Things to See and Do in Christchurch New Zealand (with Kids)
With a long weekend to spare, The Urban Mum took her family across the ‘ditch’ to visit her birthplace – Christchurch, New Zealand.
The only problem she encountered was finding time; to fit in the activities, to gaze at the views, to sample the array of food & wine. A return journey has been planned…
After three hours flying – or there about – from east coast Australia, arrive in a land of fluffy green fields, a patchwork of farming country spreading from the soaring peaks of the Southern Alps to the picture perfect bays of the Banks Peninsula. Spend winter exploring the seven ski fields accessible from Christchurch, summer brings tramping (hiking), sailing, beaches and spring and autumn magnificent foliage in a kaleidoscope of season changes.
After the earthquake changed the central Christchurch landscape for ever, the city is taking robust steps to rebuild – a newer, state of the art version of the city. Find art, antiques, food, wine, family activities, golf, rugby, and that never-ending scenery. Pardon the cliche, however it really does need to be seen to be believed.
A fabulous bonus for this southern country, in summer the days extend to after 9.00pm – giving plenty of time to explore all on offer.
STAY IN CHRISTCHURCH
The majority of Christchurch accommodation is Motels – generally inclusive of kitchenette and ample parking.
Book a property close to Hagley Park, especially if you are travelling with children – walking to feed the ducks in the morning, or kick a ball around the vast fields is a favourites of our family. As much as it breaks my heart, I would suggest avoiding properties in the central area of town – for the time being it is more picturesque to stay on the fringes (Riccarton, Merivale, Fendalton, Cashmere).
For family comfort it is hard to go past Lorenzo Motor Lodge.
For boutique bed and breakfast, historic Dyers House.
For an all out Luxury Lodge experience Otahuna Lodge
For a resort situated on the edge of an award winning Golf Course Terrace Downs
VISIT CHRISTCHURCH (& surrounds)
90 minutes drive from the city centre is pretty ‘French” village Akaroa. Stunning vistas at every turn, artisan culture and an environment teaming with marine wildlife. Aquaria Harbour is the only place in the world where you can get up close and personal with New Zealand’s playful Hector’s dolphin – the world’s smallest and rarest species.
A port town with a long history; the first European settlers landed there in 1850 before making their way over the Port Hills to set up their new home. The working port (15 minutes through a tunnel from Christchurch), is now a thriving foodie and arts community.
The ‘Central Park’ of Christchurch; home to stunning seasonal flora (spring heralds fields of daffodils and blossoms). Playgrounds (kids shallow swimming pool in summer), tennis courts, croquet, running tracks, streams, ducks, golf and a superb cafe.
Take the circuit drive through Rakaia Gorge, walk one of the stunning bush tracks, lunch in Methven and return via the Waimakariri River for more water adventure. In winter, Methven is the small country town hub that services the alpine ski field – Mt Hutt.
EAT IN CHRISTCHURCH
Renowned for fresh produce – Christchurch (and surrounding Canterbury) cafes and wineries offer a vast range of great dining experiences.
A few suggestions;
ilex Botanic Gardens in Hagley Park
Dux Dine in Riccarton – a vegetarian and seafood restaurant in a cute heritage building.
Peel Forest Bar & Cafe – 10 minutes out of Methven nestled at the foot of Mt Peel, enjoy a lunch walking the hills.
The Shroom Room – Lyttleton – food so fabulous and hearty my ‘meat loving’ teen was half way through his burger before he realised it was ‘vege’
Cafe Primo e Secundo – Methven, nab a Retro treasure or two while you sip your coffee – old fabrics, silverware and other household treasures in the adjoining rooms.
ACTIVITIES IN CHRISTCHURCH
Real snow and ice, fluffy penguins, an exciting Hagglund over-snow vehicle ride. An interactive experience, located close to the International Airport (check-in a little early and walk to the centre…).
The track begins at the Victoria Park playground, easy paced walking to the Sign of the Kiwi – peer over the other side for magnificent views of Banks Peninsula.
Named for the famous kiwi children author, it’s the largest playground in the Southern Hemisphere.
Excellent for aircraft lovers (or not), brilliant exhibits, lots of interesting facts and history – and a super Cafe!
Christchurch gets it spot on with the public facilities – I loved this space as a kid, now mine love it too. Worthy of several visits (take a break in the ilex Cafe mentioned above, just along the garden path).
For bargains on fabulous quality merino and merino possum knitwear (full disclosure, my Uncle & Aunt own the business – regardless I would still shop there, it is gorgeous – tell them Monique sent you).
The kid’s and I love fossicking in vintage shops – to our delight we discovered a ‘Retro Trail’ in Christchurch.
Re:START Container Mall, shop in the colourful collection of cool shipping crate conversions for gifts, fashion, fab food, really good coffee – watch Christchurch rebuild.
Further Information on Things to See and Do in Christchurch New Zealand (with Kids)
with thanks to the various properties for use of their images in enhance my own selection…you are selling a glorious destination – we love it xoxo