Explore Nature in Christchurch for Free

One of the wonderful things to come across when visiting another country or another city, is the beautiful places you can experience for free.

New Zealand is lucky to have many locations like this around the country, often administered and maintained by our Department of Conservation (DoC) or by local councils.

In Christchurch, you can explore the beaches; walk, run or cycle around much of the Port Hills and enjoy the more landscaped surroundings of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and The Groynes.

sumner beach Christchurch

Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Avenue

Open year round, but with longer hours for the summer months as per the table below, this is really the jewel in the crown of central Christchurch.

Date Gate closing times
November to February 9:00pm
March 8.30pm
April to September 6.30pm
October 8.30pm

Wide walkways through the main areas of the gardens make for easy access, and enable the ‘caterpillar’ transport to take visitors on a guided tour if you prefer to ride rather than walk.

Off to the sides of the main paths are plenty of smaller paths to enable you to explore the different areas of planting, including the New Zealand Icon Garden which features New Zealand native plants, the Rose Garden and then the tropical conservatory which dates back to Victorian times.

botanic gardens nz icon garden

The gardens also feature a large playground and paddling pool for families to enjoy, and special areas set up for weddings.

botanic gardens bridge christchurch

You can relax over some food in the Ilex Cafe or the Lucky Duck cafe for takeaway picnic food, coffee and ice creams in the refurbished Gardens Tea Kiosk building.

The Groynes, Johns Road

If you have your own transport, plan a day of picnicking and having fun at The Groynes, located off Johns Road near the motorway that runs from the North of the city towards the airport.

The Groynes Christchurch

The Groynes takes its name from the large concrete filled wool sack blocks that were placed in the Otukaikino Creek during the 1930s.

These groynes were created to separate the creek from the main branch of the Waimakariri river for flood protection. An area prone to flooding, native vegetation was already limited due to repeat natural events but farming and urban development had caused indigenous flora to all but disappear from the area and the water quality to decrease significantly.

Since the early 2000s, efforts have been made to restore the Otukaikino River that runs through the Groynes, remove pest plants from the lakes and increase native plantings.

This is an extensive recreational area that includes several walkways, a recreational lake with boats and canoes to hire, smaller lakes for children’s fishing (up to 17 years old and a licence is required) and lots of green space and trees suitable for picnics and a friendly game or two. There is also a playground and a BBQ area.

Take your time to explore and enjoy!

The Groynes under 17 fishing ponds

 

 

What’s New in Christchurch City?

The summer months are the perfect time to visit and explore Christchurch, and as the central city fills up with more and more new places to eat, drink, shop, relax and be entertained, it is certainly worth a visit.

Riverside Market, Avon River, Cashel Mall

Perhaps the most significant (and long awaited) addition to the central city is the freshly opened Riverside Markets.

Riverside Market outdoor seatingThis is a custom built indoor food market space, located at the end of Cashel Mall near the Bridge of Remembrance, filled with local food vendors, restaurants and bars.

Cluck Cluck Slurp, RiversideAmong the already very popular dining options are Castro’s tapas restaurant upstairs, Shaka Bros (from the popular Bacon Bros), Ben and Jerry’s, Cluck Cluck Slurp (roast chicken), Fritz’s Weiners, Costa’s Souvlaki and many more.

Riverside Market outdoor seating

You can also do your produce shopping with everything from wholefoods to bakery goods, locally made cheeses, Mediterranean goodies, fresh fish and vegan desserts. It can get quite busy from mid morning onwards, so if you prefer not to be jostling the crowds, plan your visit a little earlier or later in the day.

Fritz’s Weiners Riverside

Since opening it has been consistently popular with locals and tourists, and brings a great influx of people to this part of the city to then enjoy the sunshine along the riverbank sitting on the steps, jump on the tram for a circuit of the city, or wander down Cashel Mall to enjoy the many options for shopping.

Parking is available in the Lichfield Street carpark, which is a one minute walk from Riverside.

The City Promenade, along the Avon, Central City

Along the Avon River from the Hospital right through to the Margaret Mahy Playground, runs the City Promenade, which is designed to enable a leisurely walk, cycle or scooter ride through some of the most attractive parts of the city, as well as seeing some of the changes in progress (like the construction of the Convention Centre which is heading towards the final phases).

City Promenade starting point on Manchester Street

In the process of walking or scootering along the promenade, you will see the wall of remembrance for those lives lost in the earthquakes, wander past the Riverside Market, see the Convention Centre in progress, head through Victoria Square past the Town Hall and then in the final section head towards the award winning Margaret Mahy Playground past New Regent Street.

