Day One – Christchurch
The first time I came to Christchurch, I was in a pretty awful state. Having just finished a month of non-stop party-bus mayhem aboard the Kiwi Experience and after departing Queenstown – arguably one of the greatest places to ever welcome me with open arms with each hand clutching a bottle of Tui lager – I was thoroughly depressed that my time in New Zealand was coming to a close. Then imagine my utter dismay when I arrive into Christchurch only to find a city in ruins, flattened by the September 2011 earthquake. It deserved my complete sympathy and condolences, what it got was a broken man, whining and moping around its empty streets for the two days that I was there.
Needless to say, it needed a more empathetic approach from a three-year matured Joey this time around. With the help of the cutest Kiwi girl I’ve ever known, we were given a driven tour of the most earthquake-affected parts of the city as well as the outer beaches of Brighton and the port town of Lyttleton. I no longer see Christchurch as that depressing reminder of the end of the greatest time of my travelling life, it is now an interesting entry point to any South Island adventure.
Alarmingly, one of the only buildings in the area unaffected by the earthquake despite being the tallest, this hotel provided great views across the city with modern interiors, a great location and probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in!
Go into the Central Business District and see the large scale destruction of the earthquake that shook the entire city and claimed 185 lives back in 2012.
This exhibition located in Re:Start City Mall in the center of town is a great place to see interactive displays, videos and things dug out of the destruction.
The port of Christchurch, this hilly area has a few cool craft beer pubs and some great views across the city.
Who knew that Christchurch had a sandy beach located just outside of its crumbled city center?! Well, it does, and it’s lovely!
Where to eat:
Dux & Dine, Riccarton
The only place in Christchurch that I ate but oh man, this is definitely a local’s hidden treasure! Freshly caught New Zealand seafood and an old country house interior, this spot is well worth the drive outside of the city. Try the Blue Cod, it’s a local specialty and is well presented here with potato gratin and creamed spinach.
Day Two – Lake Tekapo
My previous visit to Tekapo was a fleeting one, a 5 minute stopover on the way from Queenstown to Christchurch – however, it only takes a second to take your breath away. The most turquoise waters you’ve ever seen, surrounded by miles of desolate land, fringed with snow capped mountains, you’ll never see anywhere else like it!
Peppers Bluewater Resort
With the appearance of an alpine ski lodge and a view to die for, this resort really has the most enviable location in the whole of Tekapo. We had a one-bedroom suite, which could have easily been somebodies holiday rental home. Cosy and comfortable with a balcony overlooking the lake, I’m not sure whether we just got lucky or whether a stay at this resort is just one big lucky break!
Church of the Good Shepard
Located on the edge of the lake, this church has amazing views of Tekapo and as it still functions as a church, you may be lucky enough to catch a wedding (as we did!)
Head up to the observatory for an amazing 45 min walk around the summit of Mt John, providing awe-inspiring views of the lake and the surrounding mountain range.
Where To Eat:
One of those granite slab ‘cook-it-yourself’ joints but with a difference – all of the produce offered is locally sourced, meaning that meats come straight from the surrounding hills. Ensure you attempt ‘The Challenge’; 400g of Mackenzie raised beef, served with chips and vegetables.
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