As you will hear many times as you explore Christchurch, it is a city in transition. Years after being shaken to its core by a major earthquake, Christchurch is rebuilding slowly but surely. As the city finds its footing, there is still plenty to do and see (as long as you’re cool with dealing with a whole lot of construction.) Here is a list of my favorite free activities in Christchurch.
The Christchurch Farmers Market happens every Saturday morning from 9:00am to 1:00pm. If you know me, then you know I love me some farmers’ markets. So even though Saturday morning was grey and rainy, I didn’t let that deter me from heading across town to check out the market for myself. (Nothing will stand between me and fresh pastries and artisanal juices. Not even rain, wind and an hour-long walk at 8:00 in the morning.)
Being a budget traveler in an expensive(-ish) country like New Zealand can be difficult. You want to be able to go out and do cool stuff, but you also need to be able to eat. Luckily there are places offering some fun things to do that fit into the budget of us cheapies. Rotorua, luckily for me, falls into this category. So here are five free, fun things to do should you ever find yourself in Rotovegas.
If you talk to travelers in New Zealand about Rotorua, the first thing you hear is, “eww gross, that place smells,” followed by, “pretty though, I suppose.” But Rotorua is more than just rotten egg smells and steam leaking out of the ground. There is also a rich and lively Maori population living here, and at Whakarewarewa Village they invite you into their home to experience their lives for yourself.
The families of Whakarewarewa village have been taking tourists on tours of the geothermal area around Rotorua since the early 1800s when Europeans began arriving to New Zealand. Those living in the village today keep this tradition alive by opening their doors daily to tourists, who are invited in to view performances, eat food and enjoy the geothermal happenings all around. After living in Rotorua for nearly 6 months, I finally got the chance to go and experience the village myself.
Rotorua has a number of weekly markets to enjoy while you’re in the city, so make sure to leave yourself time to stop by at least one while you’re here. Below is some information about the regular markets (as well as some specials ones that happen throughout the year) to help you decide which ones to put on your schedule.
To read the tl;dr version of my time at R&V click here
As November slipped into December, I realized that I still had no plans for New Years. Every city in New Zealand has it’s own celebrations, usually fireworks over some body of water. I’ve seen plenty of fireworks in my life, though, and wanted to do something a bit different this year. So after a little research I found a festival called Rhythm and Vines that happens over New Years every year in a vineyard in Gisborne. It has the added bonus of being the first place in the world to see the sunrise of the New Year (allegedly.) What more could I want?
To ring in the new year this year, I decided to go to Gisborne for the Rhythm and Vines festival. I’ll have a more in depth post about my experience there coming soon, but for now I just wanted to give you a quick run down of what it is and how to do it yourself in case you don’t care to read my rambling later.
Back in December, I got to spend two and a half days relaxing in and exploring Raglan (aka New Zealand’s chill surfer capital.) The city is known for its beaches, coffee and laid back vibes, and it certainly did not disappoint. So here is a quick run down on where I stayed, what I did, and how I got there to help you plan your own trip.
Recently, I decided to head over to Waiheke Island. There are many ways to explore the island, whether walking or driving or taking the public bus or a tour (or the ziplines!) But I decided to stick with the cheapest option: walking. There are many hiking paths around the island, all connected to form the Te Ara Hura walk network.
The Coast to Coast walk is a 10mi/16km hike from one side of Auckland to the other. You get to see all sides of Auckland, from the coast and the heart of the city to mountains to historic neighborhoods. You can start at either end, though it seems most people (myself included) start at Waitemata Harbour. I think I would actually recommend going the other way (Manukau Harbou/Onehunga to Waitemata Harbour) so that you can end your walk in downtown Auckland.