Margaret Mahy Family Playground

Beside that last section of the Promenade, you might also notice a white fenced area with many seagulls flying in and out. This is a nesting colony of the highly endangered black billed seagulls, who have chosen to breed in this former office tower site for the last two seasons. There are mesh windows along the fences so you can see what is happening inside the colony without disturbing the birds unecessarily.

Manchester Street, One Central

Manchester St bus stops

Manchester Street has undergone many changes in the last few years, and is now one of the main bus routes into and out of the central city, including many mega bus stops.

#chchswing Manchester St

Along one side of Manchester Street we have the normal cityscape, while on the other, land that was bought by the government post quake is now being used for inner city apartments, along with innovative uses of green space including food trucks, a heritage themed mini-golf course featuring items from pre-quake Christchurch on each hole, the giant #chchswing (for adults and children), giant spray cans and half basketball court, two community owned parking areas called the Good Spot, grassed areas for events to be held, and the ‘detour snake run’ which provides a different surface for cyclists, skateboarders and scooter riders to enjoy.

Map of One Central, Manchester Street

You will also find plenty of e-scooters waiting to be used in this area, either Lime or Beam or Flamingo (the three options available in Christchurch).

This part of the city particularly comes alive in the weekends when families are enjoying the neighbouring playground, but is also a relaxing space to enjoy during the week.

Manchester St murals

Welder, Welles Street

Welder is a new inner city initiative bringing businesses with a focus on health and wellbeing together into one precinct, in amongst inner city apartments and businesses.

The development has repurposed six authentic, character buildings dating back as far as 1880. These industrial workshops share in their unique mix of materials and eccentric features that today are irreplaceable.

Businesses inside the Welder include Bar Yoku. Sake and Yakitori, Barefoot Eatery, Salut Salut.Vino and Tapas, O-Studio, Two Raw Sisters, Great Pastry Shop and more.

Check out the Welder website for the full list and head down for a relaxing day of exploring (perhaps with some yoga or a float tank session thrown in!)

Upper High Street and St Asaph

If you have been enjoying the Manchester Street area and want to keep exploring, head on up to High Street past the Dux Dine, Smash Palace and C1Espresso.

Dux Dine Central City

You’ll see Little High Eatery, the free larger than life video game on the Vodafone building, then the new Lanes and businesses open in the last block of High Street in the historic Duncan building.

Video Game High Street

Grab a coffee at Black and White Coffee Cartel or a delicious gelato from Utopia Ice.

Utopia Ice High Street

Or head right up to the corner of High and St Asaph and explore all the food options in the Boxed Quarter.

Boxed Quarter St Asaph St

Christmas Events in Christchurch 2019

Now that we are clear of Show Week, it’s time to turn our thoughts to the Christmas season – which is approaching rapidly!

In Christchurch that means the annual favourites like the Christmas in the Park concert, the Santa Parade through town, and Christmas Eve with Carols by Candelight.

One of the wonderful things about these events is that they are all free entry and contribute towards the feeling of community and wellbeing as we head towards the last days of 2019 and into a new decade.

As well as the Christmas events above, this time of year also sees various Christmas markets around the city, where local makers get to sell their wares directly to the public.

If you are from the northern hemisphere, it might feel strange to have a Christmas in the middle of summer, but that all makes up part of the Kiwi experience! And weirdly enough, most people still have a hot cooked meal in the middle of the day for Christmas dinner – no matter what the temperature outside.

Below are links for more information about the ‘don’t miss’ events of the season.

Christmas in the Park, Hagley Park, November 30

This is an annual concert with performers from around New Zealand along with locals. It’s a great family event that ends with Santa’s arrival and a fireworks display around 10pm.

Find out more about how to get there, where to park and who’s performing, right here.

Santa Parade, December 6, Central City

The annual  Santa Parade is the South Island’s largest, most successful and significant community event.

The route this year will be along Madras Street. It will start at the corner of Madras and St Asaph Streets and finish at Kilmore and Madras Streets. A little shorter route than in the past but a lot more green-space to enjoy a pre-parade picnic and entertainment provided.

Find out more about what’s in store and a map of the route right here.

Carols by Candlelight, Victoria Square, Christmas Eve

Every year the YMCA organises this family-focused Carols by Candlelight event and this year it is back in Victoria Square for the first time in many years.

You can buy candles and songbooks when you get there. The evening starts at 9pm and goes till 10pm, so make sure the kids had a good sleep the night before!

More information about the event can be found here.

