Christchurch the broken city, bounces back, slowly
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. Christchurch’s energy is evident wherever you go. The city is slowly bouncing back after the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 with innovative new attractions, as well as some old favourites. It is a hub of arts, culture and food and a gateway to the South Island and all that it has to offer.
Where to stay
There are plenty of options in Christchurch for where to rest your head, such as Hotel 115, a contemporary boutique hotel located in the heart of the city. This quirky, colourful stay is inspired by European aesthetics and each room adopts a slightly different look as well as featuring local art. However, if staying in the centre of town is not your thing, then head on over to booking.com and search there.
Get out on the water
Punting on the beautiful Avon River is an iconic Christchurch attraction that is not to be missed. Summer or winter, glide along the tranquil river as a skilled punter in traditional Edwardian attire propels you slowly through the water. You’ll have views of weeping willows, woodlands and the leafy banks of North Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens, and you’ll see why they call Christchurch The Garden City. Here is a link to other attractions you might find handy once you are in the city.
RE:START Container Park
The Re:START Container mall was born from the need to breathe new life into the central city following the devastating earthquake in 2011. Created by the Christchurch Property and Building Owners group, it was built to encourage people to come back into the CBD. The Re:Start Container mall has more than 50 stores as well as markets, street performers and buskers. The colourful shipping container conversions are a lively spot in town where you will find both tourists and locals alike, enjoying lunch from one of the many food stalls and shopping from local vendors.
Now, let’s talk food. The city has a bunch of cool, quirky options as well as cheap eats and really great coffee. Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar on Poplar Lane is the talk of the town. They started with researching what it took to make the world’s best dumplings by travelling to Michelin Star restaurant Din Tai Fung and Shanghai, and then found their very own “dumpling master” to join their team after having run his own dumpling bar in Shanghai for 30 years. Chinese dumpling masters work behind a glass wall in the restaurant experimenting with new flavours and obsessing about the freshness and quality of the dumplings they produce.
After its original home was destroyed in the earthquake, the team at C1 Espresso rebuilt their business and have created a place which can only be described as original, creative, inspiring and an absolute must visit if you are in Christchurch. C1 is a hive of activity, serving breakfast through to dinner with an eclectic, retro vibe that is also somewhat futuristic. During the evening you can order sliders and fries, which are delivered through a pneumatic tube system in the ceiling! That’s right, your meals literally come flying above you and down a tube to the table through tubes that have been specially designed and installed. C1 also owns a tea company and the extensive tea flavours come served with two portions, one to enjoy at the cafe and one to take home with you.