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Wanaka vs Queenstown

  

Queenstown nz

Located just forty minutes from each other (depending on just how many beautiful landscape photos you decide to stop and take as you pass over the Cardrona, of which you will want to take a lot), these two small South Island towns are often likened and compared to each other. Both located in the Central Otago region, they both attract a large number of visitors during both the winter and summer months, and have become the tourism central of the South Island.

Queenstown is widely renowned as the “adventure capital” of New Zealand. With an urban population of just over 14,000 residents, this town usually accommodates 80,000 people at a time due to the large number of tourists and travellers it draws in. It has become one of the most expensive places to live because of this, with one of the lowest average incomes per capita as most of the work is in tourism. There is no real “low season” in Queenstown as it sees large numbers flocking to the area for hiking, swimming, water sports, jet boating and canyoning, and in winter it is a very popular ski and snowboard resort. New Zealand offers a whole plethora of weird, extreme, unusual and adrenaline pumping activities, and while they can be enjoyed all over the country, absolutely any activity you can do anywhere else, apart from Glacier tours, you can also do from Queenstown in one form or another.
Some of the more adverse activities in Queenstown include the luge - a downhill go-kart style activity, using only the power of gravity to power your cart as you admire the postcard perfect view from Bob's peak while trying not to fall off the road, and bungy-jumping, which was first commercially available from the historic Kawarau Bridge, just a short drive from the city centre, and there is an option to bungy-jump above the town itself at Bob's Peak from The Ledge Bungy.
Queenstown always has a vibrant and iridescent young crowd which drives the economy there. Because of this, there is the possibility to go out and party until 5.00am every single night of the week, with a large number of pubs, clubs and bars of every variety to accomodate for everybody. While there are a lot of hotels, there are also a lot of hostels to support the younger travelling community, and as a result it is a “city that never sleeps”.
One of the biggest draws to Wanaka over Queenstown is that it is so much more peaceful and quiet. While there is still a large party scene, most of the people who want to indulge in the carefree party lifestyle will opt for Queenstown, allowing the residents of Wanaka to have a more peaceful night's sleep. Wanaka also attracts a large number of visitors in every season and has access to some top quality ski and snowboard slopes, but has somewhat less adventure activities in summer as Queenstown takes the spotlight and the majority of the crowd with it.
While there are much less adventure activities, Wanaka is in a fantastic location for hiking and walking. Queenstown is also good, but Wanaka has such iconic spots as Roy's Peak (which appears on many New Zealand postcards and travel pages) and Mt Iron, and it doesn't take long to leave behind the city lights and immerse yourself in the countryside, even without a car. Accomodation can often be a little more expensive in Wanaka as the focus is on quality over quantity to adhere to the needs of the more mature crowd, and there are a number of high quality and luxurious restaurants all over the town.
Both towns are located next to big and beautiful lakes and amongst some jaw dropping Otago landscapes. If you're looking for the young crowds, the party life and the daring adventurous activities, Queenstown is probably the best option if you have to decide between the two locations. If you prefer a quieter, more relaxed and laid back stay with more hiking trails and less chance of a hangover, Wanaka is probably a better place for you, although both towns will surely accomodate your every need and desire, and as they are located so close to each other, there really is no need to choose at all.

 

The Tongariro Crossing

  

Tongariro crossing

The Lord of the Rings franchise has inspired many tourists to visit New Zealand so that they may grace the mystical lands of middle earth with their own footsteps, and as a result the tourism industry in New Zealand has seen a rise since the release of the movies.One of the most iconic spots for fans of the films to visit is the Tongariro Crossing, located just to the south of Lake Taupo. While this is extremely popular among hikers, scramblers, and nature lovers alike, it also attracts those who want to visit the movie setting for Mordor, and those who wish to scale the side of Mount Doom.

