48 Hours Christchurch

Entrance to Botanic Gardens.

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.

Day One

9am: Breakfast at Little Poms

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294 Kilmore Street, Christchurch Central City, 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

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2 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch Central City, 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

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312 Montreal Street, Christchurch Central City, 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

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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

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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

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249 Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch Central City, 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.

3pm: Visit Fiksate Gallery & Stroll New Regent Street

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54 Hawdon Street, Sydenham, 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

New Regent Street

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 nNo. 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

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Christchurch Central City, 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

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48 Hereford Street, Christchurch Central City, 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

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level 1/98 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central City, 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.

Overnight: Stay at The Tack Rooms

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365 Montreal Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

End the day by spending the night at The Tack Rooms, one of the city’s most innovative and unique accommodation options. Originally constructed in 1967, the two buildings are neatly tucked into the lush landscape and have had many former guises including classrooms, army barracks and art studios. Now, however, they’re an exceptional spot to rest your head and relax. 

Day 2

Shopping in the CBD

Christchurch 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 Ballantynesa lux department store that offers everything from designer handbags to amazing homewares.

11am: Coffee Break at Unknown Chapter

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254 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central City, 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

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Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central City, 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.

1pm: Lunch at Earl

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128 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central City, 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

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20-26 Welles Street, Christchurch Central City, 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

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 Tannerya chic retail hub set in a glass atriumwhere 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.

A woman and two kids eating ice cream in front of a pink wall.

4:00: Head to Sumner Village via Sumner Road

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 its charming courtyard, but really win you over with its inventive ice cream flavours.

Once you've finished your ice cream, 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

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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

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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.