Our Christchurch

Want to know Christchurch inside out? Whether you’re a local or just visiting, here’s how to make Christchurch yours. We let you in on our favourite places to eat, drink, shop and party – and share the things that are getting us excited this season in The Hit List. Check out who’s saying what in Public Eye and discover Christchurch City from top to bottom in Explore.

Also in this category: Fav Places, Explore, Public Eye
Cityscape Our Christchurch
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Time get your rock star on with swagger like Jagger? If you know where to look Christchurch can hook you up, excess-wise. Live large enough for 36 hours to make Kanye jealous, and let the little people take care of the bills! 1) Belt out some tunes If you’re gonna feel properly rock star, you’ll need to perform for your adoring fans first. Hit up the specialty, high-tech karaoke set-ups at Ancestral or Host Restaurant and Bar and put in a performance that will all have eyes on you (where they belong!). 2) Champers, natch OK, the gig is done; off to an appropriately late dinner. Only champagne will do, so head to Bloody Mary’s (above) and order yourself up some Dom Pérignon Rose Epernay France 2000 – at $750 a bottle, you should probably get two. Goes down a treat with their 700g Canterbury Angus, 21 day aged grass-fed,...
Cityscape Our Christchurch
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Whether you’re pro-restoration or keen to see something new up in its place, it’s hard to go past the currently deconsecrated church when handing out awards for the city’s most prominent landmark, well known building, and most enduring symbol. Knocked up over forty years (40!) between 1864 and 1904, it was the initial brainchild of the earnest colonial gentlemen of the Canterbury Association, and designed by the prolific British architect George Gilbert Scott (who, letting his drawings do the talking, never actually set foot in the city). Local legend Benjamin Mountfort also did some tinkering when he began supervising the project in 1873. Earthquakes are nothing new for the building – they took multiple damaging swings at it in 1881, 1888, 1901, 1922 and of course, September 2010, and although the building lost the top of its steeple a couple of times, it soldiered on as a symbol of the...
Cityscape Our Christchurch
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How did we go this long with a column called The Iconic without featuring the country’s Arch-Wizard? Move over, Gandalf; the Wizard who’s really most indelibly associated with New Zealand is undeniably a Christchurch icon – as much an integral part of the fabric of the city as Hagley Park and asking people what school they went to. The magic man who’s been classified repeatedly as a ‘living work of art’ has been a feature of the central city since 1974 with his entertaining, lively and outrageous public speaking, efficacious spell-casting, officiating, battles with bureaucracy and soulless corporations, Imperial-Army-marshalling, philosophising and heritage advocacy. That he nearly decamped permanently to Oamaru post-quakes would have been a loss nearly as grievous as that of any historic building, and it does the heart good that you can still spot him up to his mysterious, wizardly business during lunchtimes in New Regent Street, or...
Cityscape Explore
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It’s hard to imagine buttoned up, pre-quake conservative Christchurch embracing epic street art murals, and yet here we are now five years later in the running for the title of ‘ The Southern Hemisphere’s street art capital’. Add the recent re-openings of local art palaces The Christchurch Art Gallery and CoCA alongside the hugely popular SPECTRUM Street Art Festival and the city’s flourishing suburban gallery and underground scenes, and Christchurch is booming as an art hub. Cityscape caught up with the people behind the city’s resurging art scene for the lowdown on Christchurch’s revamped art cred and what the future holds. An event as big as the quakes couldn’t help but affect the city’s art scene just as much as it affected all other aspects of life in the city, notes Centre of Contemporary Art’s (CoCA) new director and principal curator Paula Orrell, reflecting that the ‘contemporary’ has been redefined....
Cityscape Our Christchurch
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Make the most of this summer with Cityscape’s ultimate bucket list. 1 The great outdoors Make tracks on the Crater Rim Walkway from Evans Pass to Godley Head, where jaw-slackening panoramas of the city, up the coast to the Kaikouras and over Banks Peninsula meet a great workout. Make a night of it – jump in the car and head over to Lavericks Bay for a spot of glamping in the pristine surrounds of Canopy Camping’s luxury campsite (pictured above) – a mere 15 minute meander down to the beautiful secluded beach, or bask in the colonial glory and historical elegance over at Governors Bay Hotel. 2 Drink it in OK, so we’re calling it – Dragons Den Social Lounge’s SOMO Southside is our summer cocktail of choice. Hayman’s gin, lemon, mandarin, mint and agave – what’s not to like? 3 HO, HO HO! Get primed for Chrissie with the CSO's...
