I’m about to share with you the perfect “wintervention” to give you a much-needed mid-winter pick me up! Let me help to turn your winter blues into winter WOOHOO’s. I’ve got four days off of work and while that may not seem like that much time, its more than enough for a quick getaway out of Auckland.
Winter is well and truly upon us and most of us may have splashed a lot of cash throughout summer. What a lot of people don’t realise is that a winter get-away can be really affordable, less crowded and a beautiful time of year. I mean, come on, this is New Zealand we’re talking about, any time of the year you choose to travel is going to be picture perfect.
With that being said, where better to escape then the vibrant and urban city of Christchurch!
Novotel Cathedral Square
Whenever we get the chance to travel, we try to stay as central as possible. One thing I’ve learnt through my travels is that being able to walk around the city and staying close to all the action means you get to experience the sights, sounds and smells up close and personal; things you’d miss if you weren’t smack bang in the middle of it all.
There is no other hotel situated the way the Novotel is. I can sit in my window and look down on the remains of the Christchurch Cathedral. A thought-provoking reminder of what once stood in its place. Gaze out to the left and see the beautiful rolling mountains of Canterbury. The classic red trams roll past and stepping out, places you right within walking distance of contemporary art work displayed loudly across building walls. There are stores to satisfy the “shop-acholic” and the FOOD, there is more eateries in heart of Christchurch then there is in all of Auckland!
If you get the chance, stay in the Executive Suite with a King Bed for the best views of Christchurch (1308 is the room, we stayed in). We got the breakfast buffet included during our stay because I LOVE BREAKFAST FOOD. Oh and gym gear was packed too to balance out all the amazing food we’d be trying!
We love the flavours of Vietnam and “Hello Vietnam” was our first dinner spot in Christchurch. Generous portions and a super cheap eat, we ordered a couple of dishes to share! We ordered a fried rice dish and a curry, as it arrived at the table we thought “there is no way we’re finishing all this food” two huge empty plates later… Be warned large tasty portions that you won’t be able to refrain from eating. Remember before you go stretchy pants are a must because you’ll by the end of the night you’ll be waddling out of Hello Vietnam.
Rollickin Gelato Café
We came here for dessert twice over the course of our three-night stay! Rollickin has a retro vibe and even during the winter it gets so busy with a line out of the door! Don’t worry though there’s always a place to sit and enjoy your gelato or dessert! With blankets if you need them outside! I loved the birthday cake gelato; we also had a hot brownie with hokey pokey gelato! SO TASTY!
If you love Indian cuisine as much as I do, then you’re going to love this place! It’s another type of restaurant where you can order a few dishes and share it around. Again, portion control is non-existent, and we could have ordered a curry between us, but we wanted to try a couple of them! Two curries between us was A LOT, somehow, we managed to happily squeeze it all in though, oh and the rice and the naan!
This was the most recommended foodie spot online and through recommendations on social media. It’s a novelty café with a secret bookcase leading to the bathrooms, crazy tubes lining the ceilings and walls that enable you to have your food delivered via the shoot and lots of quirky eats and fun hot and cold drinks!
Red Light District
Have you ever heard of a speak easy? They were hidden establishments like bars and clubs that sold alcohol during the prohibition era (1920’s-30’s). The 1920’s was my favourite era and when I think of speak easy’s and the 20’s I think of glamour and rebellion. So, finding the Red-light district speak easy felt reminiscent of a past life. Unless you know what you’re looking for you won’t find it. Search up the Red-light district in your maps and keep your eyes peeled for a laundromat. You’re welcome!
The Last Word
After the Red-light district we visited the Last Word, conveniently located next to Rollickin Gelato Café for late night drinks and dessert. Another spot that is very vintage and quirky and upstairs feels like you’re at home having specialty drinks playing Ludo (we actually played Ludo).
The Little High Eatery
When you don’t know what you want for dinner just have a bit of everything! This eatery combines about six top foodie spots all under one roof. From dumplings to Thai to burgers! We ate here on the last night and absolutely loved it. Good quality eats and good prices too!
Who doesn’t love hot pools and a view of the alps! The drive is so easy and beautiful from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs. We forgot that we weren’t in Auckland and left early to “beat traffic” WHAT TRAFFIC! Another bonus.
The CBD of Christchurch has been transformed into a vibrant an urban city. Staying at the Novotel in Cathedral square allowed us to walk out of the front doors, jump on a couple of scooters and self guide ourselves around the city area. You cannot go very far without bumping into the most colourful and creative pieces of street art! I highly recommend jumping on the Lime scooters and exploring because the street art is everywhere and will allow you to hop on and off for the best photo opportunities! To get you started, begin with a ride down the length of Colombo Street where you’ll find many of the iconic pieces of street art of Christchurch but don’t be afraid to go exploring yourself.
Hot Air Balloon
If there was one thing we wanted to do on this trip, it was the hot air ballooning with Ballooning Canterbury. Hot Air Ballooning is quite a special and nostalgic experience for both Torrell and I so heading up in a balloon again was going to be magical regardless. We just had no idea how special it was truly going to be! With the expectation of seeing the landscapes of Canterbury we ascended well above the clouds surrounded by a rising sun, snow-capped southern alps and a glory bow (circular rainbow in the sky, down below we see half of this), it felt like the skies were expecting us and put on an amazing show of all things beautiful just for us.