Christmas Markets, Various Locations

Encraftment Market, Horncastle Arena, November 23-24

Conscious Christmas Market, cnr High and Cashel Streets, CBD Dec 17 – 21

Avebury Xmas Night Market, Avebury House, Richmond, December 6

All I Want for Christmas Makete, Arts Centre, December 1

The Tannery Christmas Market, The Tannery, December 19

 

What’s happening in Christchurch, November 2019

As we rocket towards Summer and the holiday season, events and activities are rapidly increasing in number around Christchurch.

We’ve included some ‘don’t miss’ events in this blog.

SCAPE, Central Christchurch, 5 October – 20 November 2019

If you arrive in the city in the next few weeks, you will notice new public art works around the city centre.

These are part of the SCAPE Public Art exhibition and some will remain as permanent installations.

The SCAPE Public Art Season 2019 responds to the theme of Rock : Paper : Scissors. Local and internationally renowned artists will bring a sense of solidity and location during the six-week season in central Christchurch from 5 October – 20 November 2019.

The SCAPE Public Art Walkway allows visitors to explore temporary and permanent artworks around our central city. Weaving a trail around historic and natural landmarks, guided walks start from Worcester Boulevard passing Canterbury Museum, looping around Hagley Park, meandering to Ōtākaro-Avon River and finishing back at the Arts Centre. Visit the Scape website for maps of the art installations and the link to download their app.

BLACKCAPS v England T20, Hagley Oval, 1 November at 2pm

Don’t miss out on the action on Friday 1 November as the BLACKCAPS take on England at Hagley Oval.

This is the first time the two teams have met since the Cricket World Cup finals, and a chance to put the record straight between the two teams!

This T20 is a Charity Match in which all funds generated from ticket sales (net of Ticketek fees) will be donated to the Christchurch Foundation to assist the local community in the wake of the 15 March 2019 terror attack.

Book your tickets here if you don’t already have them.

Swan Lake – The Imperial Russian Ballet Company, Isaac Theatre Royal, 16 November

This classic ballet has two performances in Christchurch on Saturday November 16 and there are still some tickets available.

Swan Lake is presented in two acts and follows the original storyline. Subtle revisions and variations have been introduced by Gediminas Taranda, Artistic Director of the Imperial Russian Ballet Company.

Swan Lake crosses the world of magic and mystical creatures with that of the real world. It is a story where the virtues of love and forgiveness in the end conquer evil and betrayal.

Christchurch Airport Art Trail

Not just a Summer exhibition, the Art Trail around Christchurch Airport features a range of installations throughout the buildings and parking areas, including some that will come to life with the Plain Sight augmented reality app.

Download the Art Trail map here and spot as many works as you can when you are flying in or out of the Airport.

Cup Week Events, 9 – 16 November 2019

The week leading into Show Weekend is always busy in Christchurch, with lots of visitors in town for race events, Fashion in the Field and of course the Annual A and P Show.

Check out all the places to be and be seen, via the christchurchnz.com site.

The New Zealand Agricultural Show, Canterbury Agricultural Park, 13 – 15 November 2019

With over 156 years of history, the New Zealand Agricultural Show celebrates all that is great about rural life.

Featuring a packed schedule of top livestock and equestrian events, live music, Endurocross, fun-filled family entertainment, an indulgent Food & Wine Village and so much more, you and your family will have plenty to keep you entertained during your day at the Show.

This is truly the time when country comes to town, and a wonderful experience for visitors to New Zealand to sample the best rural Kiwis have to offer.

 

Spring Gardens in Christchurch

Spring is one of the most beautiful times of year in Christchurch, from the avenue of cherry blossoms around Hagley Park, to the wonderful Botanic Garden flower beds and many other gardens open to the public around the city and nearby.

Check out some of the most popular gardens to visit when you are staying in Christchurch with us.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Avenue

Notable at this time of year for the beds of yellow daffodils alongside the Avon River, and the multi-coloured beds of annuals, the Botanic Gardens stretch for 30 hectares in the centre of the city and are a very popular destination for visitors and locals alike, any day of the week. Entrance is free, and they close at 6.30pm daily.

While you are visiting the gardens, why not also take a wander through the Canterbury Museum, located in the Gardens with access from Rolleston Avenue. The Arts Centre is also just over the road, so you can enjoy several of the city’s visitor attractions all in one day without having to leave this precinct.

The tramway also goes right past this area, so you can incorporate a tram ride around the city at the same time.

Mona Vale Homestead and Gardens, Fendalton Road

Mona Vale Gardens Christchurch

One of the city’s historic homesteads, and just a short walk from Hagley Park, Mona Vale features rose and iris gardens, woodland plantings along the river and colour-themed borders.

