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Christchurch romantic getaways, short staycations in the garden city

Gently flowing Avon river with inviting cafes and boutique precincts.  Reimaged contemporary architecture combined with plenty of attractions and things to do, Christchurch is an ideal place for a romantic getaway.

4 days
3 nights

Trip Overview

Start Christchurch
Finish Christchurch

HIGHLIGHTS

Christchurch gardens, picturesque Avon river, urban funky vibe and an eclectic range of attractions is the hallmark of a getaway focued on you and your partner. Share moments wrapped up together floating down the Avon or celebrate in style in an eatery located in a repurposed Tannery.

  • Punting the Avon river is a classic; a must-do attraction
  • Hop onboard the Botanic Garden caterpillar for a guided highlights of the gardens and share a rug together
  • Riccarton weekend market is hilarious with car boot sales, collectables and live music. Free entertainment and plenty of gift ideas
  • Wine trip exploration of Hurunui district
  • Outdoors buffs have the Port Hills, beaches and gardens to stroll

BEST TIME TO GO

The best time to visit Christchurch is October to April. Spring is a peak season with the garden city offering visitors a glorious botanical display of colour.

Start Christchurch
Finish Christchurch

IN A DAY ROMANTIC MOMENTS ON THE AVON RIVER

Punting in the rain, River Avon, Christchurch, New Zealand
Punting in the rain, River Avon

Some things are meant to be on holiday and one of those moments is punting on the Avon River. It is an unforgettable romantic thing to do.

Christchurch water sports take the slow lane. Not a jet ski or jet boat in sight, rather it’s elegant Edwardian clothing, a pole and a slowly guided punt on the Avon river.

The punts replicate the original 1880’s punt design with plush velvet seats and the punt guide is attired striped pants, braces and boater straw hat. As there is no motor, relish the quiet with the only sound, a pole dipping in the water. Enjoy the perfect couples holiday vibe.

MID-DAY OR WHENEVER THE MOOD TAKES YOU

The Botanic Gardens is magnificent with glades, leafy avenues and the Avon river flowing alongside. Hop aboard the Botanic Gardens garden caterpillar; it’s fun. Enjoy the informed commentary. The guide will stop for photo moments and point out places for great selfie moments together. Set the scene with lunch …

CURATOR’S HOUSE

A touch of Spanish heat and elegance within the Botanic Gardens. Traditional Spanish cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients supplemented with produce from the home garden creates a spectacular summer al fresco experience. In winter a cosy fire adds glamour to the chill of Christchurch evening. Guests are invited to wander through the heritage home and gardens adding to the experience.

@Curators House Restaurant
@Curators House Restaurant
Abberley Park, Christchurch, New Zealand @KeteCCL
Abberley Park @KeteCCL

ABBERLEY PARK

Abberley park is a suburban haven and a quiet surprise. Discover the joy of a mature garden with its babbling stream and scented garden originally designed for the blind. The park’s main entrance is located on Abberley Crescent in St Albans, there are also access points on Ranfurly Street and Kinleys Lane.

  • Adults will enjoy the meandering stream framed by mature flowering borders with plenty of seating to relax into the shared moment

… read more about  Christchurch 14 top picnic spots – Best Bits

TIP

While the Port Hills image of picnics and couples enjoying the magnificent views is tempting, the Port Hills are exposed to the elements with a stiff breeze common throughout the year. The Port Hills lack of vegetation results in the risk of exposure to the summer sun or blistering winter wind.

 

IN A DAY WEEKEND MARKETS, WINDOW SHOPPING … &  ENTERTAINMENT

Christchurch is a very walkable city with flat wide pavements in the city centre and laneways inviting visitors to pop in for a peek at the offerings. Christchurch market hopping and shopping – Best Bits is one of the city’s top attractions with the Riccarton classic car boot sale selling objects you didn’t know you needed for the fun of pop up food stalls and live entertainment a must-go weekend activity.

Christchurch Arts Centre & Shops are a great place for a crafty exploration for the unique object. The Arts Centre is adjacent to the vintage tram stop and nearby Botanic Garden and Canterbury Museum. The heritage buildings now house a variety of speciality art and craft stores together with a well resourced visitor centre.

Christchurch Art Centre, New Zealand
Christchurch Art Centre
TIP

Check out the gift store in the nearby Christchurch Art Gallery from inexpensive made in New Zealand souvenirs to substantive books. Wander along the art deco gem of NEW REGENT street with its gift stores, streetside cafes and everything in between. The street is a confection of pink and green 1920’s facades adding a touch of ‘Napier to Christchurch.

 

NIGHTLIFE

Christchurch nightlife is a speak-easy bar, a basement that is hard to find, a rooftop bar with a view and a tramcar where dinner is served. Read more about where to find a craft beer, a rooftop bar or where the grownups go to play at night.

 

Isaac Theatre Royal @NZ Venues
Isaac Theatre Royal @NZ Venues

ENTERTAINMENT

Hidden in Christchurch’s suburb of Addington is New Zealand’s largest and oldest theatre company, The Court Theatre

The Isaac Theatre Royal has a grand history in Christchurch. The theatre was built at its current site in 1908 and is the only operational Edwardian style theatre left in New Zealand.

