Christchurch is probably BEST known to most as the “Garden City” of the South Island in New Zealand; but best known to ME, as home ❤

Although it shaped my youth and feel like I know it like the back of my hand, it’s ALWAYS changing, and when I was there a few weeks ago, I got to review it with a fresh and FIT perspective! So, if you’re planning on traveling the scenic South, MAKE SURE you don’t give the little city with a HUGE HEART a miss on your schedule.

Christchurch: Central City Map



Christchurch was severely impacted by the big Earthquake of 2011, and while it’s injuries are still obvious; it remains a beautiful city. Staying at Hotel 115 meant that I was IN the middle of the city, and could easily walk my way around the main attractions such as: The rubble of the one great Christchurch Cathedral, the ‘White Chair’ grave yard to signify the love and loss, The Cardboard Cathedral, the old Cashel mall, the Avon River,  RE:start Central Mall and all of the cool and quirky cafe’s around New Regent Street. If you get tired, there is the occasional tram too.


You are SPOILT for choice with at the selection of GREAT coffee joints in Christchurch central city, but my pick was 1000% The Caffeine Laboratory tucked onto a corner of New Regent Street. Not only do they have a simply stunning brew, but their breakfast menu is both TASTY & HEALTHY. Acai bowl fan? Yes. Poached eggs? Well done. Another old fav is Black Betty Cafe at 165 Madras Street. They give you options of slow drip coffee, pour-over, syphon coffee and aeropress. It might sound fancy, but one thing is for sure: this is your coffee lovers mecca. Monday – Friday, there are literally lines out the door in the morning as workers grab their java for a BIG day ahead. Plus, the staff are rockin’ and the food is crackin’


Essential of a healthy holiday is to get some RELAXATION, and Christchurch has offers! While I opted for a 1 hour whole body pamper at Hotel 115 in between coffee with a friend and my cousins 21st; there are other options in the area ranging from Thai Massage, Boutique style at the iconic Heritage Hotel or Body Central where you can get a clinical massage.


My go to for HOT yoga in Christchurch, has and always will be Flow Hot Yoga. Located close to the CBD, they offer 4 styles of stretch, and have competitive rates. Get there, get sweaty, get downward-facing-dog.


This is my FAVOURITE walk for two main reasons 1) It’s Coastal 2) It’s far-far-FAR away from any hustle-and-city-bustle. Plus if you still have energy, you can hike up and over the hill to the gun emplacements of Port Lytellton. Ace. If you’re not into the coast, then take a look at this link for Christchurch’s other TOP walks.

Taylors Mistake: The view on the way to Godley Head


Love your Pump/Body Balance/Spin classes? Well, they originated by design of Mr. Phillip Mills, son of 4 time Olympian, Les Mills. He opened his first gym in Auckland in 1968, and now his workouts are loved by MILLIONS and available all around the world! Get in for a casual class pass, and enjoy an iconic part of New Zealand history. If you want a good combination of Yoga, Thai-Chi and Pilates you can’t go past a session with in-house instructor Samantha Jane who not only will give you a great session, but is also a running coach and studying to be a nutritionist to complete the package. First class ticket to HEALTH.


Best done just off Ferry road on the way to Sumner beach, Groundswell Sports will supply you with gear AND lessons, and is a short walk from the BEST place to get some wind in your sails. Great views at sunset, and loads of cool eateries close by after you’ve worked up an appetite!


Another home fave, is to spend some time pacing the sand between these two iconic spots. You’ll see some sad views of the cliff side; but feel overly refreshed by the ocean breeze and the local community which keeps this inlet alive. While I don’t have any links for you to follow, it’s EASY to get here via car, bike or public transport – just ask around the friendly locals.


You can hire bikes in the city centre at a few different spots, but I went to City Bike Hire in Sydenham which also rents ELECTRIC bikes if you want to scoot around, but legs might begin to suffer.


STILL on the {mostly} vegetarian scale, I sought out Christchurch’s BEST offering’s for HEALTHY, vegetarian food and did I succeed? YES! The Lotus Heart has changed location since pre-quake, but it’s food, prices and ambiance are still keeping the zen flowing outwardly. The menu is extensive, the prices are favourable and the desserts are divine… I can make personal recommendations on the anti-pasto platter, the masala dosa and the refrito wrap. Also, the raw vegan desserts are a MUST fo share. The location is also easy walking distance from the CBD, and it gets BUSY – so make sure you book!

Second venue, is Duxe Dine based on Riccarton road – great for pr or post shopping at the nearby Westfield. I tried the Haloumi & Quinoa salad which had some great flavours, but there are PLENTY of other options on the menu too.

Anti-Pasto Platter at The Lotus Heart

So there we have it, the TOP TEN of Christchurch, now READY to add to the start (or end) or any NZ travel plans. To do it nicely, you’ll need two days planned out like this:


DAY ONE: Start by grabbing a quick breakfast at Black Betty Cafe and make sure you have your active wear on. Head out to Sumner and learn to windsurf with Groundswell Sports. Grab some lunch, and enjoy a walk along the beach (Sumner to Scarborough). Ice Cream optional.  Ready for some more action? Head up the winding roads towards Taylors mistake and get your walking gear on to summit Godley Head on the beautiful scenic walk. Stick around until sunset and enjoy the drive home after peak hour traffic has faded. If you’ve got time, sink in for some gentle yin-yoga at Flow Hot Yoga and ease your aching muscles before heading to the Lotus Heart for a beautiful dinner.

DAY TWO: Get yourself down to Les Mills for a Body Balance class with Sammy J, and get those muscles activated for ANOTHER big day. Breakfast & Caffeine? The Caffeine Laboratory has you sorted and will fuel your day! Head into the CBD for a cool walking tour of the city, then hire a bike so you can get a little further. Try riding riverside so you don’t get lost, and you’ll defintely get some leg work done! Another place to ride by is the botanic gardens and Hagley park – stunning! After two BIG days, it’s time to wind down with a full body massage at Hotel 115, before you head out for perhaps a littel shopping and a hearty meal at Duxe Dine. Oh, and if you want sugary treat after all that hard work..,. you can’t go past Sugar Baby Cakery for a cake jar. No they aren’t sugar free. or vegan. or calorie free… but they are a “SWEET AS” way to end your journey in little Christchurch and prepare you for the next stop on the road.


Hope you enjoyed reading those insights as much as I enjoyed EXPLORING them!! If you’re thinking of putting Christchurch on the list, feel free to get in touch, and I’ll give you some great insider knowledge to make sure you love my home town as much as I do.

Love & Light,

Monique Elouise xx