The land of Mordor is actually part of the Tongariro National Park (sometimes referred to as just “National Park” as this was the first national park to be established in New Zealand), and Mount Doom is really an active stratovolcano which goes by the name of Mount Ngauruhoe, which is quite difficult to pronounce for those unfamiliar with the Maori language. Maori legend says that it was named after Ngatoro-i-rangi's slave, who died from the cold before the fire that Ngatoro-i-rangi summoned from his homeland arrived in the form of Ngauruhoe.
The crossing itself is a 19.4km trek through the national park which typically starts at the Mangatepopo car park and finishes at the Ketetahi car park. It is possible to complete the walk in reverse, however this requires a little more time as there is a overall greater altitude incline as the Mangetepopo car park is considerably higher than the Ketetahi car park. If you pay for private transport from Taupo, you will always find that the tour companies drop you off at the Mangetepopo end and pick you up at the other.
The first half of the walk, if started from Mangetepopo, will see you scrambling over the dramatic volcanic landscapes that represent the land of Mordor in Lord of the Rings. As you ascend up “The Devil's Staircase” you will notice the vegetation drop away until you are walking across great plains of exposed rock between the Tongariro peak and the Ngauruhoe peak. You will then ascend even higher until you emerge at a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking the green sulphur lakes and the Red Crater. This is a good point to stop for a break, to admire the view.
From this point, the walk is largely all downhill, descending down the volcanic landscape and entering into thick, lush rainforest, and taking you past some steamy sulphur outputs and trickling streams. The landscape diversity on the walk is really amazing, and it feels like several different walks all in the same place.
The scramble up Ngauruhoe is a difficult 2-3 hour return that you can add onto the walk if you wish, and you will feel like it is two steps up, one step down as you are constantly scaling loose gravel which slips underfoot. Many people who attack this mountain are underprepared and encounter lots of problems, so make sure that you only take on the mountain if you are physically fit and feeling capable. Ensure you have sturdy footwear, which you should for the walk anyway, and plenty of water, sunscreen, and protective clothing.
Conditions in the mountains can change very quickly, and you should always be prepared for every weather condition imaginable. Start the walk with warm clothing, waterproofs, light clothing, and a first aid kit in case of any small emergencies. Also ensure you have plenty of water and food as the recommended walk time is seven hours (without the Ngauruhoe side trip), although this ranges between roughly five hours and eight depending on your physical fitness. Walking through Mordor was never supposed to be easy, so do ensure you have decent footwear that will support you in tough terrain. In winter, you may also need snow shoes and ice axes, and you should check with the local DOC office before you start for updates on weather and the equipment you require. Lastly, it is well worth checking the DOC websites on the day that you decide to do the walk to see that they haven't closed it due to bad weather or due to volcanic activity, and also make sure you take the time to read the signs in regard to the safe evacuation zones which are dotted along the walk.
The Tongariro crossing is an absolute must for anybody who is into nature or is visiting New Zealand to visit the movie set. Add this to your itinerary and you won't be disappointed.

Taranaki

  

Taranaki

For a lot of visitors, the Taranaki region is a little too far out of the way to include on their itineraries. With places such as National Park and Taupo taking the spotlight and all located conveniently in a line down the middle of the North Island, most people will simply drive by the entire region on their trip down the Thermal Explorer Highway and beyond to Wellington. What the locals know, that perhaps the visitors don't, is that they are really missing out.

Dominating the entire West Coast is Mount Taranaki, also known as Mount Egmont. This almost perfectly symmetrical stratovolcano, on a clear day, will absolutely take your breath away. Maori legend says that Taranaki used to belong in the middle of the North Island with the other three main peaks, Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe, but Tongariro and Taranaki were having a love affair and so Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe banished him to the West Coast. The Maoris also use this legend to describe the bad weather on the West Coast, as Taranaki is always crying about the loss of his lover, hence all the clouds that usually linger around the top of the mountain. What this does mean is that those who are travelling to the region often spend their entire stay without seeing the top of the mountain.
But when you do see it, it's really special. It bears a similarity to Mount Fuji in Japan, and the Tom Cruise film “The Last Samurai” was actually filmed at Taranaki and not in Japan, with Taranaki playing the role of Mount Fuji. The mountain has been declared a national park and is a great location to immerse yourself in the native bush, as well as one of your best opportunities to hear wild kiwis calling to each other after the sun has gone down.
There are a number of hikes on and around the mountain. The summit is a challenging 8-10 hour return, and should only be attempted in good weather and by competent scramblers. Always check the mountain conditions with the DOC before you start your ascent. There is also a three day hike around the circumference of the mountain, and a 3-4 hour return to the iconic reflection pool which features in a lot of promotion for New Zealand tourism.
One of the most unique features of the Taranaki region is that this rather large stratovolcano is so close to the ocean. In winter, given the right conditions, it is extremely easy to be skiing or snowboarding in the morning and surfing by lunchtime. And this is just the beginning of the diversity that the West Coast has to offer.
Just to the North of New Plymouth there are some fantastic black sand beaches that straddle a white cliff face and only emerge at low tide. When visiting these, it is important to take note of the tide times to ensure that you can actually see the beach, and also to ensure you don't get caught out or put yourself in danger.
There are also a number of reserves in the area. Towards the South is the Rotokari Scenic Reserve. This is a small space that is completely dedicated to restoring the natural world of New Zealand before colonisation, and the wildlife is extremely well protected by overground and underground fencing systems and controlled entry in and out of the park. Here, a large number of kiwi birds are protected amongst other native species such as the pukeko and the weka. Here, you can also find some gentle hiking and plenty of information on the conservation and progress of the project.
One of the greatest things about Taranaki is that it is so quiet and free from the busy crowds of tourists and vacationers that you find everywhere else on the North Island. For anybody who loves mountains, hiking, nature and conservation, this is one of the best places you can visit in New Zealand. If you do decide to visit and fall in love with the region, do a better job at keeping your love affair with Taranaki a secret than Taranaki did with his affair with Tongariro, so that not too many people swarm this stunning part of New Zealand and ruin the peace and quiet.