Christchurch Symphony Orchestra The largest professional orchestra in the South Island, performing a new and exciting programme every year

The Piano – Centre of Music and Arts is a key cultural hub in Christchurch.

… check out Christchurch art galleries, artisan outlets & art scene – Best Bits

IN A DAY – INSPIRATION FOR FOODIE LOVERS

One of the exciting things to do in Christchurch is to explore the foodie scene. Delve into the bustle of Riverside market. Fresh produce, speciality stores and artisan bakeries share the indoor space of Riverside. Grab some foodie treats and enjoy sitting with the locals on the precinct’s stairs leading to the Avon River.  Little High is a contemporary space where pacific fusion meets contemporary kiwi fare from curley fries to pork coriander dumplings. An alternative outdoors / indoors space food destination. The choice is yours.

Read more about Christchurch brunch, lunch and anything in between.

For wine trail buffs enjoy a day exploring what the North Canterbury, Hurunui wine and food trail has to offer visitors.

Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. Tourists and locals gather at the busy new Riverside Market in the city centre on a gorgeous sunny afternoon
Riverside Market

IN A DAY VISIT A SPA RESORT, HANMER SPRINGS

Take a scenic drive through rolling farmland, past tempting North Canterbury wineries and onto  sub-alpine high country vistas that lead to the pretty resort town of Hanmer Springs. What to do in Hanmer Springs is indulge yourself. Highlights include a leisurely soak as nature’s geothermal waters gently cocoon you. The perfect reason to go nowhere. Hanmer is sensory. Relax into the day in one of the world’s great spa resorts.

BEGINNINGS

On the road early (8.30 – 9.00am) ready for a breakfast / brunch to get the energy going. Amberley is a great place for a pit stop with Little Vintage Express a well known local favourite. Rustic mismatched furniture and communal spaces offer visitors an imaginative cafe style menu showcasing local ingredients. Growers are identified and the menu caters for all tastes and food groups.  What’s more adorable than the Easter closing notice facebook photo.

On the road with just over an hour to Hanmer. Check out Weka Pass What’s so great about Weka Pass what to see and best things to do andbeguilded by the thought of a heritage train ride. Bucket list Weka Pass as holiday inspiration for the next time.

ARRIVAL HANMER SPRINGS

Late morning you will arrive. Now it’s about the Hanmer Experience

… read more about a day in HANMER SPRINGS

Hanmer Springs @Stuff
Hanmer Springs @Stuff

It’s a long way to Iceland and why bother anyway when we have our own treat…

Hanmer Springs, New Zealand @Stuff
Hanmer Springs @Stuff

The best time to visit could be considered winter. The snow is carpeting the ground with a biting alpine southern wind funneling through Hanmer. Winter outdoor heaven is the ski fields, outdoor adrenaline things to do contrasting with heavenly indulgence soaking in constantly warm mineral springs.

Hanmer is an alpine playground for the adventurous to jump, kick and thurtle themselves off, a quiet forested reserve for leisurely strolls and a world-class geothermal treat to add that special magic. Who needs to go to Iceland when Hanmer Springs offers the bundle of hot, cool and darn right freezing as one delicious melt the toes package.

Hanmer Springs is classic Kiwi outdoors, a touch of pampering (or a lot depending on your preferences) and spectacular scenery to gorge on. A great location for a week or two exploring the Hurunui district is a great idea. Historic villages dot the landscape and the Waiau river valley is an adventure hotspot with rafting, jet boating, kayaking, bungy jumping, quad biking and off road treks nicely rounded out as an all season destination with two ski fields, Mount Lyford and Hanmer ski field

… learn more about Hanmer Springs Hanmer Springs travel guide, activities, what to do & see: Best Bits

Waiau River Ferry Bridge @CanterbutyWeatherUpdates
Waiau River Ferry Bridge @CanterbutyWeatherUpdates

WEATHER

Cherry blossom at Hagely Park Christchurch, New Zealand
Cherry blossom at Hagely Park Christchurch

Christchurch Central Weather Forecast and Observations

Summer is from December to March February with warm days and extended daylight hours. Summer temperatures between 21c to 26c. Winter kicks in with chilly blasts in June through to late August. Winter temperatures between 14c to 10c. During the night there are regular frosts.

WHERE TO STAY – LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

  • The Avon River and nearby Arts Centre is an ideal location as it is within walking distance of key attractions such as Christchurch Arts Centre, Riverside Markets, vintage train stops and urban weekend markets.
  • Accommodation surrounding the massive grounds of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens is leafy alternative. Check the location if you are planning to go carless for the staycation

FOR ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN CHRISTCHURCH CHECK OUT

Avon River, Christchurch, New Zealand @Michal Klajban
Avon River, Christchurch @Michal Klajban

GETTING AROUND

  • Check out the Christchurch Travel Guide for details. Christchurch is a relatively flat city with dedicated cycle lanes and an excellent public bus network connecting to most key attractions

 

BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE

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