Whether it’s a quick ‘n’ easy cheap-eat, gourmet dining or something in-between, Christchurch is a city that can tingle your avant-garde taste buds, or fill an empty tummy for next to nothing.
To get the best tips on where to eat, ask around – otherwise head for the city centre or Victoria Street where you can find virtually everything from a gourmet serving of fresh Bluff oysters to fat-drenched takeaway kebab wrapped in tinfoil.
Christchurch has long shed its little brother culinary moniker and now boasts top-end eateries that rival Auckland and Wellington. The Victoria Street precinct houses a number of top restaurants, including Moji Restaurant www.moji.co.nz, which has scooped a number of national awards for its nosh.
For something a little more relaxed without compromising quality, the city’s many gastro-pubs are the way to go. Take your pick but nestled in the antiquated former university grounds is vegetarian restaurant and microbrewery Dux de Lux (Latin for Masters of the Finest) www.thedux.co.nz which has been a local favourite since the late 1970s.
Meanwhile, for that quintessential kitsch experience, tuck into the Kiwi favourite of “fush and chups” on New Brighton beach and watch the surfers and fishermen go about their business. If the generous takeaway portions are too much, a flock of hungry seagulls will happily polish off any remaining fish and chips chucked their way.
Most of the city’s bars and clubs worth visiting are clustered in and around the city centre. Locally known as The Strip, a row of a dozen or so establishments on Oxford Terrace – on the banks of the Avon River – is a popular destination for the 20-something crowd looking for a night of drinking and dancing. For those looking for something a little more sedate, numerous wine bars and cafes fill the centre. If it’s wine you’re after then head for the hills.
Although overshadowed by the grape growing prowess of Marlborough, the Canterbury region boasts several top vineyards, many of which welcome visitors with tours and tastings. Main Divide www.maindivide.co.nz and Pegasus Bay www.pegasusbay.com are notable drops from the region with their vintages scooping awards around the globe. And of course there’s coffee – which Kiwis take very seriously. Sample a flat white from any of the cool cafes in the centre and ride the caffeine buzz for the rest of the day.
The water from the tap in New Zealand is fine to drink