 

Rhythm and Vines

  

Rhythm and Vines

Rhythm and Vines is a record breaking three day international festival which is held very close to the city of Gisborne on the North Island. It occurs every year between the 29th and the 31st of December as a celebration to end off the year and also to be the first music festival in the world to witness the first sunrise of the year, and as the East Cape experiences some of the warmest and most stable weather in all of New Zealand, there are very high chances of seeing the sunrise in the middle of summer. This year it will be at Waiohika Estate, Gisborne, NZ | 28-31 December 2018

in 2010 the festival was awarded the Best Event at the New Zealand Tourism Awards, and has since been growing in popularity and size with new extensions and ideas being introduced almost every year. It has gained a lot of international recognition as the website reports that 11% of all their ticket sales are for an international audience and from people travelling from abroad to attend.
The festival started in 2003 as a small gathering of university students trying to celebrate the New Year. Three friends from the University of Otago - Hamish Pinkham, Tom Gibson and Andrew Witters - started a party on the Waiohika Estate, which was originally Witters' family home, and they set up a stage which wax headlined by The Black Seeds. The event was attended by 1,800 guests. As it was so successful, they decided to do it again in 2004, only they added a second stage and had an attendance of 5,500 people instead. In 2005 they opened a new Rhythm stage arena, and hosted New Zealand's favourite reggae group Fat Freddy's Drop. By 2007, the festival contained four music stages and an attendance of 15,000 people.
As the festival kept growing in size, the organisers decided to extend the event to three days, which helped to obtain overseas recognition from bands taking part in international touring programmes. World renowned acts such as Public Enemy and Franz Ferdinand started attending the festival, allowing it to establish itself further and to keep growing. To date, the festival entertains over 25,000 people every year.
The music on show covers a wide variety of genres and styles. Obviously there is a large focus on home grown talent, and previous talents include New Zealand electronic/indie giants The Naked and Famous who became especially popular with their hit “Young Blood” from their debut album, Fat Freddys Drop who play in an afro-cuban/reggae style, Broods with their dark and dreamy electro-pop, and Six60, who have played multiple times. There is also a lot of acts from New Zealand's neighbour, Australia, as the music of Pendulum and Chet Faker and other popular Australian artists often graces the stages. In more recent years, the festival has seen artists travelling from all over the world to perform, from Zane Lowe from the UK and Major Lazer from America. The line up for the following festival is announced around August every year on the official website (rhythmandvines.co.nz).
As the festival has been growing in size, it has started to introduce new ideas, besides adding more stages and larger artists, to give the festival an identity and to attract a more diverse crowd to the event. Since 2015, the festival has hosted Giggle and Vines, mixing some live stand up comedy into the mix. 2015 also saw some stunt motorcycle riders jumping across the main stage.
Running simultaneously to Rhythm and Vines is the partner festival Rhythm and Alps, held in the Cardrona Valley close to Wanaka and Queenstown on the South Island. This has been running since 2011 and is also growing in popularity, although still has a much smaller capacity and only runs over two days instead of three.
Rhythm and Vines is the biggest and best music festival in New Zealand, and we can only expect it to expand and extend it's horizons in years to come. It is the perfect event to immerse yourself in popular music and festival vibes, while also witnessing up and coming New Zealand artists and learning about the often suppressed New Zealand music scene. Day passes and multi-day camping passes are all available through the official website.

 

Pounamu

  

Pounamu

The Maoris are excellent storytellers, and the stories and legends that have helped to shape the culture over time creating a fascinating world to immerse one's self in. All of the shapes and symbolism in Maori culture is very symbolic and everything has a reason.

