Christchurch NZ – sharing your stories and updates
Replies: 34 - Last Post: Mar 25, 2013 8:38 PM Last Post By: kereru
Jan 9, 2012 8:42 PM
Christchurch NZ – sharing your stories and updatesKiaora,
Lonely Planet has been back to Christchurch a number of times since the February 2011 quake, and we have just posted our latest post-quake update on the city here.
But we know that the situation in Christchurch is still changing quickly as the city rebuilds. There's businesses reopening all the time, as well as new places opening, or expanding to fill the gaps. Last year we used a Thorn Tree thread to gather updates from travellers and locals, and it worked well. So we'd like to continue to use this space to share stories and advice.
Have you visited the city recently? If so, we'd love to hear from you. We'd love to hear what you found ... what bars, what restaurants, what fun things to do… What's up? What's still down? What's reopening, or filling the gaps?
Errol @ Lonely Planet
Jan 9, 2012 9:06 PM
The Chch update thread that we started last year is still online if you are interested in reading people’s comments over the last year. There's some really useful stuff there, so I’ve also summarised some (still current) comments and feedback here…
- Try an outdoor party from Massive. Official events website: http://bethere.co.nz.
- Out of the city, The Little River Campground is only 45 minutes from the city on your way to Akaroa on Banks Peninsula.
- Lyttleton is open for business and they are operating day cruises/dolphin trips/etc out of the harbor. Accomodation available. Akaroa is a cute little community 1 1/2 hours out of Christchurch.
- Travel blogs one and two
- Punting is going again as are the canoes on the river by the antigua boat sheds. Antarctic centre is open, and many bars and cafes. The Vicarage in Halswell is a great place for a drink or meal. Museum is open. Day trips to Hanmer and Akaroa, winter skiing at Mt Hutt and Porter Heights. Botanic gardens. Sumner is recovering as is Lyttleton and both still very pretty. For kids, the gardens have a great playground, Spencer park has an amazing playground too, The Airforce Museum is free, also Hagley Park is great for biking as is Bottle Lake plantation which has many tracks.
- Check out Gap Filler and here
- Tiffanys in the city centre very posh, Rubicon Valley Horse Treks 50 mins from Christchurchdoes free pickups, ski areas Mt Hutt, Porters, and the club fields are all open not far from Christchurch. Castle Hill is an amazing bouldering and climbing venue (hire bouldering mats from Base Alpine), the Roxx is a good climbing wall, South island's West Coast has reduced tourist numbers but are completely undamaged. Fun at Barrytown Knifemaking.
- Read www.cityscape-christchurch.co.nz
- link1 for skifields easily accessible from Chch, link2 more detailed ski and snowboard info.
- Christchurch Farmers Market is on at Riccarton Bush east of Hagly Park, every Saturday morning.The Lyttleton Farmers Market is at the Lyttelton Main School Oxford St every Saturday.
- Read Avenues magazine
Edited by: Errol
Jan 14, 2012 6:27 AM
2I met a lady on Wednesday 11 January at Central Station (Brisbane) who had just flown in from Christchurch and was meeting her brother outside the Sofitel. She was too scared to use the escalator. I helped her. She told me two days prior, there had been more earthquakes. She said there were 21 of them, they started at 1.15am and continued until 6.00am. She said she had lain in bed terrified. When I asked about Cathedral Square and New Regent Street, she told me they are all rubble. And the Cenotaph Monument is no more.
Jan 17, 2012 12:05 PM
3yes yes all that. But it is still a great and proud city that will rebuild itself and needs all the help it can get. I have lived there for the last 3 years and carried on through all the quakes as best I could. Its still a beautiful city and it is the gateway to the real NZ and has far better weather and people and bars than Auckland(no offense Aucks just sayin!) which is where I grew up.incidently.
Papanui Rd and Riccaton Rd are still rocking for a good night out
Jan 21, 2012 7:03 AM
4I was in Christchurch on the 6th and 7th of January this year, and experienced two earthquakes on the night of the 6th. While they were rather terrifying for someone who isn't used to being in an environment prone to natural disasters, the locals seemed to be completely immune to it! (which is kinda sad). Just goes to show that the impact of the earthquakes on the city has been enermous and its not just on the infrastructure...
As for the infrastucture, the entire City Centre has been blocked off. I had hired a car and kept doing detours trying to make our my in, but there was no getting in.
I then hit Merivale Mall and Riccarton Westfields for some shopping. But the highlight was definately the Shipping Container Mall! Very very cool.. Highend labels, quirky stationery and gift stores and warm cafes - in truck containers! I absolutely loved it. A must-see if you're visiting Christchurch these days.
Tip: Chocolate cake at Crafted Coffee Company. MUST-HAVE. Grab some with a coffee and hit the upper-floor beanbags to do some people watching.
Jan 22, 2012 3:39 AM
5Stayingwith some friends here for a couple of days - I was down at the Buskers Festival in Hagley Park this afternoon, saw a couple of acts in between rain showers, I think it's on for another week ... Also the museum is open and has a wide range of exhibits, and as the last post says, the shipping container mall is worth checking out.
