8 Unexpected Things To Do in Christchurch

Someone zip-lining at Christchurch Adventure Park in the Port Hills, Christchurch.

Take the lesser known track and try our list of unexpected places to visit in Christchurch.

Word by: Kelly Tapper

Photography by: Neat Places & Supplied

We’ve all been guilty of repeat visits to our favourite places and yet, if you scratch the surface, there are a bunch of incredible experiences to have in Christchurch that are truly unexpected. If you’ve lived in the city for years, are planning a visit, or recently moved to the hood, we recommend scoping out some of these hidden gems.

Float Away at Cloud 9 Float Club

Ever dreamt of floating away on cloud 9? You pretty much can at Cloud 9 Float Club in Christchurch. The Float Club is home to 4 state-of-the-art flotation pods, each containing 500 kilos of dissolved high quality Epsom Salt to create the ultimate weightless experience. Backed by science, flotation therapy can help tripwire anxious thoughts, alleviate aches and pains, improve sleep and even harness creativity. If you’re looking for a new well being fix, this could be it. 

Immerse Yourself in the Women's Suffrage Movement

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83 Clyde Road, Ilam, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

You can now walk in the footsteps of the celebrated leader of the New Zealand women’s suffrage movement, Kate Sheppard, at her whare (house) in Ilam, Christchurch. The historical villa sits proudly in established grounds, and has been immaculately preserved after careful renovations by Heritage New Zealand. The museum is filled with clothing, artefacts and letters all pertaining to Kate’s past, offering insightful glimpses into the history of women’s rights. If only the walls could speak…

Insider tip: book one of the guided tours to get the most out of your visit (tickets need to be booked in advance).

Close up of a hand picking an apple.

Foraging in the Red Zone

Red Zone, Christchurch

Foraging continues to grow in popularity and that’s no truer than in Christchurch. If you’ve ever been curious about foraging for your own food, the red zone is a marvellous starting point. Foraging is not to be taken lightly requiring patience, learning and time in the field (literally AND figuratively speaking!). Ōtautahi Urban Foraging Facebook group is a self-proclaimed “treasure map for the city” serving up information about foraging in Christchurch and an excellent place to start before venturing out.  

Take a Dance Class at Movement Art Practice

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76 Hawdon Street in Sydenham, Ōtautahi Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Add some dance to your day, week or month with a trip to Movement Art Practice in Sydenham. The petite studio runs three adult classes and two kids classes a week, varying from the complete beginner (who wants to add movement and alignment to their day) to the seasoned professional. Artistry, interpretation and the joy of discovery is celebrated in all forms. Time to dig out your leggings and get moving!

Group of people watch a cooking demonstration at Riverside Kitchen.

Cook Up a Storm at Riverside Kitchen

40/100 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Riverside Kitchen is an all-singing all-dancing cooking school perched above the popular Riverside Market. Found on the first floor you may have not even realised it is there. The cooking school is designed to help you brush up on your culinary skills and knowledge with a spectrum of classes to cater for the complete novice right through to experienced home cooks. You’ll get the chance to watch the masters at work and then have a go at making your own dishes, with the added bonus of sampling the goods at the end of class (complete with wine pairings!).

Take in the Views by Zipline

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225 Worsleys Road, Cracroft, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Christchurch Adventure Park isn’t completely unexpected but nonetheless it is an unexpected treat. At Christchurch Adventure Park you’re invited to traverse the port hills on bicycle or foot, and if you make it to the top, you can either zoom down via mountain bike trails, zipline or chair lift (OK, less zooming more meandering on the latter). Ōtautahi residents can count themselves lucky to have such a seemingly remote 358 hectare park just a short distance away from the city, and you may be surprised to learn that if you walk to the top you can access a free chair lift ride down. Take a load off and enjoy the views!

Embrace Holistic Wellbeing at O-Studio

Located upstairs at The Welder, O-Studio is one of those unexpected discoveries, and so much more than your average yoga studio. It would be remiss to think any less. The space has been faultlessly designed to maximise your visit and encourages visitors to embrace a holistic wellness experience. With meditation classes, sauna, massages and more, O Studio is anything but basic in fact it is a restorative haven begging for your attention. It certainly captured ours.

Afghan food on a plate.

Try a New Cuisine at The Afghan Restuarant

316 Lincoln Road, Addington, Christchurch

Authentic Middle Eastern flavours. Tick. Sporadic opening times. Tick. No menus. Tick. The Afghan Restaurant in Addington is anything but conventional, but has gained a worthy reputation of plating up consistently tasty food. So much so, there is a dedicated Facebook page keeping tabs on whether they are open, ingeniously coined “Is the AFG Open”. The service is friendly but no nonsense; you’ll quickly understand that the food is the hero. All you need to do is tell them how many people are in your party, then watch alchemy happen; flaming skewers, ladles of curry, soft rice and salad will be prepared. You just have to go see for yourself (but check they're open first!).

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Moon Under Water

Exterior of Moon Under Water, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Moon Under Water features all the best aspects of a classic pub that's up with the times when it comes to great brews, food and service.

Foundation Café

Two people eating at a table in front of a window.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Foundation is fully licensed, serving up flavoursome fare seamlessly integrated into Otautahi’s world-class library, Tūranga.

Miro

Three dishes of food on a table at Miro in the old Caffe Roma building in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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A stylish and cosy spot for breakfast, lunch or brunch, any day of the week.

Uncommon

A wide view of colourful clothes on racks inside Uncommon store.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Championing slow fashion, unique designs and clever craftsmanship, Uncommon is known for its beautifully curated selection of contemporary womenswear.