Pounamu is the Maori name for what the New Zealanders call greenstone, and what is commonly referred to as jade. The stone has played an important part in the history and the culture of the Maori tribe, and has carved itself into modern Kiwi culture. Most New Zealanders will own a piece of pounamu, and seldom will they take it off, so much so that if you spot somebody with some greenstone around their neck abroad, chances are they will either be from New Zealand or that they have spent some time over there.
For the Maoris, it has been used to make weaponry and jewellery for centuries. The stone itself is very strong and has to be carved using diamond coated tools. As with everything, they have a story that describes it's origins. Waitaiki, a beautiful woman who was married to the Maori chief Tamaahua, caught the attention Poutini of the taniwha, which is a mythical dragon type creature that lives in the water. Poutini kidnapped Waitaiki and fled southwards from the Bay of Plenty towards the West Coast of the South Island, chased by Waitaiki's husband Tamaahua.
To keep her warm, Poutini lit fires that also left a trail for Tamaahua, in which he found a precious stone. Poutini was scared of his determined pursuer and took sanctuary on the West Coast, stopping in Milford Sound. Here, he decided that Tamaahua would not stop until he had taken back Waitaiki, and Poutini decided that the only way he could keep her was to turn her into stone, which is the pounamu that New Zealanders find on the West Coast. Poutini, upon discovering that the love of his life had been turned into stone, sang a song of sorrow, that some believe you can still hear resonating around the hills in Milford Sound if you listen very carefully.
The Maoris also believe that the stone, while absorbing some of the oils from somebody's skin, absorbs some of the person's essence. They believe that you are not supposed to buy it for yourself, but that instead you are supposed to buy it as a gift, and will usually wear the greenstone a little before giving it to the recipient to pass on some of their essence. It is considered a treasure, and the stone is actually protected by the Waitangi treaty. The most treasured stones are those with a long history of being passed down through generations, and are sometimes given as a gift when making important agreements.
The stone is usually carved into pendants of Maori symbolism. One popular example is the spiral, known as a Koru, which resembles a young silver fern about to unravel, and is lucky in new beginnings and change. Another is the little indigenous warrior, the Tiki, which is supposed to bring power and strength to those who wear it. It is also very common to see the fish hook, or Hei Matau, which also represents strength as well as safe passage across water. These symbols and shapes are also found in the indigenous buildings, in their tattoos, and in many other aspects of their culture.
The stone can only be found on the West Coast of the South Island, and is easiest to find on the rocky beaches and on the mountain stream riverbeds. As you are travelling down the West Coast there are a number of greenstone carving workshops and shops where you can find out more about the stone and it's place in Maori culture. It makes an excellent souvenir with a lot of personal meaning, and is something you can't find anywhere else in the world.
Next time you're on the West Coast, make sure to keep an eye on the stones under your feet in case you happen to come across some Pounamu, but also remember it's bad luck to hang onto your first piece and that you should pass it on as a gift.

 

Fast, affordable and very tasty

  
Like every other big metropolis on the planet, Auckland has caught the street food bug pretty completely over the last few years. Now, locals love nothing more than hitting the food trucks, pop-up stalls and take away stands when it's time to chow down. Fancy joining them? Here's our guide to the best street treats in New Zealand's biggest city.pho vietnamese food
Saigonz
You'll find this little gem operating from a caravan in the Takapuna Markets, where you can pick up delicious pho, spring rolls and curries for a bargain price tag. The real menu highlight, however, is the mouth watering Vietnamese chicken salad. For those who prefer the restaurant experience (bores!), you can head to their permanent residence on Beach Street for a proper, sit down meal.
The FIRED Wood Oven Pizza Co.
Look out for this mobile eatery at any big event or festival held in the Auckland area. The brainchild of famed restaurateur Rob Roughan, it shows up wherever large groups of people congregate to serve delicious wood over pizza at extraordinary speeds – apparently it can fire off 175 pizzas an hour when it gets going. The best thing on the menu is the simple, classic margherita – a real treat for cheese lovers.
Torro Churro
Fancy something sweet and tasty? Then Sretko Nenadic's churro stall will be just the thing for you. It opens up at the Pakuranga and Glenfield night markets, the AUT campus, the Otara and Takapuna markets and appears every Friday at Silo, serving up sugary South American confections for hungry diners with a sweet tooth.
Marsella's Tacos
If you prefer something quick and tasty with a Mexican flavour, then Marsella's Tacos in the La Cigale Markets and Coatesville Markets will be a great choice. Run by the titular Californian chef, it serves up home-made tortillas stuffed with juicy meat and thick, delicious sauces. Plus there's all the bits and pieces you would expect: homemade guacamole, chips, six layer bean dip, tamales and anything else you could name.
Piggy's Pies
If you're like us, that name is all you'll need to be enticed to Dave O'Hagan's wonderful pie stall that turns up at all the major Auckland events. Nothing is better after a couple of cold beers than biting into one of O'Hagan's soft, meaty, gravy soaked, pastry coated creations.
Banger Boys
At the Silo every weekend and at many of the big events in the city, you will find Banger Boyz, a New York-inspired sausage truck. Expect artisan rolls stuffed with high quality sausage, caramelised onions and plum sauce – absolutely delicious.

