A Christchurch Food Guide
A cultural hub on the South Island, Christchurch offers the most diversity when it comes to food tours, activities and restaurants on the South Island. From the earthy flavours of a traditional Maori “hangi” to cooking your own Asian cuisine, Christchurch makes sure that your visit is more than just about eating. Combine the food tours and market visits with a stay in one of the city’s renowned hotels featuring their own dining or situated nearby a bustling restaurant scene. That way, you have the perfect foodie getaway to Christchurch. Plan yours with this complete foodie guide to Christchurch.
Things to Do in Christchurch for Foodies
- Take a tour of the Waipara wine region
- Experience Christchurch’s iconic farmers’ markets
- Try a Maori hangi with Ko Tane Maori Experience
- Enjoy fine dining while touring in the Christchurch tram
- Go on a “kai” safari i.e. a Maori food tour
- Join a craft beer tour
- Go to Asian cooking school
- Taste and tour The Spirits Workshop Distillery
- Dine at Christchurch’s best restaurants.
For more details on each experience, see the 9 Things to Do in Christchurch for Foodies.
Food Tours and Activities
Whether you crave New Zealand wine, want to try authentic Maori cuisine or tour the local markets, Christchurch is bound to have a food tour or activity to suit your palette.
Explore one of the South Island’s most underrated wine regions, the Waipara Valley, with one of the fabulous wine tours from Christchurch. You’ll be picked up from your accommodation and enjoy a 45-minute journey to the Waipara wine region, learning from your knowledgable guide along the way. Wine tours typically stop at 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).
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 in the kiwi house of the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.
While we list a lot more food tours and experiences in the 9 Things to Do in Christchurch for Foodies, something that’s free to attend 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 in the city centre, which is open seven days a week.
The Best Restaurants in Christchurch
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 (16 New Regent Street) specialises in the fresh and the seasonal ingredients transformed into hearty meals. In the same vein, Gatherings (5/2 Papanui Road, Merivale) showcases Canterbury produce with a focus on mindful eating with ethically and locally-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 (301 Montreal Street) serving fresh and flavourful Japanese cuisine. Discover New Zealand’s love for American-style gourmet burgers at Bacon Bros Burgers (181 High Street) or their love for Thai food at Thai Orchard (21 Riccarton Road).
Some other noteworthy mentions include 5th Street (5 Elgin Street, Sydenham) for its New Zealand and international cuisine made with love, Jaba Grill & Bar (2/150 Lichfield Street) for its charcoal-grilled steaks and ribs, and the punchy Rollickin Dessert Cafe (35 New Regent Street) for, ya know, the ice cream and sweet treats.
For fine dining recommendations, check out The Luxury Guide to Christchurch. For romantic restaurants, head to The Honeymoon Guide to Christchurch. And for cheap eats, check out the guide to Cheap Eats in Christchurch.
Alternative Things to Do in Christchurch
Although it might be hard to believe after reading this foodie guide to Christchurch, there are things to do in the city that don’t involve food. Shocking, we know! We recommend complementing your foodie getaway with some of the other must-dos in Christchurch, including:
- Wandering around the Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park
- Checking out the Christchurch Art Gallery
- Hiking or mountain biking in the Port Hills
- Strolling alongside the Avon River
- Riding the TranzAlpine (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) train
- Sightseeing on a double-decker bus (Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Riding the Christchurch Tramway (Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Experiencing the Poles at the International Antarctic Centre (Viator and Tripadvisor)
For more details on each, check out the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Christchurch.