More recently, magnolias, many Ericaceae, herbaceous perennials and beds of annuals have been added.

The homestead itself is hired out for functions and has a cafe where you can order coffee and cake while you enjoy the surroundings.

Entrance to Mona Vale is free and closing time varies depending on the time of year. Check the City Council website for more information and opening hours.

Riccarton Bush, 16 Kahu Road

Copyright Neil Macbeth

Located just off Riccarton Road, Riccarton Bush – also known as Deans Bush, is the last remaining remnant of virgin native bush left in the city.

Boardwalks take visitors through the bush itself, to ensure the tree roots are not damaged and you can also enjoy the historic Riccarton House with its restaurant and the original Deans cottage which has been preserved to provide an insight into the life of the first English settlers in the Christchurch area.

On Saturday mornings, the whole site is alive with the local farmer’s market, which is very popular and provides a great opportunity to browse, shop for locally grown and made produce, enjoy a coffee and go for a wander through the gardens and the bush.

Entry to Deans Bush is free and open year round.

Edmonds Factory Garden, 357 Ferry Road

The garden and factory, which feature on the cover of the best-selling Edmonds Cookery Book, have been a horticultural delight for generations of visitors and residents.

The Edmonds gardens have won many awards in civic beautifying competitions, and, until the late 1980s, a succession of gardeners were employed full-time to maintain and develop the formal geometric beds, lawns and plantings of annuals.

Christchurch City Council acquired a major portion of the original Edmonds Factory Garden in 1991 after the building had been demolished and the property sub-divided.

Since then, a rose garden and an oval garden have been added. Recently new, enclosed areas of a more natural style have been developed, with an emphasis on low maintenance, featuring permanent plantings of evergreen shrubs and dwarf conifers.

Entry to the gardens is free and you can use the parking up the long driveway. A children’s playground is included along with the large parkland area adjoining the gardens, so this a perfect spot to take the family. Dogs are also welcome as long as they are on a leash.

The original Edmonds cookbook featuring the “Sure to Rise” slogan and the garden.

Spring Events in Christchurch 2019

Right now the weather in Christchurch is still wintery but Spring is only a few weeks away. So we’ve listed below some of the events coming up – if anything takes your fancy and you live outside the city, jump into our accommodation section and book yourself in to really make a weekend of it.

NZ International Film Festival, August 8 – 25, 2019 Isaac Theatre Royal and Lumiere Cinemas, Arts Centre

With more than 80 films and documentaries from around the world, this year’s NZIFF is promising to be better than ever! For the first time, movies will be screened either at the beautiful Isaac Theatre Royal or the more intimate surroundings of the newly open Lumiere Cinemas in the Christchurch Arts Centre. Both environments bring a special atmosphere that takes you outside the usual moviegoing experience. Check out the full programme of movies and book your tickets here.

Ferrymead Night Market, September 7 2019, 4pm – 8pm

As the days get longer, it is time to head on down to Ferrymead Heritage Park for a relaxing stroll around the village and the market stalls. This family friendly event runs on the first Saturday of every month, so if you miss it in September, you can get down there in October.

Entry to the park is a gold coin per person.

– Stalls
– Food Vendors
– Entertainment – Live Music – Bouncy Castle – Face Painting
– Sorry no dogs allowed except for service dogs.
– Tram – small fee
– Vulcan Train – small fee
– Print Shop, Post Office, the Theatre, and Curragh House are open.
– Make sure you bring ample cash for this event as there are no ATM’s. We do not offer cash out.
– Some stalls and most food stands have eftpos
– Please consider public transport to help ease parking.

The Early Early Late Show, September 1, Court Theatre Addington

Something new for the city’s kids – every first Sunday of the month, the Court Theatre Jesters will be bringing back their very popular improv show for kids of all ages.

Our clever cast of Court Jesters are the masters of fast, funny, improvised comedy. They’ll create scenes, stories and songs on the spot with nothing but your ideas to inspire them.

The only show in town that both your seven and twelve-year-old will enjoy, The Early Early Late Show is unmissable comedy for tweenagers – and their grown-ups.

Miss Saigon, Isaac Theatre Royal, September 27 – October 6 2019

Madam Butterfly is given new life in this epic adaptation of Puccini’s 1904 opera, exploring love and loss in the Vietnam conflict.

A tragedy of passion and beauty, Miss Saigon is one of the most daring theatrical spectacles of all time. Nominated for an incredible number of Olivier, Tony and Drama Desk Awards, Miss Saigon is the second massively successful musical from the creators of Les Misérables.