Arts festivals in New Zealand

  
One thing Kiwis love is art of all descriptions. A creative and culturally rich country, its combination of traditional Maori culture with European influences, incredible landscape and friendly atmosphere translates into a thirst for forward thinking art, music, comedy and film.NZ Street Art Festival
This lust of the arts is encapsulated beautifully in the country's art festival schedule. Across the 2014 calendar, New Zealand will play host to numerous events that celebrate creativity, from the mainstream to the avant garde, and everything in between. Here is our guide to some of the most famous and worth attending.
OI YOU! RISE
Taking place in Christchurch, between 20th December and 23rd March, OI YOU! RISE brings together street art from around the globe. The highlight for many will be the largest collection of art by controversial and world renowned UK street artist Banksy, whose work will be shown on the walls of the Canterbury Museum. There's a huge selection of other innovative and exciting work to see at OI YOU! RISE, however, with pieces on show in three gallery spaces across the city from both international and native urban artists.
NZ Street Art Festival
Sticking with street art for the moment, you might also want to be in Kawerau on the 8/9 February, for this collection of New Zealand street art. Kawerau is a small town in the Bay of Plenty and this festival is designed to be kid friendly. That means no alcohol and music, art and fun for all the family.
Auckland Festival of Photography
Between 29 May and 20 June, one of the world's most exciting and consistently high quality photography events will take place in Auckland. A stunning visual arts fiesta, it includes a huge number of both free and paid events, meaning there is something for every budget and level of interest.
New Zealand International Arts Festival
Wellington once again proves itself to be the headquarters for all things cool, creative and cultural in New Zealand by playing host to the International Arts Festival between 21 February and 16 March. Over 300 events from just about every discipline, from dance to film to comedy to music, and performances and exhibits from some of the world's top artists make this a must-visit for anybody with an interest in culture. This year's highlights will include music from Lutheran Masses, Power Plant visual art exhibition in the Botanic Gardens and a puppet performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream that will blow your mind.

Having fun in Hamilton

  

As New Zealand's fourth biggest city, Hamilton is unsurprisingly a great place to go for a drink. Hamilton is a city in the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island, Hamilton is nestled on the banks of the mighty Waikato River and is known for its walks, elaborate themed gardens, cafes, bars and nightlife. Here are our top night spots for visitors to the city.Waikato River hamilton
CBD Corner Pub
This is one of those great Kiwi pubs where you get quality beers, lovely food and a warm, friendly atmosphere. It's great for a quiet cold one and a chat or for a long night out. Hang around until after 9pm and the DJs take over and the place turns into a great nightclub.
Diggers Bar
Known locally as the ‘home of live music', Diggers Bar is a real Hamilton institution. Across the average week you'll see every type of live group take to the stage, from two piece acoustic acts to full on rock bands. It's got a great atmosphere, fostered by the old school décor and the warm surroundings.
The Bank
One of the best combinations of food and drink you'll find in Hamilton, the Bank offers a great menu of both alcohol and grub. Looking for a great deal? Then head down on Sunday for the steak special. For just $6, you get an Angus Sirloin fillet, with fries, mash, veg, salad and greens. For a dollar more you can throw on egg, mushrooms, onions, bourbon sauce, pepper sauce or chive and garlic. Wash it all down with a nice pint of Guinness – a great way to spend a Sunday in Hamilton.
Furnace
If you like style and comfort when you hit the town, then Furnace will be a great spot for you. With a classic menu of pasta, pizzas and very filling mains and a long wine list with some wonderful vintages, it is a lovely place for a classy evening of wining and dining. In fact, it's been awarded several times, winning the Best Restaurant in Waikato award for 2009 and 2011 and was runner up in 2008 and 2010.
Speight Ale House
For the thirsty sports fan (and that pretty much sums up most Kiwis), the Speight Ale House could not be better situated: in between the Waikato River and the Waikato Stadium. A great place to warm up for a big match with a cheeky beer or celebrate a big victory afterwards, its rustic décor and vibrant atmosphere make it a lovely spot for a beverage.

