Why Christchurch is a must do!

It’s a bit daunting writing your first blog.  You’d think it would be pretty simple writing about something you are passionate about.  So let’s give this a try - read on Team 5!

Our 5 Day trips start and finish in Christchurch, the best little city in the South Island if not New Zealand.  It makes sense then, that we give Christchurch a plug to entice people to stay longer and see something very very unique that is slowly being lost.   We are especially appealing to people from Australia and our friends in the North Island, in particular Aucklanders.  Flights are relatively cheap, start by taking a look at Air New Zealand.

This scribe has grown up in Kaiaua just south of Auckland and now resides in Christchurch, Canterbury.  If you are from New Zealand you will understand the play on words when I call myself the “One Eyed Jafa”.  If you are an International guest, please be sure to ask a local what is meant by a One Eyed Cantabrian and a Jafa!

The devastation of the earthquakes that happened just over 5 years ago caused a change of perception to how people viewed Christchurch. Being an optimist I can only think of the positive perceptions that have come from these events.  Don’t get me wrong as we’d much rather not have had to go through these events, however how many cities get a second chance to rebuild itself?

You have a unique and urgent opportunity is to see what “creative Christchurch” has done to beautify the empty spaces that were previously occupied with some 1700 commercial buildings.  Whilst the city leaders and developers have been making decisions on these empty spaces, such initiatives like the Gap Filler Trust have been set up to manage putting up sculptures, gardens, street art, outdoor venues and so forth.  Even a department store called Ballantynes was a driving force behind getting a number of colourful shipping containers in and transforming them into shops and cafes.  This is called the Re:start mall and was done in an effort to attract more people to the city centre - which it has accomplished!

Christchurch Restart Mall

This unique opportunity is being lost because last year saw Christchurch transfer from deconstruction phase to a construction phase.  Before long these “gap fillers” will be gone and Christchurch will be just one big building site, albeit with shiny new architecturally designed buildings in amongst the mix.  At present I liken walking around the city of Rome with Christchurch, not because of the ruins, but because of the amazing sights you discover around each corner!

We may have lost about 60% of our accommodation due to the earthquakes, however this has changed dramatically and 5 Days is a happy to report that 2015 has since a big increase in new and innovative accommodation.  The Novotel is very central and a great place to stay.   Motel (For our American guests this tends to be a good standard of accommodation) accommodation is almost back to pre quake capacity and another great option.

Christchurch Street Art Spectrum Festival

The people of Christchurch love thier food, liquid (alcoholic and non alcoholic!) and coffee.  New places are opening all the time with area’s such as St Asaph street, Victoria Street, New Regent Street and Stranges Lane being very popular.  Check out  www.christchurchnz.com/wine-and-dine/christchurch-suburban-dining/ or good ol’ Trip Advisor.  Perhaps that could be the topic of our next Blog - Top 5 places to eat or Top 5 places to get a coffee?  Food and coffee - what a topic!

We have only touched on the central city, but there is so much more to see and do and it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money.  You could catch a bus to the start of The Bridle path walk over the Port Hills taking in breath taking views, go to Lyttleton Farmers Market and then catch the bus back to the city via New Zealands longest road tunnel!

Neil Dawson

So don’t be one of those “must do that one day” people and become a “live it now” person and book a trip with us at 5 Days or at the very least come and visit Christchurch!  How was my first Blog Team 5?  Comments welcome!