In the turmoil of the Vietnam War, American GI Chris and Vietnamese girl Kim fall in love and marry but are distressingly separated when Saigon falls. Alone, Kim gives birth to Chris’ son and waits faithfully for his return. Unable to contact Kim, Chris remarries and attempts to move on with his life.

Circumstances bring Chris back to southeast Asia where he learns the truth… but with tragic consequences.

Miss Saigon is an epic pop musical that is universal in its emotional power.

Book your tickets online here. 

 

Christchurch Arts Festival 2019

The Christchurch Arts Festival is another great reason to visit the Garden City, running from July 26 – August 4.

This event happens every second year, and this year gets to take advantage of the increased number of venues around the city as locations like our beautiful Christchurch Town Hall have re-opened.

Experience art, music, light, food and performance, as these extraordinary artists ‘return home’ to honour their connections to this unique place, and inspire us to explore who we are, where we have come from and our bold new path as a city of transformation and change.

From the free opening extravaganza, to shows, talks, workshops and performances, there’s something for everyone… so don’t miss the chance to find out what’s on and get amongst it!

Tickets for some events have already sold out, so we have included below some of the Festival highlights that still have tickets remaining or don’t require tickets.

Opening Event – Free! A Winter’s Tale and Powhiri

Running across two nights, on Friday July 26 and Saturday July 27, this will be an event not to miss.

From 5pm on Friday 26th the opening pōwhiri (welcoming ceremony), features the traditional call of a kaikaranga – the first voice to be heard will be Matapopore’s very own Aroha Reriti-Crofts – followed by kapa haka group Te Pao a Tahu, who will explore traditional Ngāi Tahu narratives through song.

Then from 6pm on both nights, Oxford Terrace will be transformed as lively Shakespearean scenes are presented by giant puppets, against a backdrop of colour, movement and skyscraping video projections.

The event will be book-ended by two stages, one near the Bridge of Remembrance and the other by the new Riverside complex where six different musical acts will perform throughout the evening.

Along the riverside, roaming amongst the audience and from the balconies of the bars and restaurants lining The Terrace, masked NASDA actors and over-sized puppets will parody scenes from the classic Shakespearean films being projected onto the former Rydges Hotel.

Find out more about this free event via the Facebook Event page. 

Below is a map of the Avon Promenade which is the location for this event. to work out places to park, we suggest you visit the dynamic map on the City Council website here.

Christchurch Promenade map

Wild Dogs Under my Skirt, Tusiata Avia, July 25 – 27

The first night of this compelling show by Christchurch based poet Tusiata Avia is being held at Haeata Community Campus in Aranui, with the remaining two performances at The Piano which is located in Armagh Street (very close to the New Regent Street corner).

This deeply personal, multi-award winning work has delighted, shocked and seduced audiences all around the world.

Based on Avia’s provocative and unapologetic poetry, Wild Dogs is a play that explores power, politics, racism, love, sex, abuse and life between cultures. It’s a celebration of island life, the femininity of a Samoan woman and all its wonderful complexities.

With the support of NZ theatre taonga Victor Rodger as producer and award-winning director Anapela Polata’ivao, this stunning piece has transformed into an all-powerful six-woman show, winning Best Director, Best Production and Best Lighting Design at the recent Wellington Theatre Awards.

Tusiata Avia is a poet, performer and children’s book writer. She has held prestigious writers residencies both here and abroad, and was the 2013 recipient of the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award.

Tickets are $45 (concession) or $50 full price. Book online. 

Manaaki Marketplace, Town Hall Foyer, August 3, free admission

From 10:00am, stalls will offer locally made toi Māori (Māori arts and crafts) including woven kete, pounamu pendants, jewellery and poi. Locally made preserves and delicacies will also be available for purchase – not to mention traditional Māori kai!

Another highlight will be the rongoā (traditional Māori healing) area where two practitioners will be offering mirimiri (traditional Māori massage) and rongoā cosmetics such as balms, creams and oils, crafted from extracts from native plants.

In the rear of the foyer, you’ll find an exhibition of Ngāi Tahu artworks, which includes raranga, jewellery, paintings, carving, prints and sculpture.

The market day will be followed by a hangi which will be cooked through the day and served at 5.30pm and 6.00pm.

 

Enjoying the July School Holidays in Christchurch

The July school holiday are nearly here and even though its the middle of winter, there are plenty of great things for the family to do around the city.

Kidsfest is a Christchurch institution, with a series of free and paid events all over the city being held each year.

Some of the highlights are listed below. You can check out more details on all Kidsfest 2019 events through their website – and make sure you book early for anything you are keen on as many of them fill up fast.

