How to Survive a Hot Summer’s Day in Christchurch

Exterior shot of the historic Arts Centre and Frances Nation Cafe in Christchurch on a hot summer's day

Is it getting hot in here or has El Niño finally come to town? While sticking your head in the freezer all day may be a tempting solution, we’ve got some slightly more interesting ideas that don’t involve frozen peas. 

From finding the best ice cream spots to soaking in ice baths to whizzing through the sky, here’s your guide to enjoying peak summer days out and about in Christchurch – without melting into a puddle.

Have an ice day

When the heat wave fatigue hits, you’ll no doubt be in need of some caffeine to keep you going. Start the morning in a shady spot at one of your favourite cafés and switch out your usual coffee order for a cold brew. We’ve even put together a complete guide on where to find the best iced drinks in Christchurch, featuring C4 Coffee, Doubles, The Lil' Brew Espresso Bar and a bunch more.

As the day goes on and the temps continue to rise, only a scoop of gelato or a swirl of real fruit ice cream will do. From Utopia Ice and Gelato Lab to Frances Nation Cafe and Saturdays, make the most of ice cream weather at these top parlours.

Take the plunge

Cold drinks and ice cream scoops just not cutting it? For a full-body refresh, make your way out to He Puna Taimoana in New Brighton for a dip in their plunge pool. Measuring in at 8-10°C, this blissful arctic moment also comes with therapeutic benefits for your muscles and joints.

If you want to take things one step further and channel the craft beers in your chilly bin, book an appointment at O Studio for their sauna and ice bath contrast therapy. As well as providing relief from the spicy elements, your mind and body will thank you.

Feel the wind in your hair

For those seeking new adventures this summer, there’s plenty of places to get your thrills without breaking a sweat. Over at Bexley Reserve, Velocity Karts offers the chance to spin and slide around the racetrack on wind-powered blokarts and driftkarts. 

Alternatively, a gravity-defying experience awaits at Christchurch Adventure Park. Set in the Port Hills, this adventure hub boasts the highest zipline where you can take in panoramic views overlooking the city, bays, lakes and alps – all while speeding along at up to 100km/h.

Exterior of Christchurch Art Gallery with Everything is Going to Be Alright Installation

Air-conditioned culture

If you’re still getting a little sticky in the shade, it may be time to head indoors. Luckily there’s lots to see inside the walls of Christchurch’s finest cultural establishments – with the added benefit of air conditioning. Take in the latest masterpieces at art galleries all around the city, whether you’re in the mood for internationally acclaimed sculptures, urban graffiti or contemporary installations. Art can be thirsty work, so here’s where to grab a drink afterwards.

Movie buffs will need no excuse to escape into a cool, dark theatre to catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster or arthouse film. Lumiere at The Arts Centre, Alice and Deluxe Cinemas at The Tannery are just a few of our favourite independent cinemas.

Sushi presented on a fish-shaped plate next to a small bowl of soy sauce at Cookai Gold in Christchurch

Control your tempura

Dinnertime decisions become a little tricky when the weather hits the high 20s. A bowl of pho? Better not. Spicy lamb madras? That’s crazy talk. Before you start thinking it’s too hot to eat altogether, allow us to point you in the direction of the best Japanese restaurants that’ll keep you cool as a cucumber. Head to Tomi Japanese Restaurant or Kinji for fresh seafood and sashimi, Cookai for sushi train fun, or Ramen Ria for zaru soba (cold noodles for dipping into a delicious chilled broth). Pair your meal with an ice-cold Asahi for maximum enjoyment.