Christchurch is rapidly changing so let's look past the tried and true attractions and tune in to what's hot in Ōtautahi.
Get beyond the classics and think outside the squares for cool hangouts, lesser-known outdoor activities, and workshops for adults and kiddies alike - for free or cheap.
1. Biking the Avon Ōtākaro Forest Park - aka Christchurch Red Zone
The Avon Ōtākaro Forest Park was, before the earthquakes, the residential zone following the river course, east of the CBD. This area has now become a massive patch of lush greenery, only 2.5km from Cathedral Square. Simply grab your bike, the kids, pack a lunch, a bag for foraging goodies, and set out to explore. One of the highlights along the forest's trails is the beautiful Richmond Community Garden -where you can volunteer or just sit for a picnic.
2. Slacklining and highlining
Slacklining is similar to tightrope walking but done on a suspended flat webbing strip fixed between two anchors. Christchurch is home to New Zealand's only dedicated slackline park, right in the CBD - on Manchester St between Cashel St and Hereford St. The result of the collaboration between Gap Filler and a very active local slacklining community, this is the place for everyone to get into this fun practice. For families with little ones, head to the park and get them on the Ninja Line set especially for them.
3. Overnight adventures at Packhorse Hut
For an outdoor half-day or overnight adventure, head to Packhorse Hut, on Banks Peninsula. This is the closest hut to Christchurch, only a 40-minute drive from the CBD, and can be reached after a 1.5-hour hike suited for families with children. The jaw-dropping sights from this peaceful nine-bunk hut will make you forget about technology and city-life. Prep your backpack, bring a book, a picnic, and let go of the daily hustle - even if only for one night. For an overnight trip, you must book your stay. The hut's fee is $15, and it's recommended to plan and confirm a few weeks in advance as it fills up quickly.
4. Drumming shows and workshops
If you've ever considered learning to play an instrument that's not only thrilling but also creates a sense of connection and belonging, then West African Drumming is for you.
With affordable or free workshops and performances all over Christchurch, the crew at Dekaworwor are talented, welcoming, and always keen to share their love for music. Join in and be ready to play, dance, laugh and follow the flow - who knows, you may end up drumming at the beach before summer is over.
5. New Brighton Hot Pools - He Puna Taimoana
He Puna Taimoana is a complex of five heated pools, a steam room and a sauna, just metres from the pier. Beautiful and brand new, it's quickly becoming a top choice for local weekenders and visitors determined to claim their slice of chill-by-the-sea. The pools are open daily from 10am to 8pm. Bookings are compulsory as the day is divided into 2-hour sessions to guarantee the best uncrowded experience.
6. Yoga events
When it comes to creating a sense of community among locals and visitors, it doesn't get better than Kotte Aguilar's yoga classes and events. Christchurch's favourite teacher is back this season with gatherings that help make yoga accessible for everyone. From yoga & wine to cat yoga, outdoor meditations, and classes for kids get your summer spirit back in shape, unwind and have fun.
7. Cool hangouts and sunset vibes
Launch your nights at any of these cool hangouts around town. Get your hop-fix or your pinot sorted, dig some cool tunes, and bless the summer bliss. A top spot to watch out is Level One, a rooftop bar with sea views, great ambience, and excellent music sets. You can also head to the all-times-classic Dark Room with live gigs most nights, and Exchange Christchurch is a creative hub with a wide range of social activities and live performances.
As you can see, there's more to the Garden City than meets the eye. Head to New Brighton for sunrise and surf, climb the Port Hills at sunset, hop on the Lyttelton gondola, sunbathe at gorgeous Corsair Bay, and check out the local markets. Most importantly, create your own version of summer, one thrill at the time.
To explore more things to do around Aotearoa, visit newzealand.com. Before starting your adventure, please check current alert level restrictions and adhere to the Government guidance provided at covid19.govt.nz