Christchurch is re-emerging as one of NZ’s most exciting cities…everything has been reimagined and a big Welcome Mat has been rolled out at the airport.
One year on from the February 2011 earthquake, the city is on its way to returning to a vibrant and cosmopolitan place to visit. According to Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2013, Christchurch is sixth on the world’s top 10 cities to visit – the only city in New Zealand picked for the world recognition.
LP says quirky new bars are ‘popping’ up all over the city and many of the local’s favourite restaurants are re-opening in new locations. An innovative new shopping area named Re:Start, made up of brightly coloured shipping containers, has opened in the central city, giving a home to some of the much loved, displaced stores from High Street and Cashel Mall.
If you’re heading to the South Island, definitely spend a few days in the Canterbury Region. There’s still plenty to do, and you’ll be supporting the new businesses inspiring Christchurch’s renaissance.
Lonely Planet reports on two neighborhoods that are thriving. Dubbed SoMo, the area ‘South of Moorhouse Ave’ is Christchurch’s most dynamic neighbourhood. Addington features the urban chic of the Addington Coffee Co-op, while Simo’s Deli serves excellent North African street food.
Addington is also the city’s new hub for live entertainment. Christchurch’s iconic Court Theatre has relocated into a restored warehouse and Dux Live has opened as a music venue. Also in Addington, the buzz is about the planned redevelopment of the Wood’s Mill heritage building as a hip bar and restaurant precinct.
To the west in Sydenham, the Honeypot Café and Burgers & Beer are both popular refugees from the still-closed Central Business District (CBD), and we’ve also heard rumours of new restaurants and arthouse cinemas opening up nearby.
Gay-owned Designer Cottage is located in Sydenham. The area was virtually untouched during recent quakes, so it’s a good place top be based as you visit the other parts of the old/new Christchurch.
According to the Rainbow Tourism Accredited operators, there is considerable demand for Christchurch accommodation, and booking ahead is strongly recommended.