We spent a week in Christchurch in June 2016.
We went from warm Kaikoura to freezing cold Christchurch. The hardest thing we had to do was unload the car. Man, I was freezing! Really shaking and unable to move or hold stuff properly, which is kinda bad when you’re carrying stuff – all the stuff you own, and it’s kinda heavy.
Family friendly place to stay in Christchurch
The house had enough heating devices to make us warm, including awesome duvets. We spent the week in this house. It was clean and comfortable and it was the biggest house we’ve been in so far. Since it’s big, it takes a long while to warm, but once it’s warm, it feels like heaven. It’s got everything, including space in the fridge and an oven!!! Can’t even count how many times we used it. The boys loved that it had a Play Station. We received the visit of 3 little mice during our stay, though. Luckily, they didn’t poop anywhere we could see and they didn’t mess with the food, which leads me to think they were only there for the warmth. Poor little things.
What to do in Christchurch with kids
I must say that Christchurch is a HUGE city, it needs a lot more than a week to explore it. Unfortunately, we had only a week.
So while we were there we visited:
- Thompson Park: it was walking distance from the house we were in, so we just couldn’t miss it. It’s a pretty cool playground, with a skate/scooter/bike ramp (a whole park, really) and a rugby touch field. There are some cool trees for climbing too. All in all, our kids spent most of the time at the flying fox, but we could spend a whole day there.
- Imagination Station: oh, a dream! Imagine a room full of Legos. Now imagine around 20 iMacs for anyone to use. Now imagine you don’t have to pick it up afterward and you need not fear to step on it at night. That’s the place. They do have a limited space, so they do ask people to leave after a while but when we were there, it was pretty empty. We got to spend hours there. Still, Coral, Angelo, and Melissa wouldn’t get up. They always found something else to do….
- Margaret Mahy Family Playground: just the greatest playground EVER! So far, anyway. We loved it. It’s still under construction, but it’s already awesome! The slide’s huge and fits comfortably 5 adults at the same time. I was kind of sad to leave it, but we were all freezing already. Such a shame we left it for after lunch.
- CDB walk: just a little walk around and you see so many amazing things! There are the buildings that were damaged in the earthquake, colorful little tin sheep for the kids to play (or sit), cool mirror installations where everyone can spend a lot of time playing, the beautiful streets, the parks,… Well, it’s just such a beautiful place! A great place to get lost in.
- Governors Bay: it’s a pretty place, with a beautiful bay. We were there for about an hour and we had an amazing – yet chilly – time.
What to eat in Christchurch
- Auntie Dai’s Dumplings: it was the first restaurant we tried (after Burger Fuel, of course). Oh, so good dumplings! Really really good one. Must try. The chilly sauce is another super good thing. Loved it. Everyone ate A LOT.
- Dimitri’s Souvlaki: a friend recommended it and we decided to give it a try. We don’t usually try any different food because our kids can be super picky depending on their mood, but man… it was good! First of all, it was huge. And it was super good. Only Coral (and she’s 4) didn’t finish hers, but she almost did. Must try.
- She universe: okay, so this is going to be a bit long. Just take a look at their menu. It didn’t work super well on my computer, but anyway, we had to try it. Angelo and Melissa had the kumara (which is sweet potato) patties, I had the super salad and the kids had the kids’ fish & chips. Everything was PERFECT. Oh so good! I just wanted to keep on eating. Then we all had to have desserts because it all looked so good! It was good, but the mains were just so much better. If you’re ever in Christchurch, you MUST go eat there. Just bear in mind that it’s a bit expensive.
Shopping in Christchurch with kids
- Dress Smart: Melissa needed some pants (I don’t know what got into her that she started growing like mad this last year… maybe adolescence). Dress Smart is just an outlet, and everything is a lot cheaper, so…. It’s smaller than the Auckland version, but it’s still worth the visit.
- The Drawing Room: we found this one while wandering around the city (or more accurately, looking for a parking spot). We all got crazy in there. It’s an art store, and it’s like all art stores, but we wanted everything. Luckily, we’re not rich, so we just bought some painting pads for Jose and Coral and black colored pencils for Melissa.
- Re:Start Mall: we bought the postcards there! Haha! We only went for the food, but since we were there, we spent some time walking around. It’s a container mall, where people restarted their shops after the earthquake damaged a lot of the city. Cool idea, and it looks so nice! I loved it. But, since it’s all open, as Joao said, maybe not the place to visit on a rainy day. And the parking lot there is super expensive.
To finish it…
I have one complaint: finding a parking space is super difficult anywhere in town.
During the week we spent there, we had an amazing weather, no quakes, great food, and everything we could have wanted. I LOVED Christchurch!
- City / Country
- Minimun Stay
- $ ~ $$$
- Best local transport option
- Do we recommend it?
- Christchurch / New Zealand
- One week!
- It’s perfect for kids all ages!
- Car, unfortunately.
- Super safe, unless there’s an earthquake
- A LOT!
It’s such a beautiful place! I would love to come back with more time! Just loved it! Have you been there? What’s your favorite place there?
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