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Christchurch and Canterbury Travel Guide

and Restaurant Reviews

Christchurch’s restaurants are sophisticated and diverse. There’s an established Asian influence and you can find everything from Cajun to Indian. cuisine is a serious contender in its own right, blending the best fresh-and-local ingredients with Asian-Pacific tastes. Restaurants in the city are usually open every day; if they do close it is either Sunday or Monday. Outside Christchurch, restaurants are more likely to close on Monday and Tuesday and during the winter.

The Waipara Valley is seeing a surge in exotic food production. North Canterbury is now a key producer in the country’s fledgling black truffle industry. Locally sourced saffron, hazelnuts, manuka (an indigenous kind of tea tree) honey, olive oil, and ostrich meat are making their way onto area menus.

Christchurch and Canterbury Reviews

No matter where you stay in Christchurch, you’ll find some of the best lodging in New Zealand. The two main motel strips are along Papanui Road and Riccarton Road, both outside the city center. Most of the bigger hotels are in the central city; although the more substantial lodges tend to be out in the hinterland. Many accommodations do not include breakfast in their room rates. Reservations are most necessary in summer, on public holidays, and during rugby game finals.

Outside Christchurch, it can be hard to find a place to stay in summer, especially over the holidays. If you’re planning on going to Akaroa, Hanmer Springs, or Waipara during peak season, be sure to reserve well in advance. Bookings can also be heavy in winter around the ski areas and during school holidays.

The Central City “Red Zone”

Resolute to the core, the people of Christchurch and Canterbury want it known that the city is open for business and visitors are welcome. Some affectionately refer to their city as the “donut city,” with a big hole in the middle and all the action round the outside—and until the “Red Zone” reopens that will remain true. But Christchurch has also been presented with a unique opportunity to redesign the city from the center outwards, allowing a new low-rise built environment and large areas of inner city parklands where rebuilding is not possible. In the meantime, the areas north of city center, such as Merivale and Riccarton are good bases for exploring.

Side Trips from the City

New-Zealand-Akaroa-outdoor-dining.jpgLyttelton, a sleepy port town, was very badly hit by the earthquakes. The biggest loss, historically, was the Timeball Station where ships would make sure their chronometers were accurate by checking them when the large ball at the Timeball Station was lowered. By mid-2012, Lyttelton town should be open for visitors, but in the meantime Governor’s Bay and farther round to Diamond Harbour makes a nice half-day drive from the city. You can also catch a boat for a cruise from the port.

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