Cityscape Our Christchurch
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We’d say that high teas are all the rage, but rage isn’t nearly civilised enough – better to say that high teas are the done thing right now. High-society ladies, tired of waiting between meals, coined the afternoon or ‘low tea’ as a socialising snack-fest, but calling the 2015 reboot ‘low tea’ when it’s all about silver service, glam frills, and pinkies-off-cups would be frightfully coarse. The highfalutin’ teas on offer around the city offer the chance to take tea (and fancy sandwiches and sweet treats) in elegant style. Grab your monocle or bonnet and get into it: out in Lincoln, the Tea House offers the ‘Royal’ High Tea treatment, also available with champagne; bubbles are an option with the Stellar’s (above, right) High Tea as well, while The Grand Café’s version at Christchurch Casino (above, middle) offers ‘three tiers of treats’ (the tiered tray is compulsory at these occasions, naturally), Terra...
Cityscape Explore
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The local art scene did it tough for a while after the quakes, with lack of suitable spaces in particular a real problem, but necessity being the mother of invention (particularly in resilient art circles), we’ve seen it bounce back well, with artistic havens popping up in all sorts of places. With the work of so many outstanding local artists showcased within easy reach, there’s really no excuse for not knowing the local talent – so get out there and uncover the next big thing! Svetlana Orinko, Japonica Blossoms: Bryce Gallery. Central City We may be waiting on the Arts Centre, Christchurch Art Gallery (soon!) and CoCA Gallery (very soon!) to re-open, but that doesn’t mean the central city is bereft of art – far from it. There’s plenty of spectacular new street art to check out, but a whole host of formal establishments, too. Drop into the unique Auricle sound...
Cityscape Explore
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Cityscape has a look at a few of the old Christchurch buildings getting a new purpose.   We’re all thinking ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ – right? But it’s hard to compete with certain local entrepreneurs and business owners who have taken this line of thinking to a macro scale by repurposing and rejuvenating some of the city’s old buildings. With local architectural history taking a bit of a thrashing in recent years, it’s good to see there are still plenty of places you can go in the city to inject a bit of old-fashioned character and charm into your day.   QB STUDIOS Cityscape’s new HQ, Qb Studios – once a nondescript 80s warehouse facility and then a mechanic’s workshop – has recently been gussied up good and proper, with the building’s original shell now housing modern modular office units that are home to a range of funky businesses. There's also a...
Cityscape Our Christchurch
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Another same-old summer approaching? Not good enough! There are just no excuses for numbly sitting around with the sweet number of opportunities for excitement that our city serves up within easy reach – push some personal boundaries and maybe discover a new favourite pastime.Green Days Catapulting the game of golf into the stratosphere, Terrace Downs Golf Course offers up some brilliant challenges among its 10 lakes and more than 60 bunkers. Even keeping your eye on the ball can also be challenging when you're surrounded by the stunning views overlooking Rakaia Gorge from the base of the Mt Hutt Ranges. Looking for something more active? Try your hand at canyoning, claybird shooting, fishing, hunting, horse riding, jet boating and white water rafting. www.terracedowns.co.nz Water World The team at Groundswell Sports in Ferry Road have everything you need to get into a bit of windsurfing, kitesurfing and stand up paddle boarding. Take...
Cityscape Explore
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Post-quake Christchurch has gotta be one of the world’s best blank canvases for street art, and the recent RISE Street Art Festival and plenty of big building owners getting into the spirit of things (nice one, guys) have been painting the town. The still-rebuilding Theatre Royal, Les Mills, Canterbury Museum, and The Colombo are just some of the sites arting up our city. Here’s our pick of the best and where you’ll find them. 124 Peterborough Street 167 Lichfield Street 169 Gloucester Street 203 Cashel Street (Les Mills) 268 High Street   370 Colombo Street   Canterbury Museum   CPIT, Madras Street   YMCA, Hereford Street   The Colombo   Les Mills (front)   Isaac Theatre Royal (Gloucester Street)      ...