Top 5 Things to Do in Christchurch, New Zealand

Top 5 Things to Do in Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand has had it’s share of troubles in the past few years. The last time we were here was 2011 after Two large earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks resulted in much of the city having to be demolished. At the time we were not able to access the city. This time, we found that the residents of Christchurch were some of the Most welcoming people we have met during our time in New Zealand and although parts of the city were blocked off at the time of our visit (July 2014), we still had a jam-packed 3 days in the city.

Even after these huge events there are still plenty of things to do in Christchurch, and these are below, in no particular preference…

This is my top 5 things to do in Christchurch

Take a Tram Ride

The ticket shop for the tram was located only a few minutes around the corner from the Novotel Christchurch at which we were staying. The Tram actually drives through the shopping mall where the tickets are sold which is an ingenious feat of engineering when you see it.  Much of the tram lines were damaged in the earthquakes but this line from New Regents Street and the Botanical Gardens still runs.

Christchurch Tram

There is excellent commentary on board and you certainly learn a lot about Christchurch and it’s history.  The ticket is hop on, hop off and is great value for the day.  On our trip, 2 wizards dressed in Lord of the Rings style garb actually boarded the tram with staffs aloft – something you won’t see every day.

See the Botanical Gardens

At the end of the Tram trip we arrived at the botanical gardens. The gardens are located on the River Avon and welcome over 1 million visitors per year. There are many walking trails and you could easily spend a few hours here. One of the highlights is the Native New Zealand gardens with stunning ferns and native plants. Also, don’t forget to take a trip to the Visitors Centre which was opened in April 2014 and encompasses a cafe with delicious food and botanically themed gift shop which has lots of very nice gifts to bring home. The visitors centre is also a hub for the operational side of the Gardens, with a working nursery, potting shed, herbarium and reference library.

Go Punting on the Avon

We noticed a few signs along the river for Punting. Now, I never punted in my life so I didn’t know what I was in for but it was to be a memorable experience. On a chilly July afternoon, the temperature was about 8C we got to the offices for ‘Punting on the Avon’ and we were welcomed by a chap in 1920s style clothing, we paid and were welcomed on board and given a blanket and 2 hot water bottles which was a really nice touch.

Punting on the Avon, Christchurch, New Zealand

The trip was about an hour from the time we arrived and we got to see the River Avon at a very relaxed pace, while listening to some local history. This was one of the highlights of the trip to Christchurch, as well as being the most relaxing.

Visit the ReStart Mall

One of the terrible outcomes of the earthquakes were that many of the shopping malls were either demolished or are currently unusable. Retail outlets have used an ingenious method for getting back on their feet. Using steel shipping containers, outlets have been able to re-open with great effect.

Restart Mall, Christchurch, New Zealand

Not only is the ReStart mall a colourful and enjoyable place to shop but the stores which are there give great value. We did some of the best shopping in the ReStart mall. Also, check out the Hummingbird Café for great coffee and food.

Eat at Cafe Valentino

After the walking, shopping and punting you will be hungry. If you are looking for good food in Christchurch, you have to eat at Cafe Valentino. Great food, extensive menu and great staff. The mussels were on special on one of the evenings and on the other it was a chicken dish.

Christchurch in conclusion

Christchurch is one of the places which, before I went, I wasn’t sure what to expect and also I wasn’t sure I would enjoy. To me it was just the place we were flying into. But, having been there, having seen the city, having met the people … I flew in so that I would fly back again soon.

It is a great place to visit and I wish I had more time to spend there and with the great people of Christchurch

 

POI Map for Christchurch, New Zealand

The map below shows the above 5 locations which may help with your trip to Christchurch.

Top 5 Things to Do in Singapore

Top 5 Things to Do in Singapore

Top 5 Things to Do in Singapore

Singapore is an amazing city to visit and in this post I have outlined some of the Top 5 things to do when visiting the city of Singapore.

Ride the Singapore Flyer

One of the icons of Singapore is the Singapore Flyer – you can see it from all the major areas and if you are staying in Singapore, its worth visiting. The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel and is a stunning 165m high. (30 metres taller than the London Eye in the United Kingdom). As the Singapore Flyer turns, you get visual 360 degree view of the city of Singapore landscape and historical landmarks. The Singapore Flyer gives you breathtaking views of the Singapore River, Raffles Place, Merlion Park, Empress Place and the Padang – it is also worth visiting at sunset. The ride on the Singapore Flyer takes about 30 minutes and if you time it right you can get day and dusk views of the city from the Singapore Flyer.

