Sunday, January 6, 2013


Executive summary by darmansjah

You won’t find famous fjords, windswept beaches, iconic lighthouse, geothermal hot springs, or cerulean glacial lakes in Christchurch. But what the city lacks in natural attractions it substitutes with architectural delights, whimsical art, transcendent culinary treats, and tranquil river cruises. A great way to get acquainted with the city is by punting the river Avon. Punting on the Avon, 2 Cambridge Terrace, has less to do with rugby, the country’s favorite sport, and more to do with meandering down the river on a slow-moving boat. The 30-minute ride offers a crash course in Christchurch history, as it take visitors from the Antigua boat shed at the Botanic Gardens and through the pulsing heart of the city centre. The punt is the perfect prelude to Re: Re: START( 128 Cashel St., Christchurch Central) – a retail and design space that was originally conceived to bolster businesses affected by the quakes, but has proved so popular with locals and visitors alike that it is now a downtown fixture. The pop-up area is defined by the colourful shipping containers that play host to retailers, restaurants, shops, cafes, and green space, and has become an iconic symbol of the rebuilding city.

If people watching is your thing, head to the Lyttelton Farmers Market (Lyttelton School grounds) on a Saturday morning. I filled my picnic basket with an assortment of farm fresh eggs, local cheeses, honey, bread, and signature preserves, but was unable to track down any kiwi breast for my post-breakfast barbecue. I was able to get my hands on fresh possum pie, a decent enough consolation prize. My culinary expedition continued at Cook’n with Gas, (23 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch Centre ), where I acted like an 18th century European trapper by feasting on wild pork, rabbit rillettes, and venison pastrami. I managed to steel myself for a late night in Christchurch with a few Gas Mules, a cocktail infused with ginger beer, a delectable national favorite.

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