Christchurch was definitely an adjustment after spending several days in the most beautiful parts of New Zealand. I say that because I’m not much of a city girl and this city is different from most.
In 2011 Christchurch suffered a massive earthquake which destroyed buildings and took many lives, leaving most the city in a state of rebuilding.
However, so much of what has been rebuilt is beautiful and speaks of a bright future in spite of its painful past. It was definitely a neat experience to explore downtown, we only wish we had more time to do some hiking on the outskirts of the city.
Steve and I only had one day to explore Christchurch so this post will highlight what we did and what we recommend. I hope it will give you some ideas if you have plans to visit.
(Heartland Cotswold Hotel)
There are many places to stay right in the city but if you are looking to save some money or just prefer a quieter place to lay your head, I recommend staying at the Heartland Hotel Cotswold.
One of the charms of the Heartland Hotel is its unique layout and design. If you prefer modern accommodations, you might not enjoy a stay here. Although they do have modern amenities, the entire estate is fashioned after the Tudor era.
Out of all the motels we stayed in, this one was the most spacious. It was probably the quietest, too. Also, the toiletries were probably the best we had while in New Zealand.
The adjoining restaurant (also keeping with the theme) served a nice buffet breakfast that we thoroughly enjoyed before our visit downtown.
The Container Mall was a neat place to visit (more on that in a minute) but the highlight was definitely the little place we ordered lunch.
Steve and I still talk about how good that pizza was. It fed both of us nicely which saved us money and the guy pictured below was just awesome. He found out we were from the states and talked to us a bit about how much he would like to visit.
HIGHLY recommend Woodfired Pizza!
Steve was very excited to take me here. He heard it was this little hole-in-the-wall, quiet joint that served awesome food. The only thing the review got right was the awesome food. haha
After a long day of walking in the wind, the last thing I wanted to do was enter a packed restaurant whose average customer was dressed better than my casual and wind-blown self. But, walking in, that was what we were faced with.
The attendant was more than gracious, however, and found a place to set us up even though there weren’t any available tables. We didn’t have a waitress assigned to us so the attendant took care of us, himself. I felt super self-conscious but not willing to deflate Steve’s bubble, I endured. haha
I’m glad I did because I ordered some Pumpkin Ravioli that was simply incredible!
If you are looking for a restaurant that serves great food, you need to try this one. I recommend, however, getting a reservation.
Also, know that they are usually packed so it will not be a quiet place to enjoy your food. It was pretty loud but so worth it.
If you like city life, you will enjoy Christchurch. It has beautiful architecture and art is everywhere.
I hesitate to add this one as they are starting to do away with it, sadly. I was quite disappointed, as the Container Mall is such an incredible part of Christchurch’s rebuilding story but leases are up and the businesses need to move on to more permanent dwellings.
The story goes that after the earthquake, these shipping containers were sent in with supplies that were eventually left empty. Business owners who lost their storefronts created mini-stores from the leftover containers and the Container Mall was created.
If you are visiting anytime soon, make sure you stop by to see it. It really is amazing what one can do with a little ingenuity.
Steve had this museum on his list of things to do and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! We didn’t realize they closed earlier in the day so we got there 30 mins before closing and had to rush through. I would have liked to have seen all the exhibits and taken our time but we still saw a great deal in the time we had.
The staff was super friendly and you could tell they were passionate about their museum. I would be, too, it was probably one of the nicest we’ve been through.
Thankfully, when the museum closed, we were able to head right next door to the gardens. It was a beautiful, Spring day when we went so everything was much prettier than I expected.
I highly recommend taking a stroll through the gardens!
(Canterbury Earthquake Memorial)
A sobering place to see, but one I think is important. A really beautiful tribute to their fallen, I highly recommend taking some time to visit.
(Margaret Mahy Family Playground)
This little city gem was on Steve’s radar the moment he heard of it. haha It really would have been great fun to run off some steam at this playground but I was pretty exhausted from all the walking we did.
Steve, however, took full advantage!
Other than food and lodging, all the activities we did were free. There is plenty to see and do in Christchurch, paid or free, so it’s worth the visit.
Here’s a video of some highlights of our day in Christchurch:
If you are visiting New Zealand, don’t forget to check out my other posts for some tips and ideas!