Since the earthquake here in 2011, Christchurch has been a different place. Both in terms of the culture that’s developed, but also in the fact that a lot of Christchurch’s infrastructure is still damaged. Many travellers still use Christchurch as an international entry point for New Zealand, and the south island. If you’re visiting Middle Earth but need a little inspiration for what to do in Christchurch, I hope you’ll find these tips useful.

©Ewan Munro

©Ewan Munro

1) Go to Lyttelton:

This quaint, small seaside port is a little insight into how New Zealand was a few years ago. If you’ve got access to a car, you should also make the trip around to Cosair bay, a small bay that is popular for swimming during summer. There are a lot of great walks around this area, and a few within Lyttelton as well. The tunnel from Christchurch to Lyttelton is pretty old and looks quite cool. There a few delicious cafes in Lyttelton, too.

2) Walk Around the City Centre

Considering it’s almost been three years since the quake, the rebuild seems slow. I guess the property has been ensuring housing is up to scratch, before focusing on commercial buildings. In the city centre is the cardboard cathedral, opposite Latimer square, a replacement of the Christchurch cathedral that fell down in the quake. There is also a memorial to the earthquake victims opposite the church, with a white painted chair for each of the victims. Walking around the city you’ll see a lot of fallen buildings and empty lots, which allude at a city long fallen.

©Jocelyn Kinghorn

©Jocelyn Kinghorn

3) Get Some Coffee

Most New Zealanders have a thing for coffee, downing a latte, mocha or flat white to get the day started. Christchurch has a number of great cafes and many of them have only recently reopened after the quake, so it can be a good way to inject some money back into the economy while enjoying a delicious drink. I personally recommend C1 and Black Betties (both central).

4) Go to the Gardens

Called the “Garden City” Christchurch has a lot to offer those who like the outdoors, including the lovely botanical gardens. You can boat down the avon river, or if you’re so inclined, pay someone else you put you down it. There are numerous flower gardens which are beautiful as well as a fun children’s playground if you’re traveling with youngsters.

©Jocelyn Kinghorn

©Jocelyn Kinghorn

5) Go Up the Gondola

The gondola offers a unique view of Christchurch; you’ll be able to see far out over this flat city. If you go during the evening, when it’s dark, you’ll notice that Christchurch has a grid-like layout. This is a great way to see a little more of the city while providing you with some pretty awesome photo opportunities.

If you have any suggestions of great things to do while visiting Christchurch, let me know in the comments below.

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