The Christchurch Brick Show, July 13-14 2019, Horncastle Arena, $5 entry pp

This event is the biggest LEGO show of its kind in New Zealand.

Now with more space than ever before, the Christchurch Brick Show will exhibit amazing LEGO models for all age groups in 4,000 square metres of space at the Horncastle Arena.

Over 200 enthusiasts and collectors will show their designs, collections and contraptions to inspire creativity and innovation.

Children will have the opportunity to go hands-on with various LEGO focused activities in Imagination Station’s huge build and learn zone, sponsored by Mitre 10 Mega. Activities include building spaces, mechanics benches, mosaic walls, gaming area, remote control LEGO vehicles, ramp races (from 4 meters high!) and more!

Entry is $5 per child and $5 per caregiver. Children under 2 are free. You can book online to reserve your tickets or pay by cash/eftpos at the door.

The Kaiapoi Teddy Bear Hunt, July 6 – 20, Kaiapoi Town Centre, Free

There has been a bear invasion in Kaiapoi! They are hiding everywhere. Those pesky, trick bears are back!

Bear Cave Kaiapoi

Search high and low in the shop windows and you’ll find them. Some even have disguises. Come out for a day of fun in Kaiapoi.

Get your entry form from Kaiapoi i-Site, (corner of Charles & Williams Street, Kaiapoi), or download from www.kaiapoiadventure.co.nz.

Find as many bears as you can and enter the prize draw!

All welcome. Event runs all through KidsFest.

Helicopter Hijinks, Wigram Airforce Museum, July 6 – 20, 2019

The Wigram Airforce Museum has a number of activities during Kidsfest including the Rotary Roundup (for ages 8 – 13, cost $6 per child and caregivers free); Wingless Wonders (ages 5-10, cost $6 per child, caregivers free) and Chopper Spotter (ages 3-7, $6 per child, caregivers free).

wigram airforce museum

Pool Parties, various locations, July 6, 7, 14 and 20, 2019

KidsFest pool parties

Come along and have swim fun on inflatables, dance in the water to our DJ and play some pool games.

Spot prizes for style and safe swimmers from Coolstuff. Standard pool fees apply, tickets are available at the Pool on the day. ($3.50 per child, $6 per caregiver).

Pioneer Recreation and Sports Centre – Saturday 6th July, 1-3pm
QEII Recreation and Sports Centre – Sunday 7th July, 1-3pm
Jellie Park Recreation and Sports Centre – Sunday 14th July, 1-3pm
Graham Condon Recreation and Sports Centre – Saturday 20th July, 1-3pm

Detour bump and roll track, Manchester Street, free

The “Detour” is a bump and roll track in the city for all as part of the Fletcher Living and Gap Filler Placemaking at One Central Programme adjacent Manchester and Armagh Street intersection.

Detour track chch

All are welcome whatever your ability to come and have a go. Routes vary in difficulty, so whether you’re still on trainer wheels or you are more of a pro, everyone is welcome. Cycle, skateboard or scooter through. Whatever your wheels, this detour is for you!

Mix up your travel in the city and add some fun factor, or make a special visit to hang out and enjoy!

There are other Gap Filler installations as part of the PaOC programme close by so take opportunity to explore and mix this in with some other fun activities. These include the hammock park, the #chchswing, food trucks and much more.

There are bus stops nearby on Manchester – and the buses also take bikes.

Once Upon a Happy Ending, The Malthouse, 6 – 20 July, 2019 (check link for specific dates and times)

Cushion Theatre at the Malthouse. This is interactive theatre for children of all ages. Once Upon A Happy Ending is your usual fairy story with a difference – you, the audience makes it happen.

Malthouse theatre

Choose your heroes and villains, name the magical kingdom, create mythical creatures to save the day and help seek out those missing clues.

Let your imagination do the work – follow the lead of the Narrator and make a happy ending!!

Plenty of carparking available in BestStart carpark right next door- no walking across the busy road.

Air-conditioned theatre space with cushions galore. Coffee and cold drinks by Kea Coffee right outside the Malthouse for your convenience.

Tickets are $9 per person. Book online here. 

Kidsfest Under the Stars, Canterbury Astronomical Society Observatory West Melton, July 6 – 20, 2019

For something very special, plan an evening with your kids exploring the stars.

kidsfest stars

Explore the Universe at the Canterbury Astronomical Society’s observatory in West Melton. Members of the society will be on hand to help unlock the secrets of the night sky through the wide range of telescopes at the observatory.

