10 Minute Read
Our time in Christchurch & Akaroa seemed to be over before it began. We had a great time there and found plenty of food to eat and activities to partake in.
Days 1-2: Christchurch, New Zealand
In the morning we walked to the Wellington airport (that’s a new one for us!) and took the 50 minute flight down to Christchurch, which the locals have lovingly dubbed, “Chch”. Hopped on the bus and made it to our Airbnb just south of the central business district (aka, CBD – kind of like what Americans call downtown).
We grabbed our groceries, made a little lunch, and walked to the CBD to explore what Chch was all about. We visited the shipping container shopping mall – very cool! – and some of the city center squares. It’s heartbreaking to see the damage some of the cathedrals suffered in the earthquake that happened here in 2011. Much of the downtown is still being rebuilt today.
We were pretty tired on day 2. We walked 6 or 7 miles the day before, so our feet were a little tender. Regardless, we sucked it up and walked back to the CBD.
We visited the Botanical Gardens, which was beautiful and huge. The weather was great, perfect for being in a garden. Plus they have a large rose garden. Visitors were all over the place.
Then we wandered over to the Cardboard Cathedral. Nothing about it is obviously cardboard but it was nice to see such unique building design on it. I think the major structural beams of the A-frame is made from cardboard, for those curious.
Next, we went over to Bacon Bros for lunch, which was darn good. Highly recommended. They even gave us a double discount for my mustache and Hayley’s red hair (follow them on Instagram for more behind the scenes shenanigans and discount offers),
After full bellies, we hopped the bus to the gondola ride up the mountain. The ride was a little spendy but the view was very nice. You can see the whole city and mountains in the distance. The whole Christchurch & Akaroa area is visually stunning from up there. Go on a clear day.
Day 3: Akaroa, New Zealand
On this day we visited beautiful Akaroa, just southeast of Chch. The road there is pretty sketchy and it was raining, so we took a shuttle. Akaroa is a terrific coastal town. It has a small, seaside feel and it wasn’t packed with people. We toured the whole town: historic cemetery, dock, and all the little store fronts. From there we filmed a couple of videos for our business because the background scenery is beautiful!
We stopped for lunch at The Bach (which is NZ-speak for cabin) and by the time we finished the rain had stopped and the sun was blasting! Then we ended up getting some wool gear: socks and gloves. NZ has many, many sheep, so buying wool products is the wise thing to do here.
Days 4 – 7: Christchurch, New Zealand
Today we pushed our luck a little with walking.
We walked another several miles to the farmers market at the other end of town. It was beautiful and the food was well worth the walk. We also visited a predator-proof bird sanctuary they have there. We always love exploring parks and green zones because it provides an opportunity to get away from all the noise and traffic.
On our walk home out legs got quite sore, so we took multiple breaks.
Why didn’t we take a bus, you ask? Because it’s $8 for both of us one way. That adds up over a week. This is all the more reason why it’s important to book accommodations near the stuff you want to do. Don’t always go with a lower price and think you can walk off the difference. Maybe you can, but it gets tiring walking 45 minutes in one direction every day.
Today was a workday. Big excitement came when an earthquake hit Chch. It felt like a big truck gentle tapped the house. Everything shook for a heartbeat, very odd feeling.
After the lazy day yesterday, we’re back on the road walking to breakfast at Black Betty. Highly recommended – food came out in literally 2 minutes.
After that we wandered back to the Botanic Garden to explore parts unknown (we missed the Heritage Garden the first time) and shoot a couple of Nice Minn videos. Well worth revisiting the garden. Then we walked the 40 minutes back home, only to return before noon! That meant we had plenty of time to work in the afternoon. Kind of a bummer but we need to stay on top of work.
This was our last day in Chch. We said goodbye to our hosts and did some work in the morning before heading to the library to wait for our bus. Caught it to the airport and took the 45 minute flight back to windy Wellington. Everything is so close together in New Zealand, which makes travel pretty stress free.
It’s good to be back in the green again. After getting zapped in Nelson on car rental, we were extra cautious about our spending habits. We kept pretty close to our budget, only really getting close in Entertainment/Misc, which tells us we got out and saw what we wanted to see and still stayed frugal in other realms of our trip.
When it comes to food, we’re always taking advantage of grocery stores and Airbnb-provided breakfast. Take a look at the Airfare – not bad for 2 round trip tickets! We got a cheap price on our Airbnb, which was very nice, but our legs paid a price in walking as much as we did. The exercise was nice, though.
Ranking Christchurch & Akaroa, New Zealand
- Affordability – Prices were affordable and the U.S. dollar is pretty strong compared to the NZ dollar, so overall we didn’t feel the sting from high prices. Plus, we got our exercise and avoided bus fares wherever possible.
- Cleanliness – Between the general cleanliness and all the construction, Chch was plenty clean.
- Food/Drink Options – More dining options than we cared to think about. They’re all over the place and decently priced.
- Friendliness – Everyone we met was friendly. The bus drivers were pretty good, too.
- Things to Do – Chch is a major city, and on that front it has plenty to do in the city limits. You can go out to eat, go to the park, play games, or just go for a scenic walk. There are some opportunities to partake in outdoor activities but you need to drive out of town a bit. Not the wonderland that Golden Bay is.
Ranking 3 out of 5 Mitts
Christchurch & Akaroa came in at an average ranking for us. It was fun to explore, but there was nothing that put it over the top compared to some of the other locations we’ve visited this far. There’s plenty to do and if you’re the city type, Christchurch is ripe with buzz-worthy restaurants, festivals and more. For us, a telling question we ask ourselves about every location is: “Would we go back?” For Christchurch, we feel one trip was enough.
Have you been to Christchurch & Akaroa? We want to hear about your trip. What was your favorite part? What should we have seen? Leave us a comment!
Read more recap posts from previous trips: