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! We've put together this beginner's guide to give you a good feel for the city, with plenty of time for sampling local cuisine and snapping photos along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for awesome street art! You can start or finish the loop anywhere you like.
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 - one scoop is never enough
- The Last Word whisky bar
- South American food, drinks, and even Thursday Night Salsa at Casa Publica
- The beautifully restored Isaac Theatre Royal, just past the southern end
On your way here, a stop into Turanga is an absolute must. This library has gone above and beyond with technology and equipment to borrow as well as books - think an audio studio and a 3D printer, among other things! It has a wicked kids play area, it's own cafe, and the upper levels offer some beaut views of the area.
The Cathedral itself (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.
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 reopened to a wave of eager patrons. It's a beaut spot to sit and people-watch along the river, grab a drink, or some delicious food, with weekday lunchtimes and weekend evenings the most popular visiting times. The Riverside Market is the area's latest attraction.
A walk along Cashel offers a series of shopping laneways, office complexes, and cafes. The BNZ Centre houses Scorpio Books, which is a must for literature fiends. A selection of high-end boutiques and well-known fast fashion retailers mean there's something for everyone, and there are often buskers or art installations in the mix too. Spot the giant pukeko painting, the white indoor tree, and some amazing sculptural building exteriors.
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!
Dip up through Poplar Street, Lichfield Lane, and up towards Latimer Square. 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!
Margaret Mahy Playground
En route to this central city staple you'll head through one of our central city green strips and past a few very Instagrammable spots. We can assure you it's not just kids that get excited about this massive playground. 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!)
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.
YHA Christchurch is a homely heritage building with a modern atmosphere. Located near the town centre, this backpacker hostel is a perfect home base to see everything Christchurch has to offer!
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