The Ultimate Christchurch Walking Tour
We're lucky to have two hostels smack bang in the middle of the most walkable city in New Zealand. We also think a good walk is the best way to explore it! Fancy that.
There are lots of little gems to discover in Christchurch but it can be hard to know where to start. We've put together this beginner's guide to give you a good feel for the city, with plenty of time for snacking and snapping photos along the way.
Take a water bottle, maybe a camera, and a bit of an appetite for sampling local cuisine. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the awesome street art! You can start or finish the loop anywhere you like.
a) New Regent Street
Spanish Mission style architecture makes this pedestrian street quaint and atmospheric. Check out:
- the giant ballerina mural at the northern end behind The Piano building
- Mrs Higgins Cookies - one is never enough
- Rollicking Gelato - again, one is never enough!
- The Last Word whisky bar
- South American food, good atmosphere and drinks at Casa Publica
- The Isaac Theatre Royal just past the southern end
b) Cathedral Square
The Cathedral (still in it’s dilapidated state and worthy of contemplation) is sometimes offset by an array of food trucks, particularly during the weekends. There's also a giant chess set if you fancy a game. From here you can stroll down Hereford St for a number of food options and a bar or two.
c) Oxford Terrace + Avon
The newly widened riverbank and developments along it are relatively recent additions to the city. Oxford Terrace pre-quake was a lively hub for after-work drinks and restauranteurs, and is reopening gradually to a wave of eager patrons. Detour south along the riverfront past the Bridge of Remembrance to the official memorial for the victims of the 2012 earthquake.
d) Cashel Street
A walk along Cashel reveals a number of new developments. The BNZ Centre has honoured the laneways of pre-quake Christchurch - detour into Scorpio Books if you're a literature fiend. Cross over Colombo and the ANZ Centre houses a cafe featuring a giant white indoor tree among shops and offices. There are plenty of little laneways here to distract you with a great mix of small boutiques and well-known brands.
e) High Street
This stretch provides insight into some of the demolition sites still awaiting development, and therefore a snapshot of what life has been like for Cantabrians for some time. Great food and beverage options abound including Little High Eatery (our personal fave), Strange's Lane, Smash Palace, C1, Dux Central, Potsticker Dumpling Bar... you get the idea!
f) Cardboard Cathedral + earthquake memorial sites
These unique and moving sites have been hotly debated since their inception. Reflect at the site of the CTV building and the 185 White Chairs. Take a peak inside the Cardboard Cathedral and puzzle over how the heck it stays standing!
g) Margaret Mahy Playground
We can assure you it's not just children that get excited about this massive development. It's a pretty cool thing to be plonked right in the middle of town and we challenge you to resist the temptation of trying it yourself (not really - let that inner child out!)
h) New Regent Street
By this time there's a good chance you're ready for a sit down (and another ice cream/cookie/beverage). Put your feet up with some food and drink - you've earned it.
Thanks to Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism for the use of their imagery.
Stay in our comfortable modernised heritage building, complete with 5 Star Gold Qualmark rating. This hostel is second-to-none for location, a stone's throw from art galleries, museums, gardens, and a full array of venues to enjoy food, drink, and live music.
YHA Christchurch Rolleston House
This historic character home turned comfortable hostel sits between the Arts Centre, Botanic Gardens, and Canterbury - perfect for exploring Christchurch's heritage and culture.
YHA Springfield, Smylies is one of Springfield's oldest homes starting its history back in the 1870s as a guesthouse for the Bullock trains passing through. Set on just over one acre of grounds it offers plenty of space for rest and enjoyment and been extensively renovated with all modern backpacking facilities.
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