Food Tours and Activities in Christchurch
When travelling New Zealand for its flavours, Christchurch is must on the itinerary. As the largest hub on the South Island, it’s a melting pot of cultures and cuisine including that from the indigenous Maori to the Asian expats. Nearby is a fabulous wine region, while craft beer and even whisky and gin are hot on the drinks menu with several brewers and distillers based in the city. So without further ado, here are some of the best things to do in Christchurch for foodies!
For more food tours and activities, check out The Foodie Guide to Christchurch.
1. Take a Tour of the Waipara Wine Region
Explore one of the South Island’s most underrated wine regions, the Waipara Valley, with one of the wine tours from Christchurch. You’ll be picked up from your accommodation and enjoy a 45-minute journey to the Waipara wine region, getting insights about the landscapes and small towns you pass through along the way. Wine tours typically visit around four specially-selected boutique wineries, either your guide’s favourites or ones curated to fit your group’s taste. Small-group wine tours are available with Leisure Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), Giles Tours (Viator and Tripadvisor), Canterbury Trails (Viator and Tripadvisor) and Cheeky Wine Tours (Viator and Tripadvisor), while NZSI Tours & Travel (Viator and Tripadvisor) offers private wine tours. You can even amp up the experience by dropping into a Waipara winery with Christchurch Helicopters (Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: Christchurch accommodation pick-ups available.
2. Experience Christchurch’s Iconic Farmers’ Markets
Something that’s free to attend (and you simply can’t miss if you’re a foodie) is the farmers’ markets. In Christchurch, you have plenty to choose from, whether it’s the Christchurch Farmers’ Market on a Saturday morning or Riccarton Market on Sunday morning. The Lyttelton Farmers’ Market is one of the region’s most renowned markets and a great opportunity to explore this cool little harbour suburb on a Saturday. Finally, if you’re not visiting on a weekend, then head to the Riverside Market which is an indoor market venue open seven days a week. For more activities like this, see the 14 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch.
Location: Christchurch Farmers’ Market – 16 Kahu Road, Fendalton, approximately 5km (3 miles) from Christchurch city centre. Riccarton Market – 165 Racecourse Road, Broomfield, approximately 10km (6 miles) from Christchurch city centre. Lyttelton Farmers’ Market – London Street, Lyttelton, approximately 13km (8 miles) from Christchurch city centre. Riverside Market – 96 Oxford Terrace.
3. Try a “Hangi” with Ko Tane Maori Experience
For a taste of Maori cuisine, catch one of the nightly shows at the Ko Tane Maori Experience (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) for a cultural performance. Get an insight into the traditions and arts of the Maori culture along with a four-course hangi meal, which is food slow-cooked in an underground oven. Plus, in true New Zealand spirit, you’ll be able to see kiwi birds at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve that shares a venue.
Location: Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, 60 Hussey Road, Northwood, approximately 11km (7 miles) from Christchurch city centre.
4. Enjoy Fine Dining While Sightseeing in the Christchurch Tram
Ideal for a romantic evening or a luxury dining experience, the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) offers a unique way to tour the inner city with food involved. After you’re welcomed with a glass of New Zealand wine, beer or something else if you prefer, you’ll see the inner-city highlights from the window seat of a beautifully restored tram. Meanwhile, indulge in a four-course meal of New Zealand cuisine, from lamb shank to salmon, and conclude your meal with a tea or coffee.
Location: Cathedral Junction, 109 Worcester Street.
5. Taste Local “Kai” on a Maori Food Tour
Experience the indigenous culture of New Zealand through its tastes on a food tour with Amiki Tours. You have two tours to choose from, including the daytime “City Meander” tour where your local Maori guide will share unique sights in the inner city, as well as the culinary delights of three to five different local artisans and businesses. Alternatively, join their “Dinner Tour” for a progressive dinner experience tasting different local kai (food), as well as the region’s wines and craft beer.
Location: Meeting point in the inner city arranged with the tour company.
6. Join a Craft Beer Tour
Christchurch is home to several craft breweries, which can’t help but call for beer tours to help you visit them all while not having to worry about finding a designated driver! Scoff & Quaff Tours offers tours for the serious beer connoisseur, taking you to several breweries for tastings, a tour of a working brewery, as well as treat you to plates of local artisan fare. You also have Hey Brew Craft Beer Tasting Tours, taking like-minded travellers to four different breweries to meet the brewers and get an insight into the different beer and cider styles in your hand.
Location: Christchurch accommodation pick-ups available.
7. Go to Asian Cooking School
Christchurch has a thriving Asian community, which means it’s also a place to sample exquisite Asian cuisine. For a more hands-on experience than simply going to a restaurant, learn to make your own delectable Asian dishes with the Asian Garden Cooking School. Cook with fresh ingredients grown at the cooking school’s market garden in one of the themed classes, whether it’s to make Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese cuisine or something else. Classes typically take place twice a week, while the occasional special diet class is also available to book. Book your space early for these popular classes!
Location: 7 Whitchurch Place, Harewood, approximately 11km (7 miles) from Christchurch city centre.
8. Tour and Do Tastings at The Spirits Workshop Distillery
For an alternative drinking experience in Christchurch, visit the cellar door of The Spirits Workshop Distillery. Home of Curiosity Gin, the distillery produces gin and whisky on-site that you can pop in and try at their cellar door or join them for a tour. In the latter experience, spend an hour or two learning how whisky and gin are made straight from the distillers, see the stills and soak in the aroma of the barrel room. The experience ends with a guided tasting.
Location: 11 Sandyford Street, Sydenham, approximately 2km (1 mile) from Christchurch city centre.
9. Dine at Christchurch’s Best Restaurants
After discovering Christchurch’s dining scene, you’ll wish you were a local. But since you’re probably on limited time in the city, here are some of our top recommendations for restaurants in Christchurch. Situated upstairs on the colourful and trendy New Regent Street, Twenty Seven Steps specialises in the fresh seasonal ingredients presented in hearty meals. In the same vein, Gatherings showcases Canterbury producers with a focus on mindful eating with ethically-sourced ingredients and even the furniture made from recycled wood. Needless to say, Christchurch is a melting pot of cultures with a few international gems in the dining scene, such as Zen Sushi and Dumplings for fresh and flavourful Japanese cuisine. Discover New Zealand’s love for American-style gourmet burgers at Bacon Bros Burgers or their love for Thai food at Thai Orchard. For more noteworthy mentions, refer to The Foodie Guide to Christchurch.
Location: Twenty Seven Steps – 16 New Regent Street. Gatherings – 5/2 Papanui Road, Merivale. Zen Sushi and Dumplings – 301 Montreal Street. Bacon Bros Burgers – 181 High Street. Thai Orchard – 21 Riccarton Road.