The observatory will be open most nights of Kidsfest, weather permitting. A status update will be posted every night by 6:00pm on the society website at https://www.cas.org.nz/ as to whether we are open or closed. Please be sure to check there before travelling to the observatory.

The observatory is around 30 minutes drive from Christchurch at 218 Bells Road, West Melton. See https://www.cas.org.nz/ for maps and directions.

Bookings are essential. Numbers are limited. Book on the society website.

Booking fee applies. Sorry no door sales. *We will be closed on both Tuesday nights.

 

 

Wonderful Indoor Winter Activities in Christchurch

We are heading into the winter months, so what is there to do in Christchurch with your family (or without) when the days are shorter and the weather cooler?

Turns out, the answer is plenty!

Movies

EntX movies

Whether you are a local or visiting the city, movies are always a classic for cooler (or wetter days) and the city has some great options. If you are in the central city, head to the mega theatre at EntX (right opposite the Bus Exchange so you can grab a bus right outside the motel and head right into the city without having to find a park). The bottom floor is full of great eateries, so plan to grab lunch or dinner with your movie. See some pics and find out more about this great complex here. 

And of course there are other options for movies too – Northlands Mall, Riccarton Mall, Palms Shopping Centre, Alice’s, The Colombo, The Tannery and Sumner all have options to choose from.

If you are visiting NZ in the winter months, it is worth downloading the Flicks app  for your phone and then you can see all the cinemas and movies currently running, plus book online.

Turanga/Imagination Station

turanga library chch

Christchurch’s new public library is a place to not only make sure you visit, but also somewhere you can return to over and over again with your kids. If they love Lego, they will love the Imagination Station area that will keep them occupied for hours. Plus there’s a giant electronic gaming wall, computers, 3D printing facilities, music recording studios – and of course, books! And onsite are a couple of cafes to keep everyone going while they are full immersed.

Swimming and Gymming

Chch swimming pools

The city has plenty of options to take the kids swimming including the brand new, rebuilt Taiora QEII pool. Currently under construction is the new Metro Sports Facility in the central city which will have full size pool options, but you can also choose from Jellie Park (just down the road from us at Airport Gateway), Pioneer Stadium which has both gym and pool facilities, and the Graham Condon Pool and recreation complex in Papanui (near Northlands Mall).

Bouldering aka Indoor Rock Climbing

One of the popular indoor activities for locals and visitors alike, is indoor rock climbing and these days the two best places in town to get your bouldering skills on are the YMCA and Uprise aka the Bouldering Gym in Woolston.

bouldering at Uprise gym chch

At the Y you can choose between Clip n Climb and their Climbing Wall – either way its a lot of fun and a great way to spend your time.

You can even book the space for a birthday party. Make sure you book ahead.

Trampolining

mega air trampolining

Trampolining is a great way to get the blood pumping and tire out the kids while having lots of fun and Christchurch now has a couple of options to choose from.

Check out Mega Air trampolining arena in Carmen Road and Flip Out Christchurch in Maces Road.

Shopping

The city is full of great places to shop, from the suburban malls (which are all linked by the Orbiter bus route in case you want to visit a few) and the many new shopping locations and brand stores that are springing up within the Christchurch CBD.

The malls closest to us at Airport Gateway are Riccarton’s Westfield Mall in Riccarton Road, and Northlands Mall on Papanui Road (as you head towards the Main North Road).

merivale shopping centre chch

For more boutique options, check out the Tannery in Woolston – worth a visit and you can do lunch and a movie while you are there; Merivale – not just the Mall but up to about 50 shops within easy reach of the mall itself including lots of fashion and a great recycled boutique; Sumner – a pretty seaside suburb with great cafes and bars and an eclectic range of shops to enjoy browsing.

the tannery chch

 

 

Autumn and Winter 2019 Events in Christchurch

As the weather is starting to cool down and a few more rainy days appear on the radar, its time to look ahead at what’s happening in the Garden City over the next few months.

While the recent tragedy has had a serious impact on locals and visitors alike, the Christchurch community is still finding ways to come together and enjoy each other’s company and forms of entertainment that lift spirits all around.

We Will Rock You, 29 March 2019 to 7 April 2019,  Isaac Theatre Royal

we will rock you chch

In the last few decades there has been a trend towards movies and stage musicals based around some of our favourite rock bands and performers, linked into a narrative – Mama Mia, Across the Universe (the Beatles) and mostly recently, NZ’s own Daffodil all come to mind.

And We Will Rock You is of course based on the music of rock super band, Queen.

Imagine a world without rock music under the control of an all-powerful global company and its tyrannical boss, Killer Queen.

