Christchurch: New Zealand’s Comeback City

discover christchurch
The colourful containers of the RE:START Mall.
Several years on from the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, Christchurch is bouncing back. Here’s the inside scoop on what to see and do in this newly-thriving city.

The Cardboard Cathedral
Debate continues over the future of ChristChurch Cathedral, badly damaged after the 2011 earthquake. To fill the void, the Cardboard Cathedral was opened in 2013. Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, this temporary structure – built using a variety of modern construction materials, from cardboard tubes to timber beams, structural steel and concrete – provides a symbol of hope and a place of hospitality and worship for the city and wider community. To view upcoming, events and services at the Cathedral, head to its website.

Over 50 boutique stores and food outlets, located in colourful shipping containers within the heart of the city. Re:START was a way of breathing life back into the CBD after the 2011 earthquake, but the mall has become a hugely-popular tourist spot in its own right. Open Monday – Friday: 10am – 5.30pm and Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 5.00pm.

Gap Filler Projects
A seriously cool initiative, Gap Filler plugs vacant sites within the city with cool, creative projects. Since 2010, the team have helped establish temporary cafes, live music events, poetry readings, outdoor cinemas and more. Because projects are constantly changing, the best way to discover what’s happening is to check out their website.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Christchurch is fondly known as the Garden City and for good reason – there’s an abundance of beautiful parks and charming residential gardens dotted all over the city. The Botanic Gardens are one of Christchurch’s most visited public spaces. Wander through on foot or discover their beauty from the water – Avon River Punting Tours float right through their floral splendour. If you’re planning a visit to Akaroa (1.5 hours drive from Christchurch) don’t miss The Giant’s House, home to colourful, oversized mosaic sculptures.

Port Hills
Only 10 minutes from Christchurch city centre, the hills provide a seemingly limitless network of tracks for walking, running and mountain biking – not to mention views that stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Southern Alps. Full track details can be found on the Christchurch City Council website. Make sure you check the status of tracks before you head out as some routes remain closed due to rock falls.

Banks Peninsula and Akaroa
Beautiful beaches, a thriving artisan community and a vast network of walking and biking tracks are all good reasons to spend a day (or longer) on the peninsula. The small seaside township of Akaroa is home to boutique shops, craft galleries and delicious dining options. Another great way to discover the peninsula is to cycle the Little River Rail Trail, which runs from the edge of Christchurch to the township of Little River (approximately 49km). If you feel your legs aren’t up to the full distance, you can choose to ride shorter sections of the route and we can provide transfers to various access points for the trail.

Watch Andy showing TV journalist Jack Tame around Christchurch
Just before Christmas, Andy helped Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism and TV journalist Jack Tame film a short video about the awesomeness of Christchurch. Take a watch…

Don’t forget…Natural High is located in Christchurch. You’ll find us on Harewood Road, close to Christchurch International Airport. Pop in for bike hire, to book a tour or just to say hi!

Top image: Re:START Mall. Shelia Thomson.