7 Killer walks (and epic recovery venues)
Sometimes great views and the satisfaction of tackling one of the city's top walks in the glorious spring sunshine isn't quite enough to get you out of the door, which is why Cityscape has come to the party with a few more reasons besides! It's time to reward all that effort – our walk and 'recovery' matches are guaranteed to put a spring in your step!
1) Bridle Path
Kick things ol' skool on the granddaddy of Christchurch's walks; people have been traversing the thigh-busting steepness of the original route between Lyttelton and Christchurch since the 1850s. Clock the views then celebrate your victory portside at Freeman's (below) in Lyttelton with a well-earned beer/wine and pizza on their deck, or nip back the other way over the hill and keep things historical at Heathcote institution the Valley Inn Tavern, where you can enjoy a seafood platter and sav blanc in the beer garden.
2) Rapaki Track
Another Port Hills fave, this old Maori walking trail is an easier graft than the Bridle Path. At the top, take in expansive views over Quail Island and then the city and coastline on your descent. Back on the flat reward your efforts with some world-class pampering at Lotus at Siam Thai Day Spa (below, a hot stone massage will work out those kinks), or sack out in the sun with a coffee (or something more medicinal) and a treat at The Brickworks.
3) Scarborough Walk
Short and steep – soak up cliff-top views across Pegasus Bay all the way to the Kaikoura Ranges from Whitewash Head – home to the resident spotted shag population. Start at Scarborough Park and follow the signs to Nicholson Park. Head back on Flowers Track and enjoy immediate relief via Clink's (below) sensational seasonal mocktails (upgrade to a boozy classic as required), or tap The Cornershop Bistro's legendary eggs benny or brioche French toast.
4) Diamond Harbour Cliff Track
Take in the sights as you delight in the gentle amble (mostly) along this picturesque cliff track. Start in Church Bay and make your way to Diamond Harbour, or head straight to Diamond Harbour and walk as much of the track (it goes all the way to Purau) as you're up for, then make a beeline for The Rough Diamond Café where fierce home baking, slick menu offerings and Three Boys on tap awaits.
5) Woolston Wharves and River Walk
Discover how the Heathcote River would have looked before European settlement, and check out the sites of wharves and jetties where Christchurch's produce was loaded and unloaded in the early days on this stroll down memory lane. Pop into Three Boys Brewery and take home some more recent history at this multi-award winning bastion of the beloved amber ale.
6) Riccarton Bush
Stroll through ancient stands of 600-year old Kahikatea trees set in 12 hectares of native forest, parkland and historic buildings hidden in the city. If it's Saturday, hit the Christchurch Famers' Market (or Riccarton Market a bit further down the track if it's a Sunday). Regardless of the day, Trevinos Restaurant & Bar (below) provides a worthy respite, with their bodacious Mediterranean fusion fare and exceptional selection of cool, refreshing beverages.
7) Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail
An easy sell, the Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail combines a cornucopia of world-class vineyards, historic farms, and Greening Waipara Biodiversity Trails, along with the historical steam train at Weka Pass Railway – it's all set to the stunning backdrop of the main divide. While not on the Trail, Pegasus Bay Winery and Restaurant and Waipara Hills Winery (below) are worthy detours and considerable rewards for trail-weary walkers.