Christchurch & Surrounds: Top Picks (Part 1!)

Since moving to Christchurch 5 months ago, I have been inundated with friends and family exclaiming ‘I want to go toooooo!!’. To honour this excitement, I have prepared a list of some the things we lurve to do in and near Christchurch. In Part 2, I will cover our favourite places within a 2h drive so stay tooned! You can also read about our previous adventures around the South Island and what NOT to miss here.

Christchurch and close surrounds

  1. Coffee! For some, the most important nectar required to start the day. For me, the most delicious nectar I have been able to find. You will find a whole HEAP of good coffee places scattered all over the city. There definitely isn’t a ‘this area has all the coffee shops’ in Christchurch. They are literally hidden in old buildings, stand alone scandi-looking shacks or, as my most favourite is, snuggled in the heart of industrial Christchurch in what once was an old warehouse. Meet The Anchorage. This place excels at coffee. The team are passionate and easily make you feel like you have known them for ever. They know more about coffee than my shallow mind ever imagined.  And they seem to have perfected their ‘coffee dance’: the seemingly flawless way they work together and around each other. They roast and serve their own coffee beans @sailorsson. Read more about the owner, Ed, here.
  2. Orton Bradley Park. A mere 30 minute magnificent drive from Christchurch leads you to this gorgeous place, situated in the midst of the majestic Banks Peninsular. A late summer discovery and a lush one at that. Sip on your steaming morning coffee in the grounds of the wee charming cafe nestled among tons of sweet scented flowers (and buy your raw organic milk here too!), before heading up into the hills to amble on one of the many trails. (Note: You have to pay a small park fee to hike here).
  3. Hike Mitchells Track (about 1h return & only about a 20 min drive from the centre of Christchurch) and be rewarded with astounding views out towards the plains of Christchurch one way and Banks Peninsular the other. Grab a coffee in the perfectly located ‘Sign of the Kiwi’ cafe, just across the road, on your return.

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    Views from Mitchells Track
  4. Farmers Markets. Saturday and Sunday mornings are buzzing between 9 – 12/1pm in many areas of Christchurch as the weekly farmers markets start trading. Every market has something different to offer – all three feature an exotic range of homemade, local, organic products, among so many other things. Sip on your morning coffee whilst listening to the live music, your bag bulging with fresh produce. How romantic! My favourite three so far are the Opawa Farmers Market(9 – 12pm on Sundays), Lyttelton Farmers Market (10 – 1pm on Saturdays) and the Christchurch Farmers Market (9 – 1pm Saturdays). During the summer at the Christchurch Farmers Market, you can participate in yoga under the trees beside the market from 8 – 9am ($10 and b.y.o mat) with the lush Sophie (more info here).
  5. The Little High. One of the newer and more funky places to eat in Christchurch. Home to eight local businesses, this place is characterised by the communal eating spaces both inside and out, good vibes, and smells that make the belly start shimmying. Nom nom nom.
  6. Sumner Beach. Located about 20 min from the centre of Christchurch is this cute seaside town. Take a long walk on the gorgeous beach and end up at this luscious tiny ice cream shop known as Utopia Ice. One of the most incredible places I have ever been! With passion fruit trees, strawberries and numerous other fruits and herbs growing in their colourful garden out the front, you will find combinations of things like roasted chesnut, pinot and pearl ice cream alongside other delicious combos like spiced blackboy peach and dark chocolate with marlborough sea salt. Small batch icecream. Made from scratch. With a lot of love.
  7. Godley Head. Drive 10 minutes further on from Sumner Beach and you will end up at Taylors Mistake, a small yet beautiful beach where you can start the Godley Head walk (about a 3h circuit). WOW! A little up and down in places (for those of you with sore bits!) but otherwise a perfect place for a breathtaking stroll. IMG_0798
  8. Hike the coastal cliffs walkway (starting from Diamond Harbour). We are continually surprised over how few people are on these wickedly gorgeous trails. There are lots of variations for this trail, dependent on how long you want to walk. Appreciate the silence from traffic and humankind, and listen to the crazy birdsong and the sound of the wind in the trees.
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    Colourful boats at Purau Bay

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    View towards Purau Bay from the trail
  9. The Botanical GardensAs with so many loved Botanical Gardens around the world, this place is filled with exotic species, smells and colours and is just a heavenly place to wander. (Tip: park for 2h free of charge!)
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    Strolling through the glorious Autumn colours in the Botanical Gardens

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    The divine Rose Garden
  10. Google maps. The list of my most loved places in Christchurch is pretty endless and I can’t do them justice in this blog! So… I have saved some of them on google maps so you can wander through and explore for yourself.

 

Happy exploring!

-E

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