This is the second half of my guide to the shops, restaurants and things we got up to during our two-week trip to New Zealand. The below concentrates on the second part of our trip, visiting both Christchurch and Queenstown, two distinctly different but wonderful stops in NZ.
If you missed the first half, make sure to click through and read what else we got up to on the South Island – there is plenty to see!
Without further ado…
One thing I forgot to address in my first post about New Zealand was getting there! As you spend a good 24 hours travelling to this country, it’s most definitely worth bringing up! We flew with Thai Airways, stopping for a quick layover in Bangkok along the way. Getting up and being able to walk, eat and even catch an extra few zzz’s is great.
Our journey was comfortable, with amazing options for movies (important when you’re up in the sky for that long) – which might be why Thai were voted World’s Best Economy Class last year. Flights from Heathrow to Auckland start from £685pp, making it one of the cheapest ways to get to New Zealand, too!
Christchurch is a city going through a lot of change. In 2011 a violent earthquake destroyed huge parts of the city, meaning that the centre and surrounding areas had to be rebuilt. Seven years later and you can still see the effects – you won’t have to look far to spot a building site or heavy machinery, but you really shouldn’t let that put you off!
Their resilience totally shines through the building work. You’ll find artwork all over the city, adorning parts that would have looked a little worse for wear without it. There are new restaurants and shops opening regularly – the city is full of life and renewed opportunity.
Shut the Front Door
We spotted this interiors haven and had to go in for a snoop, despite the fact there wasn’t much chance I’d be returning to London with a new armchair in tow. Of course, they stock smaller things too (one of their amazing prints would have been perfect rolled up in my case – regrets!) – definitely worth a visit if you’re looking to pick up a gift!
If you ask for any recommendations for Christchurch, chances are C1 Espresso will come high up on the list. It’s a really cool restaurant in the premises of an Old Post Office, set up here after their original place was destroyed in the earthquake. They’ve utilised the Post Office fixtures and fittings to offer something unique – when you order curly fries or other items from the menu, they arrive to your table via pneumatic tube! And it’s not just a gimmick, the fries are great too! Come here for an amazing brunch experience.
If you love stationery, and filling up your house with things that you don’t necessary need, but you need, then pop to Pepa Stationery in the Arts Centre. Full to the brim with inspiring design from around the globe. Another notepad couldn’t hurt, could it?!
If you’re an ice cream aficionado, make sure you stop by Rollickin’ Gelato. They have really awesome experimental flavours – the one I picked out had coconut and little pieces of pastry and custard, which was a first for me! Their menu is always changing, so pop by and I have no doubt one of their flavours will take your fancy. Perfect to cool down after a hot day in the city.
We flew from Christchurch to Queenstown, and the vibe couldn’t have been any different. All of a sudden, it felt as though we were in a ski resort, surrounded by mountains covered in alpine trees. Some of the views reminded me of Norway, with it’s fjords. Queenstown is the gateway to adventure – you can see it all around you, from giant cable car taking you to the top of a mountain, to endless options for waterspouts in the lake. The perfect place to visit if you like spending your time outdoors, and love a bit of adrenaline thrown in for good measure.
Our time in Queenstown started as every trip here should, with a Fergburger. These famous burgers are so popular that you’ll find yourself queuing for a good while (make sure to order ahead for pick up like we did!).
As it was hammering with rain when we got ours, we walked our takeaway to a nearby bar on a boat and sat and scoffed them with the best view. I’ve eaten a good few burgers in my time, and whilst I can’t quite proclaim Fergburger lives up to the hype, it’s certainly a Queenstown institution worth visiting!
Onsen Hot Pools
Queenstown isn’t just about the fast pace. The Onsen Hot Pools have become an Instagram sensation, so much so, that you have to book in advance to secure yourself an hour slot.
It’s the most romantic of ways to spend an hour, as you can sip tea or champagne whilst looking out onto the surrounding mountain ranges in your own private hot tub. I could have spent all day here!
The Original Bungy
Nope, that’s definitely not me in the picture! Did you know that the first ever commercial bungy jumping site is right here in Queenstown? The Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge is the place it all started in 1988, so definitely one to tick off if you’re a thrill-seeker.
I didn’t fancy jumping off a bridge, so instead did the zipline also available here. If you’d rather just watch, that’s fine too – this gorge is where they filmed the Anduin River for Lord of the Rings fans!
Steamship Lake Cruise
If jumping off a bridge is slightly too fast paced for you, let me suggest a trip around the lake on a vintage Steamship. The average age range of participants might be slightly higher, but this was perfect for Liv and I.
We stood looking out of the window at the stunning views as the boat made it’s way round. The 1hr30 trip is extremely relaxing, and the perfect way to take in the sights from the water.
Bespoke Kitchen is the ideal brunch spot. With a great menu full of fresh options, as well as a counter full of the best looking cakes and sandwiches you’ve ever seen, it’s a must-do if you’re in Queenstown. My eggs benedict with twice cooked house fries went down very well.
A few things that I HAVE to fit in before the end of this post!
If you’re in Queenstown, get yourself to the Cookie Time Bar! It became our favourite place, and we’d stop by every evening for fresh hot cookies on the way back to our hotel. If there is one reason I’m coming back to New Zealand, it’s to eat more Cookie Time!
On a similar sweet note, make sure to head to a local supermarket or corner shop to check out the amazing selection of chocolate. The local Whittakers is a must, but also the range of Cadbury’s flavours is unrivalled! They even have Dream bars! Brb, moving to NZ.
This might sound weird to any NZ locals reading, but if you spot a Glassons store, make sure to take a look inside! I guess it’s the NZ equivalent of New Look or something similar, but I picked up some really cute pieces after wandering in, all at amazing prices.
My stay in New Zealand and all experiences were courtesy of Tourism New Zealand, but all opinions are my own!