The Best Food Tours and Activities in Christchurch
When travelling to New Zealand for its flavours, Christchurch is a must on the itinerary. As the largest hub on the South Island, it’s a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, 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 foodie experiences in Christchurch!
For more food tours and activities, as well as dining recommendations, check out The Food 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, Giles Tours, Canterbury Trails and Cheeky Wine Tours, while NZSI Tours & Travel offers private wine tours. You can even amp up the experience by dropping into a Waipara winery with Christchurch Helicopters or Garden City Helicopters.
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 Markets 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 26 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch.
Location: Christchurch Farmers’ Market – 16 Kahu Road, Fendalton, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Riccarton Market – 165 Racecourse Road, Broomfield, approximately 10 km (6 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Lyttelton Farmers’ Market – London Street, Lyttelton, approximately 13 km (8 mi) from Christchurch city centre. Riverside Market – 96 Oxford Terrace.
3. Enjoy Fine Dining While Sightseeing on the Christchurch Tram
Ideal for a romantic evening or a luxury dining experience, the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant 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, 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 tea or coffee.
Location: Cathedral Junction, 109 Worcester Street.
4. 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! Cheeky Wine Tours offers a whole range of tours for any budget, typically including stops at three local breweries with the option to enjoy delicious meals along the way. If you have specific breweries in mind, let them know and they’ll supply a “Mix & Match” tour.
Location: Christchurch accommodation pick-ups available.
5. Learn a New Recipe at the Riverside Kitchen…
For a more hands-on experience than simply going to a restaurant, learn to make your own delectable dishes at one of Christchurch’s cooking classes. A popular go-to is the Riverside Kitchen, offering a lively calendar covering all sorts of cuisines in their modern venue upstairs at the Riverside Market. Classes begin with a demonstration followed by the opportunity to spruce up some dishes for yourself with guidance from professional chefs. All classes also include a three-course meal paired with New Zealand wine.
Location: 40/100 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch city centre.
6. … Or at the Asian Garden 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 11 km (7 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
7. 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 2 km (1 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
8. Join the Truffle Hunt!
Between June and August each year, the nearby Hurunui district comes alive with the aroma of truffles and you’re invited to the hunt! Join King Truffles for one of their “Truffle Hunts” to share in the opportunity to learn about truffles, enjoy tasters and use specially-trained dogs to locate truffles ready to be harvested. They also offer private hunts and heli-lunch experiences for a truly decadent experience. For more luxury offerings, take a look at the 10 Luxury Experiences in Christchurch.
Location: Mckenzies Road, Waipara, approximately 60 km (37.3 mi) from Christchurch city centre.
9. Be Treated to a Luxury Picnic
There’s no place more fitting than the “Garden City” for a picnic! Enhance the experience among the lush gardens, riversides and parks of Christchurch with Christchurch Luxury Picnics. From romantic dates to family gatherings to birthday parties, the team will create bespoke picnic setups that cater to your individual needs and preferences. With a focus on using locally sourced and sustainable products, CLP is not only luxurious but also environmentally conscious. See more experiences like this in the 20 Romantic Things to Do in Christchurch.
Location: Anywhere in Christchurch; they bring the picnic to you!
10. 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 The Burger Bar or their love for Thai food at Thai Orchid. For more noteworthy mentions, refer to The Food Guide to Christchurch.
Location: Twenty Seven Steps – 16 New Regent Street. Gatherings – 5/2 Papanui Road, Merivale. Zen Sushi and Dumplings – 301 Montreal Street. The Burger Bar – 255 Saint Asaph Street. Thai Orchid – 21 Riccarton Road.
More Foodie Experiences in Christchurch
That’s it for our guide to the best foodie experiences in Christchurch. For more Christchurch-related advice that might not fall under the “foodie” category but is useful nonetheless, take a look at the following guides:
- 45 Best Things to Do in Christchurch
- The Food Guide to Christchurch: Places to Eat & Food Tours
- 10 Things to Do in Christchurch at Night