We usually spend Christmas and New Year in our hometown, Brisbane however last year we decided to get away and head to New Zealand (NZ) for a change of scene. The two-week holiday was a spontaneous celebration of our 10 years together and also an opportunity to see in the new decade in an idyllic location. We spent 4 nights in Christchurch to relax and unwind before hiring a Spaceships Campervan and hitting the road for 10 nights. Many tourists pass through Christchurch, sometimes setting off in their campervan immediately after stepping off the plane. We, on the other hand, were curious to explore this quaint, garden city which has been through so much heartache following on from the Christchurch earthquake. Brisbane is a city of 2.1 million and the 3rd largest city in Australia and Christchurch is a city of 381,000 and the 3rd largest city in New Zealand.
We stayed downtown at Hotel 115 and visited the earthquake memorial, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, North Hagley Park, Avon River, the new bustling Riverside Market, New Regent Street and Mona Vale Gardens. We took a lime scooter tour around the city centre. The tram is also easy to hop on and off. Our friends, who are locals, took us on a day trip to Sumner Beach, Godley Head Walkway (where we did a one hour walk), and then onto She Universe Cafe at Governors Bay for lunch. It was an awesome day out and we were so grateful to see some brilliant scenery and sample some of the best hot chocolate ever. Another highlight during our time in Christchurch was Christmas Dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It did sell out so be sure to book in advance if you’re planning Christmas in Christchurch and would like a traditional Christmas fare menu.
The city has some stand out graffiti, great bars and restaurants and a relaxing vibe. New Regent Street is nice for good coffee and breakfast, e.g. Cafe Stir. Our friends took us to The Bunsen, which was closer to The Botanic Gardens, and gets really favourable reviews for food, service and setting. Mumbaiwala Indian Street Kitchen offers delicious Indian street food, tapas style, and we enjoyed it so much we went there twice. Other bars and restaurants we visited were Old Government Building (OGB) Bar and Cocktail Bar in the Heritage Hotel (which has won bar of the year for the last fews years running), Rockpool Bar and Casa Publica, a perfect venue for just a drink or a complete meal. Visiting Christchurch made me feel so sorry that Brisbane doesn’t still have a delightful tram service downtown too. It adds so much character to the city centre. We would recommend to anyone embarking on a NZ South Island road trip and flying into Christchurch to stop over for a night or two to relax and explore.
We have made a series of smaller videos of our wonderful trip and this one is our very first and captures some highlights of our time in Christchurch. Please be sure to check out our other videos of Mt Cook, Milford Sound, Queenstown, K-Jet boat ride, and our whole NZ road trip in it’s entirety as well. We thoroughly enjoyed the cooler temperature in the South Island, the stunning scenery and friendly locals and tourists we met along the way. We will be returning to NZ in the future to see more of the South Island and the North Island too.