Scaramouche and Galileo, two young outsiders, cannot come to terms with this bleak conformist reality. They join rock rebels the Bohemians and embark on the search to find the unlimited power and freedom of rock music.

Since 2002 over 16 million theatre-goers in 28 countries have rocked out to this unique musical based on the songs of Queen. Written by Ben Elton (The Young Ones, Blackadder) this futuristic comedy is based around more than 24 of Queen’s biggest hits including:

We Are The Champions, Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Somebody To Love, Killer Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now, Under Pressure, Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You. This is a night to remember, performed by the talented cast of Showbiz Christchurch. Book your tickets here. 

The Christchurch Food Show, 05 – 07 April 2019, Horncastle Arena

chch food show 2019

The perfect venue for all Christchurch food lovers, The Food Show is where you can try and buy the very best local and international food, wine, beer and so much more! If you love to cook and entertain, The Food Show is the perfect spot to gather inspiration.

Discover recipes and hot tips from top celebrity chefs in the NEFF Cooking Theatre or if you’re looking to find the best deals, don’t look past the incredible show only offers from over 120 exhibitors.

Don’t miss  show features, with something for everyone including Street Food Alley, Cheese Alley, Artisan Village and the Healthy Hub. All demonstrations and feature zones are included free with your entry ticket.

Culinary guest speakers this year include all the favourites – Annabel Langbein and Annabel White, Josh Emmett, Jax Hamilton, Giulio Sturla and Luke Hines.

You can book tickets online right here. And while you’re booking you can also contribute $2 to this year’s charity which is the Christchurch City Mission.

You Are Us Concert, Christchurch Stadium, April 17th

you are us concert christchurch

On Wednesday April 17 in Christchurch the New Zealand music industry comes together to present YOU ARE US/AROHA NUI to raise funds and donate all proceeds from ticket sales to the Our People, Our City fund which was set up by the Christchurch Foundation helping those affected by the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Performers include Lorde, Anika Moa, The Adults, Bailey Wiley, Bic Runga, Dave Dobbyn, The Exponents, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Hollie Smith, Marlon Williams, Shihad, Shapeshifter and Stan Walker, along with many more.

Ticket prices are Adults $79.00 Children (12 years old and under) $39.00.

Tickets are available from Ticketek.

Norah Jones in Concert, April 29, Christchurch Town Hall Auditorium

norah jones

The ‘Come Away With Me’ singer will perform in Christchurch on April 29. This tour will be the pianist/vocalist’s first performances in New Zealand in 14 years.

Jones’ 2002 debut album, Come Away With Me, was a massive global phenomenon, selling over one million copies in Australia alone and 27 million globally.

To date, she has sold over 50 million albums worldwide. From jazz to country, folk, rock and soul, Jones is a singular talent whose work crosses all the boundaries of American music – as evidenced on her chart-topping solo releases.

Tickets to the Christchurch concert are still available here. 

Christchurch Marathon, Queen’s Birthday Weekend, Sunday 2nd June 2019, Christchurch Town Hall

chch marathon

2019 marks the 39th running of the South Island’s favourite foot race.

Inspired by the 1974 Commonwealth Games marathon, the Christchurch Marathon event is renowned as one of the fastest courses in the world and for the first time since 2010, it will be returning to the Town Hall as the location the Start/Finish line, prizegiving and venue for picking up race packs and more.

The Christchurch Marathon is also one of the most scenic and supportive, welcoming all age & ability for a flat, fast and scenic tour around iconic Christchurch landmarks such as Cathedral Square, Hagley Park, the Avon River & the Red Zone.

With a Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k & Kids’ Mara’Fun available, there is something for everyone.

You can now submit your race entry online here, and find out more about the event and the course through the website here.

Rewind the Future, Dr Jane Goodall, May 30, Christchurch Town Hall

jane goodall chch 2019

The Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand & Loop  welcome Dr. Jane Goodall back to New Zealand to help us Rewind The Future. Discover how Dr. Goodall and her Institute are helping to rewind the future for planet earth.

Dr. Goodall will speak about devoting her life to making a difference for all, and the power of individual action to enable us to change the course of time.

Through her work and that of her Institute, Dr. Goodall has seen the mounting global crises that we currently face first hand, such as climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, and global conflict. These talks will touch on Dr. Goodall’s incredible life story, along with solutions to these problems to help turn back the clock and create a future where people, animals and the environment live in balance.

Dr. Goodall will be joined by very special guests to be announced, and a presentation from Dr. Goodall herself. Proceeds from each event will go directly to the Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand, assisting the important work they do to help create a better world for people, other animals and our shared planet.

Buy tickets for Dr Goodall talk here.