 

The history of the Wellington Sevens

  

New Zealand Sevens World Series event is moving to Hamilton in 2018. Hamilton, claimed from Wellington the hosting rights for the NZ HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Hamilton was announced earlier this year as the new host of the event after Wellington's 18-year hosting of the rugby sevens event. So yes Wellington Sevens to become the Hamilton Sevens. Hamilton City is set to host the New Zealand leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series from 3rd – 4th February 2018. With a rich rugby heritage, Hamilton and the wider Waikato region will no doubt come alive with sevens rugby action. Public ticket sales allocation has sold out for the 2018 NZ Sevens.

But here's some of the background history about Wellington Sevens. One of the world's most fun, frantic and downright enjoyable sports tournaments used to take place every year in New Zealand's capital of cool, Wellington. Though it might not be as famous as the World Cup, the Olympics or the Superbowl, there are few tournaments anywhere in the world that can match the Sevens for good vibes, great ambience and a really party atmosphere.sports costume fancy wellington sevens nz

2017 Wellington Sevens was on the 7th February and lasted two days. It should come as no surprise to see the host nation in the familiar position of firm favourites. Since the tournament was founded in 2000, the All Blacks have taken home the top prize on a record six occasions, while taking the runner up spot twice.
They do not, however, come in as champions. That honour belongs to England, who vanquished Sevens-loving Kenya in last year's final and are being tipped by many to meet New Zealand in the ultimate game of this year's contest.
The Wellington Sevens is the fifth event in the IRB Sevens World Series Circuit. The Circuit, which begins in Gold Coast, Australia each October and ends in London England, the following May. In between, it takes in Dubai, Port Elizabeth, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Glasgow and, of course, Wellington.
Of all these stop overs, Wellington is one of the most famous and fun, with players on the circuit regularly citing it as their favourite place to play. The crowd are there to enjoy themselves, often arriving at the venue in fancy dress. Popular costumes over the years have ranged from Fred Flinstone to George W. Bush to Austin Powers to the Care Bears.
In recent years, kissing has also begun to be a big part of the event. Beginning in 2009 with a ‘Beads for Kisses' campaign, which involved spectators exchanging beads with each other for kisses, and now taking the form of kissing booths around the venue.
The 2017 tournament brought together 16 teams in total: Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Wales, Figi, France, Kenya, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Tonga, USA and, of course, New Zealand. It kicked off in the 35,000 capacity Westpac Stadium in the city centre.

 

Hit the town in Christchurch

  
Though the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes did damage to the city centre that remains to this day, it remains a lively night spot and a great place to go on the tiles. Here are our favourite places to go for a beer in the Garden City.night at Christchurch
South of Lichfield
Also known as SOL, this is one of the hippest and swingingest area of the city. The streets here are packed with places to eat and drink, with pedestrian walkways linking bar to bar and club to club. If you're planning to bar hop around Christchurch, this is definitely the place to begin your night. Whether you fancy a quiet pint and a chat, rocking out to live music or a heavy night out, you will find what you are after on the streets of SOL.
Minx Dining Room and Bar
One of the most famous restaurants in the city is the Minx. An award winning diner where you can enjoy fresh European fare and a host of sophisticated cocktails, it's well known across Christchurch as a place for those looking for an upmarket night out to go. The Head Chef Nicola McDermott has a hell of a resume, having previously worked in the London Marriott and the Pearl Restaurant.
Micky Finn's Irish Pub
Right by the tranquil banks of the Avon river, you will find one of the city's most consistently popular little watering holes. A proper little Irish pub, where the Guinness, beer and whiskey flows late into the night, it's one of the nicest atmospheres you'll find in this area.
The Fox and Ferret
For some pub grub, you can't go wrong at the Fox and Ferret. While lots of places claim to be ‘gastro-pubs', this spot really lives up to the title, with a tasty menu of traditional drinking food, a bunch of British ales, lots of atmosphere and very friendly staff.
The Holy Grail
It's no secret that Kiwis love their sport and, of all the country's many, many sports bars, the Holy Grail in Christchurch is the biggest. Across 17,000 square foot, you will find a huge 10 metre projector screen, four bars, a big menu of tasty bar food and a 70 seater grandstand. For the big Rugby games, it's almost as good as being in the stadium.
  
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