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Christchurch In New Zealand Is A Perfectly Relaxing Holiday All-Rounder

Christchurch has experienced a pretty major revival in recent years following the devastating earthquake in 2011 that, quite literally, changed the face of the city. But if there was ever a moment to rebuild; to rise from the rubble so to speak, the post-quake period marked the city’s opportunity to shine.

Slowly but ever-so-surely, Christchurch has reinvented itself. Up popped intriguing laneways you can get lost down for hours, vibrant street art, boutique shops, charming cafes and quirky bars and restaurants among so much more. Not to mention the beautiful beaches and wineries perfect for day trips. Here’s what you should have on your itinerary for a jaunt across the ditch to Christchurch.

Ride the main street in style

 

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Get your bearings of the city by taking a tour on board one of the beautifully restored heritage trams. The knowledgeable drivers will fill you in on the city’s history, landmarks and local sights. A day-long ticket allows you to hop on and off as often as you fancy, which will be a lot considering the tram journeys past all the hotspots: the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Cathedral Square, the Avon River, the Gothic-style Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum and the beautiful New Regent Street complete with pretty pastel shop façades.

Browse the selection of boutique clothing stores, or stop for a gelato or coffee in one of the charming cafes that line the street.

Explore hidden laneways

Those who dare to wander will discover a scattering of laneways opening up to spacious and light-filled courtyards. Hidden pockets reveal more Christchurch and provide intimate spaces for a bite to eat, coffee, or something stronger.

 

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Fairy lights sparkle above the courtyard of the Lichfield Lanes, home to Black and White Coffee Cartel, which roasts its beans onsite. Fashion meets food at The Crossing: the precinct that’s brought a world-class shopping experience to the city. Head to nearby Stranges Lane and enjoy regular live music and DJ sets that fill the courtyard with electrifying tunes. Order a cocktail from Strange & Co’s menu to top off a perfect day exploring.

Eat and drink yourself silly

Christchurch’s lively social scene caters to all taste buds whether it’s a darn good coffee, fresh artisan produce from a weekend farmers’ market, a dessert to die for, or a well-crafted cocktail.

 

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C1 Espresso serves sliders and curly fries through pneumatic tubes running across the ceiling, making for a fun and animated dining experience, while Sweet Soul Patisserie will have you struggling to choose just one dessert (although we totally won’t judge if you devour more.)

After dark, head to Kong – the city’s premiere cocktail lounge and taste a few of the delicious creations from the menu including the South Island Iced Tea – a playful, Kiwi take on its sister from Long Island.

See from a different perspective

 

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Float along the idyllic Avon River on board a handcrafted boat propelled by a punter donning traditional Edwardian attire. Enjoy sightseeing at a slower pace and take in the tranquil sights that the ‘Garden City’ is famous for.

The beauty of low-hanging trees along the riverbanks changes with every season, from pink blossoms in springtime to burnt-orange foliage in autumn. Disembark at the historic green and white stripped Antigua Boat Sheds and sit out on the deck with a stack of pancakes for breakfast from the Boat Shed Café.

Journey down the coast

A 90-minute drive from Christchurch leads to Akaroa, a not-to-be-missed seaside township with a charming French twist. Lining the French-named streets are historic houses, boutique shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants that reflect the area’s history as a former French settlement.

 

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Other highlights to be discovered at the end of a short excursion out of the city include Lyttelton, Port Hills, Banks Peninsula and Sumner. Each spot offers stunning coastal hikes and magical vantage points so pack a picnic and enjoy a mesmerising sunrise or sunset. Cool off in a quiet bay during summer or rug up warm and brave the wild, winter elements.

Taste-test the local vino

 

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The Waipara Region is under an hour’s drive north of Christchurch and home to more than 80 wineries producing some of the world’s best vino. Now, that’s worth toasting to!

Consider a day trip to taste your way around a selection of wineries including Waipara Springs, Pegasus Bay, Black Estate, Greystone Wines and Terrace Edge Wines. There are several ways to get around whether by bicycle or as part of a guided food and wine tour.

(Lead image: Nigel Spiers / Shutterstock)