For the more adventurous, you can enjoy a dining experience on board the Singapore Flyer if you wish.
Visit http://www.singaporeflyer.com/ for details of the Singapore Flyer.

Flight Simulator Experience

If you have been on the Singapore Flyer (or you find yourself in the environs of it), you might want to try your hand at flying a plane. You can take command of a Boeing 737-800 NG in this 100% realistic flight simulator. The cockpit is exactly as per the 737-800, with overhead panel, rudder and throttle controls, complete avionics, full auto-pilot etc and almost exact flight model to the 737-800 series jet. You get full instruction from your co-pilot who is fully trained on this aircraft simulator and can help you get the most from the flight simulator experience. This flight simulator is exactly the same as pilots use for flight training and you can choose from over than 20,000 worldwide airports (I chose to fly into Kai Tak at Night – the old Hong Kong airport where you flew over the houses to land … see more below) and use the same operating procedures as the real airlines. No experience necessary as full instruction will be provided.You can get 30 minute to 2 hour flights, and if you do this, you should really get the DVD which is only S$20 extra.

I did the 30 minute flight from Hong Kong international to Kai Tak (now decomissioned as an airport but was one of the most iconic landings in recent flight history). I then had time to do a touch-and-go at Dublin Airport followed by a Full Stop Landing. (However the Traffic Collision system onboard, TCAS, told me that I came with 1km of an inbound flight which wuld have been frowned upon in real life). Thanksfully, all my landings were completed successfully and I was told to perhaps consider taking some lessons as my insructor said flight skills were very good. I hope to upload some of the flight video very soon…
Visit http://www.flightexperience.com.sg/ for details of this excellent flight sim attraction.

Take a City Tour – Tour East

When in Singapore you should certainly do a guided tour of the city, especially if you are on a brief visit. The reasons for doing a city tour are two fold, (a) Singapore is a very busy city and it would be hard to cover everything if you were only in the city for a short time and (b) it can get quite hot in Singapore and getting from one sight to the next via an air-conditioned bus is most welcome.
The tour company we used was Tour East and the sights covered the Mer Lion, the Thian Hock Keng Temple and Chinatown, a Local Handicraft Centre. One of the highlights of the Singapore City Tour is visiting the National Orchid Garden located within Singapore Botanic Gardens – you get 45 mins here but if you didn’t stop at the handicraft centre you could easily have over an hour here. The final stop of the tour is at Little India, a bustling Indian hub within Singapore. If you want you can pay a little extra to take in the Singapore Flyer (a giant wheel similar to the London Eye … see below)
Visit http://www.toureast.net/singapore/sight_sin1.html for details of the Tour East Singapore Tours

Eat in a local restaurant and a walk around Clarke Quay

One of the best things about Singapore is the excellent local food, great sea food and plenty of choice. There are many restaurants around Clarke Quay, a busy venue worth visiting in the early evening and on into the night ; it becomes a buzzing nightlife area after 6pm. Clark Quay is nice to walk the circuit before you make your decision on food as all tastes are catered for, from Indian, Japanese, Italian and Chinese food, Look for the restaurants with the most locals as this is usually a good indication. We found the “Jumbo Seafood Restaurant”. Excellent food, try the fish in ginger and spring onion dish, the fresh juices and the fruit platters to finish.

Check out http://www.jumboseafood.com.sg for details on the Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, Singapore

Get a fish pedicure while you have a Back Massage

On Level 2 of the Singapore Flyer complex you can get your feet manicured and nibbled at by tiny fish … and you can get a great back massage as this is happening. The fish foot spa is where Doctor Fishes or “Garra Rufa Fish”, give you a pedicure you won’t forget (and they do a great job too). The back massage is excellent and reflexology is also provided in this area … don’t forget to try out the chinese tea if you are there for a while.
Details : Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa, Located at: Level 2 of Singapore Flyer Complex, #02-08 : Tel: (65) 6565 0303 :: Open Daily from 10am – 11pm

Recommended Hotel in Singapore City

Singapore is a fantastic city to visit and if you are planning to go there and you are looking for a good hotel, then the Fairmont Singapore is worth looking at…. check out the review of the Singapore Fairmont Hotel on this site for more details !

  • Singapore Flyer 90%
  • Flight Simulator Experience 100%
  • City Tour 85%
  • Clarke Quay 93%
  • Fish Pedicure 80%