Order of the day
Combine gourmet food and wine with sightseeing onboard Tramway Restaurant (above), a vintage tram-turned-diner that trundles around the city. For something more stationary, Twenty Seven Steps offers a seasonal menu made with local produce, and service from friendly staff. And at cafe C1 Espresso, a local icon, sliders are delivered through pneumatic tubes to your table. Complement your mini burgers with sustainably produced nectar, or teas that provide income to families in Samoa.
At Orana Wildlife Park (below), animals rule. Take a ride through the lion habitat – as the one in the cage, perhaps with a lion sprawled on top of it. From gorillas to kiwis, there’s something here for every animal lover. There are more kiwis at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve , where you can get up-close with tamer animals such as deer and lemurs. Spot native birds and plants at the Botanic Gardens.
Revisit the past
The Victorian street at Canterbury Museum is a perennial favourite, and its penny-farthing bike is an Instagrammer’s delight. But there ’s proper history and culture here too, in a heritage building. At Ferrymead Park, there’s a 1900s-style village and an assortment of idiosyncratic museums showcasing objects from tractors to fire engines. At the free national Air Force Museum (below), see more than 30 historic aircraft or take the controls of a flight simulator.
Markets and malls
Made up of stores in shipping containers, the colourful Re:Start Mall has everything from high fashion to food. Meanwhile, The Tannery (below) started life as a restored factory, but is now a charming arcade of shops and eateries. New Regent Street is worth a visit for its Spanish Mission facades alone, not to mention its boutiques and cafes. And on Saturdays, beside the historic Riccarton House, Farmers’ Market offers live music, fresh produce and ready-to-eat treats.
The creativity begins outside at Christchurch Art Gallery (below): Its undulating glass walls are a feature in and of themselves. Inside, view a mix of works by emerging and established artists from New Zealand and around the world. Next door, the Centre of Contemporary Art features seasonal exhibitions. For dramatic arts, The Court Theatre is a Christchurch institution. Always innovative and engaging, its Scared Scriptless show is famously long running.
– TEXT BY PAMELA WADE
PHOTOS: CHRISTCHURCH & CANTERBURY TOURISM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.