Jan 25, 2012 4:15 PM
6I've been to Christchurch several times in the last few months. It's one of my favorite cities.
Even though the CBD is effectively shut down due to earthquake damage, it's still a beautiful city. The botanical gardens are AMAZING. I loved sitting in the sun, watching the punters glide down the river. Very peaceful, and hard to believe you're in a quake-ravaged city when you're surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees.
And yes, although there's not a ton to do in terms of nightlife, it's slowly getting better. Riccarton has the most options for restaurants, drinks, etc. There's a big Westfield for all your shopping needs. (Haven't been to the shipping container mall yet, but heard it's really cool.)
There are a few things opening up again quite close to the CBD. The YMCA is a cheap place to stay if you don't want to stay in a hostel further out. There are some coffeehouses opening up. I believe the museum is now open. And of course, the casino and a couple of bars are open. (Christchurch has its priorities straight, LOL.)
In terms of the CBD itself, it's surrounded by a giant cordon that you can't cross (for your own safety). But you can see the damaged buildings and get a sense of how widespread the devastation actually was. At this stage, it looks more like a giant construction site than anything.
And, in my opinion, even though some visitors might find the earthquake damage "depressing," I think people should see it because Christchurch has sort of dropped off the world's radar in terms of global news. (Especially after Japan's disasters.) I think people should be reminded that Christchurch has gone through something terrible and is strong enough to emerge and become a beautiful city again. Maybe it will encourage more people to visit and contribute their much-needed tourist dollars to Canterbury's economy again and help the recovery effort in their own way.
Long story short, if you have plans to visit Christchurch, then definitely go. You won't regret it. Just my two cents.
Here's my blog entry and lots of pictures of Christchurch -- both the earthquake destruction and the more beautiful bits of the botanical garden.
Feb 3, 2012 5:24 AM
You'll probably already have seen this, but we're now providing the Christchurch content of the next edition of the guidebook, on our website, for FREE.
The next edition will come out in September 2012, but we've rushed this content thru 8 months early. We haven't finalised editing, nor mapping. We wanted to get it out as fast as possible, so that there's finally some post-quake guidebook coverage of the city.
Go on, check it out. If there's any doubt in your mind that there's plenty to do in chch, I reckon a read of this chapter will convince you.
If you're going, please take this gift and I reckon you'll have a better time with it than without. If your friend is going, send them a copy. If you live there, print it out and tell us what you think. It's free, so you might as well.
(Did I mention it's free?)
Feb 9, 2012 12:10 AM
8I would like to update you on Christchurch as a Christchurch person living and working on the outskirts of the red zone which I walk around weekly. I certainly miss what was a great city but I am sure it will one day return to be a great city, I only hope it is in my life time. The cordon around what we call the red zone ie the inner city has been reduced slightly in the last fortnight and is due to be reduced even further by the end of March. We want and need tourists to come to Christchurch so please stop by. Some things you can do:
The Christchurch botanic gardens
The museum, excellent on a cold or wet day, there is a great expo of past winners of the Wearable Arts.
Bars and restaurants in Merivale and Addington, also try a container bar, (is a bar that has just popped up and inside a shipping container) there is an excellant one at 94 Victoria Street in the CBD called the revival bar www.revivalbar.co.nz
Plenty of budget accommodation and motels on Bealey Ave on the CBD border and Addington.
Visit the container shopping mall in Cashel Street a mixture of high end clothing, gifts and caravan takeaways, and for those from the UK be sure to check out Johnsons the Grocer for your favourite treats from home.
Take a walk around the red zone cordon you will get some excellent photographs, see some extraordinary damage and alot of demolision.
Take a walk along Avonside Drive, along the river and see the worst of the damage in the East (it want be there next time you visit) stop and speak with the residents and listen to their stories
Punting on the Avon
Visit some farmers markets, Deans Bush on a Saturday, Opawa on a Sunday
Artisan market at Deans Bush on a Sunday
Large outdoor market at Riccarton on Sunday selling everthing you could ever want
There is some great plays on in the botanic gardens this summer see ww.summertimes.co.nz , Lazy Sundays, Beer tasting, Anthony Harper Theatre
See a play at the recently opened new venue of the Court Theatre www.courttheatre.org.nz
Favourite Thai, Keo Thai in the Carlton Court, favourite Indian, Himalayas Restaurant Columbo Street, favourite Japanese, Tony's on Riccarton Road
Go to the beach (Sumner)
Take a drive up the hill and over the other side to Govenors Bay and onto Diamond Harbour and perhaps come back via Lyttelton or for those of you who are fit hire a bike.
Day trips from Christchurch: wineries, Akaroa
Check out www.bookme.co.nz for discounted activities in the Canterbury area
Above all come and enjoy and as Lonely Planet recently said Christchurch Rocks
Feb 22, 2012 7:18 PM
9I was in Christchurch a couple of weekends ago for a family event. We were based in Methven, which is a small ski town about 40 minutes out of the city itself, but we still got to spend a little bit of time looking around.
