It’s been just a few years since the devastating earthquakes ravaged New Zealand’s oldest capital, but Christchurch is much better described as a city in transition than a city in mourning. Inner city neighbourhoods, that were once derelict, are experiencing regeneration and gentrification.
Addington, for example, is emerging as one of the city’s trendiest areas post-quake and has even been dubbed SoMo (South of Moorhouse Avenue), a name strikingly similar to Manhattan’s SoHo, which pertains to new and repurposed neighbourhoods in New York.
Nearby is Edesia, which boasts a mix of classic European and regional dishes served with a modern twist, making it a new favourite for top quality dining. Other great precincts for post-quake eateries are Victoria Street and Sydenham.
For a unique retail experience, visit the Re:START Mall on Cashel Street, which was built on the site of a former pedestrian mall destroyed in the most recent quake. Around 60 shipping containers have been transformed into high-end shops and cafés that boast a vibrant palette of exterior colours and innovative design.
New Zealand has long been celebrated as one of the globe’s wine destinations and just a 30-minute drive north of Christchurch city is one of the land’s fastest growing wine regions. Waipara Valley produces some of New Zealand’s most distinguished wine. The area is home to a vast number of wineries, but a visit to Pegasus Bay Winery is definitely recommended.
The authentic family-owned business has recently been rated one of New Zealand’s top five wine producers. It also caters to discernable diners, holding the title for the nation’s best winery restaurant for the fifth consecutive year.
Further north lies Hanmer Springs, a quaint resort village in the Alps, where Mother Nature transcends the dichotomy between relaxation and adventure. While natural hot springs and spa services cater to more indulgence oriented therapy, the mountainous landscape offers bungy-jumping, mountain biking and skiing – a kind of therapy for the not so faint-hearted.
A two-and-a-half-hour drive out of Christchurch is the town of Kaikoura, where New Zealand’s renowned natural beauty defines the landscape. Snow-capped mountains meet the rugged coastline, while sperm whales, dolphins, fur seals and albatrosses are among the abundant marine life that reside here.
The Coffee Co-Op
Addington’s rejuvenation is thriving with the emergence of trendy cafes, restaurants, theatres and live music venues. The Coffee Co-Op on Lincoln Road has emerged as one of Christchurch’s busiest cafés, serving an impressive breakfast menu and superb coffee that is roasted on-site.
Words: Abbie O’Brien