I love wandering the streets on foot, being nosey about the incredible mix of homes and buildings, and imagining the stories of those who occupy them—some who have resided here for their entire lives.

I have just returned from maternity leave to my role as director of Life in Vacant Spaces (LiVS). Within this role, I have dreamt many times of the possibility of filling the multiple vacant buildings here in New Brighton with exciting temporary projects. However, I have had a lack of luck with many landlords. I believe New Brighton has the potential to shine, and the amount of passion this community has will not cease. Once you delve into the cracks of New Brighton, you find an incredible array of treasures that ooze with passion and meet the colourful people behind them.

A wooden playground.

Rawhiti Woodlands Playground

This place is such a wonderland for kids. We often take our daughter and her friends here; they have fun exploring through this playground in the forest. Members of the community are often working here to add new parts to the space (including plans for a Pirate Ship), and it’s ever-evolving. There is a tonne of shade for hot days and multiple places to sit and have picnics. In the Spring, the small blossom trees are filled with Monarch butterflies, which are so beautiful to watch. Such a fantastic space and we often find we are the only ones there!

The sandy dunes of New Brighton beach.

Hidden spots amongst the dunes

Since our son Ned was born, we haven’t done this enough. Walking along the dune track can basically take you all the way along the huge stretch of beach. There are many paths to follow to areas where you can perch up with a flask of hot tea, sheltered out of the wind. We get pleasure sitting nestled in there and watching people on the beach walking in and out of the frame of the tussocks. You just need to stick to paths as much as possible to ensure the incredible dunes have the best luck of surviving. 

A view of a wetland on a sunny day.

Walking the Wetlands

I love going for a walk or run around Ōruapaeroa-Travis Wetland. The path takes you on gravel as well as a stretch of boardwalk, and you feel like you are far away from civilisation while looking across the wetlands and going to the hills. We often bring the kids down there and try to get the eerie eels to surface from the water and enjoy (or not enjoy) an encounter with a giant swan. 

North Beach Coffee Shed

The fabulous team is in their wee coffee shed 365 days a year, rain, hail or shine, serving the best brews. This simple coffee shed is such an integral part of many people’s daily routines and a fantastic community gathering spot. Always served with a good natter and a smile, I love to grab a coffee, pat a selection of dogs and enjoy watching the waves at the beach—such a great community vibe. 

Dune Cafe, South Brighton

Cafes key icon.

51 Bridge Street, New Brighton, Christchurch

Located at The Bridge Hub South Brighton is Dune Cafe. This place is often packed with locals and others enjoying a brew and the tasty treats of the kitchen. Beautiful cakes and other sweet treats displayed on the countertop are baked daily and often all gone by lunchtime. The crew is super lovely, and it has a nice fenced-in courtyard out front where you can safely let your little ones play while you enjoy the sunshine. You can also check out the art and regular events happening right next door in the hall at The Bridge Hub. 

A view of the New Brighton pier from inside the New Brighton library.

New Brighton Library

I love that we have a library that looks out to the surf! This is such an excellent free resource for anyone who chooses to use it to read, work, or just ponder life. I remember spending time in this library with extra study help as a teenager, and I love it now when I get the opportunity to set up my laptop there and work or bring my kids to choose books while I gaze out to the ocean. 

A large blue hydroslide outside a pool on a sunny day.

Taiora QEII

We are lucky that Taiora QEII is over our back fence. I am even more fortunate that I often get a Saturday lie-in, and my partner takes the kids to the pool! There is a wonderful kids' space as well as a lane pool, hydrotherapy pool, and spa for adults, and the gym looks out over the hills, which, when I was a member, helped get me there. We also like that the grass area has been used for multiple outdoor gigs over the summer, including an incredible night watching Groove Armada, an awesome alternative to Hagley Park.

The exterior of a restaurant in New Brighton.

Chanakya South Indian Cuisine

Shop 5, 68 Brighton Mall, Hawke Street, New Brighton

We discovered this tiny Indian restaurant way back when we first landed in New Brighton, and swear it’s the best in Ōtautahi. The flavours of every dish we have tried are incredible, and the garlic paratha is the best to soak it all up. Always greeted by the gorgeous family that owns this place, we can’t recommend it highly enough and love that it is a hidden gem within the Surfside Mall. 

A footpath in a forest.

Bottle Lake Forest

This is a place where you can immerse yourself in the tall trees to feel completely isolated. I enjoy walking through the trees and out to the beach to meet up with the coastal pathway. Our daughter, Nara, also likes visiting the ever-growing fairy house village and checking all the doors. 

Kites flying in a bright blue sky.

New Brighton Events

New Brighton is chocka full with a calendar of events throughout the year, which is great for us when you don’t have to travel far at all. Kite Day, Matariki, Duke Festival, Good Vibes Mākete, the Coast to Coast, several great wee events on Carnaby Lane throughout the year, live music events at QE2…. and we even have our own New Brighton Pirates and Fairies running regular events for the kids which tops off the incredible quirk of the east! 

A person biking on a pier on a cloudy day.

Ōtākaro Avon River track

We often bike from our place down to the Ōtākaro at the end of Bower Ave and onto the river track. From here, you can bike all the way along the edge of the estuary and then to the pier and the Pleasant Point Yacht Club. We have just started putting Ned in the bike trailer with his big sister, and he loves it, so we will be doing this ride a lot more frequently again soon. 


Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Brew Academy

A person in a white t-shirt sprinkling baking soda into a brewing canister.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Stay and explore key icon.

Brew Academy gives you the chance to learn to brew, grab a pint from their tap room, and get a mean feed from Smoke ’n’ Barrel, who operate out of the same premises. There’s a lot on offer at Brew Academy, and good beer ties it all together.

Grater Goods

Two woman dining at Grater Goods in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Cafes key icon. Goods key icon.

Found in an old glass factory in Sydenham’s industrial blocks, you'll find everything from sausages to bacon and steak - just the more humane and sustainable kind.

The National

Someone looking at unique jewellery pieces on display.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Fashion key icon. Galleries and museum key icon.

The National has been at the forefront of the contemporary art scene in Christchurch for over a decade.

Movementor Pilates

An empty pilates studio.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Stay and explore key icon. Wellbeing key icon.

Movementor is a well-known Pilates studio situated within the Beckenham hub at the corner of Christchurch’s Colombo and Tennyson Streets.