The first day we got there we headed straight over the port hills to Akaroa. Akaroa is a beautiful French village, with lots of great places to eat, art and antique shops, and you can even swim with the dolphins. We ate at a fantastic Mediterranean tapas restaurant down one of the side streets. Akaroa is best seen on a nice sunny day. The cruise ships are now docking here because Lyttleton harbour is closed since the earthquake. This means there are a lot more tourists walking about, and makes for a great time trying to pick the accents as you walk pasts different groups of people! As you head over to Akaroa, try make a point of stopping at the little cheese shop in the first village over the hills – definitely worth the stop.
Driving around Canterbury itself is fascinating – especially in the Methven / Ashburton area where we were based. The roads are long and straight for miles! All intersections look the same, and there are probably 10 different ways to get to one place, although definitely some short cuts around. It’s quite easy to get lost … as we found out – out 20 minute drive home ended up taking us an hour and 20 minutes! I would suggest getting a Navman if you are staying outside the city for a few days. There are many lovely farms and crops to see (although they all look the same!) and they all seem to have massive sprinklers spread along the paddocks. Methven itself would be a beautiful place to see in the Winter, with Mount Hutt less than half an hour away for anyone keen on the snow.
Before we flew back home we made a point of spending a couple of hours looking around the city centre. We spent a bit of time driving around the outside of the cordons, getting as close as you can to the city centre itself, and then we parked up and went for a walk around. Although you can’t get right into the most badly damaged area, it’s clear to see the damage to the buildings that are still there – lots of big cracks up the side, broken windows, and empty building sites. The road also seems very uneven to me – I didn’t know if it was from the earthquake or if that was how it was beforehand. It is very eerie, incredibly sad, and I felt a little nervy being there. You see it all on TV, but seeing it with your own eyes is an incredible experience and makes it all seem very real. I was especially moved by seeing the ‘clear’/’not clear’ spray painting on the shop windows – to just imagine what it would have been like to be there makes you appreciate the devastation and heartache these people have been through. Although you can’t see a lot through the cordons, you can see enough to know there has been lots of demolition and cleaning work – as mentioned previously, it looks like a massive construction zone. I can’t stress enough how much of an amazing experience it was to have seen this place.
The new Cashall Mall made out of shipping containers in brilliant. They have done a great job here, and I hope this kind of innovation is used to build malls elsewhere. The public toilets are even in shipping containers! There are lots of awesome shops and cafes here, and something definitely worth bringing people back into the city.
The new airport terminal is also very impressive. Great places to eat and very tidy. I can’t wait to get back to Christchurch. We had a great time, my only regret is that we didn’t have more time down there to see more of what this amazing region has to offer.
Feb 25, 2012 8:14 AM
10I will coming from the United States (Texas) in a next week to perform a structural engineering investigation of a Christchurch structure and am really looking forward to meeting the resilient people I have heard so much about. I have received nothing but positive feedback from people who have experienced the area and wonderful residents of the area. I will be there for several weeks and hope to have enough free time to take in some of the sites. Any recommendations on "must sees" and any recommendations on a golf course I might enjoy? God Bless the people rebuilding the city.
Feb 28, 2012 1:12 AM
11If you have the time (& money) you might enjoy Terrace Downs, about 1 hour west of the city, near the Rakaia Gorge. http://www.terracedowns.co.nz/
I'm not a golfer but I believe Chch is a good place for golf - perhaps the Russley course in the NW of the city might suit. I'm not sure how the club membership thing work for visitors but there is a 9 hole public course in Hagley Park too. http://www.russleygolfclub.co.nz/index.cfm/VISITING_GOLFERS/GREEN_FEES
Finally there is Clearwater, another resort course on the NW edge of the city. http://www.clearwatergolf.co.nz/
Mar 8, 2012 6:42 PM
12We went to Christchurch last month in a campervan. Its an amazing city right now. The one thing we thought was really great about being there was that all the businesses that we visited and hired from were really appreciative of our custom. We got a particularly great reception from local company http://www.travelsavernz.com which we hired our vehicle from.
In my opinion Christchurch will bounce back!
Edited by: paddyrick
Mar 16, 2012 2:16 AM
13Was there for 2 days recently. Including on the anniversary day. Very moving ceremony in town.
As a frequent visitor to CHCH (every couple of years for many years), it was so sad to see the destruction of one of my favourite cities. Walked around the 'red zone' peering through the security fence. But, rest of city is trading - although some activities scattered to temporary premises around suburbs. Botanic Gardens are as good as ever, and the museum (a top regional museum) has an excellent exhibition re the earthquake. Very moving.
They lost about 8000 tourist beds so wise to book ahead to be sure. The airport and western suburbs largely unaffected, so the earthquake shouldn't deter visitors who use CHCH as a gateway to the rest of the fantastic south island of NZ. (Despite what the airport website says, they DO seem to be allowing people to sleep overnight in a part of the terminal. I guess due to the bed shortage in town.)
Mar 18, 2012 6:39 PM
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