Today I wanted to share some of my favourite free things to do in Christchurch. Summer is the perfect time to get outside and do things and I often like to ‘be a tourist in my home town’ so to speak.
World Buskers Festival
The Buskers Festival is an annual event in Christchurch with performers from all over the world performing traditional street shows along with seated evening shows including burlesque, cabaret and stand up comedy. The Festival runs for 10 days in mid to late January (this year it’s the 14th-24th). The daytime shows are free to watch, with the performers asking for donations at the end. The evening shows are pre-ticketed but you choose the price you pay. There are shows for all ages and you can find the timetable and ticketing information on the World Buskers Festival Website.
The Buskers Festival is one of my favourite Christchurch events and I’m so glad it kept going after the earthquakes. I actually prefer the format now of having all the stages in one area (Hagley Park), as opposed to in different parts of the city. This year I’m excited to go to the Buskers Burlesque for the first time.
Margaret Mahy Playground
The Margaret Mahy Playground has recently opened in the central city. It has a whole heap of modern, exciting play equipment including a massive climbing net, water toys, two flying foxes and a large slide. It was designed based upon entries from local school children and also features a pathway of stories commemorating Margaret Mahy. There are also coffee, food and ice cream trucks at the playground. I’m very jealous it wasn’t around when I was little!
Earthquake Related Things
For locals and visitors alike I think it’s important to acknowledge the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and the impact this had on Christchurch. You can visit Cathedral Square and see what remains of the Christchurch Cathedral and pay your respects to those who died in the February quake at the 185 Empty Chairs Memorial (one for each person). It’s also cool to see the innovation that has arisen from the quakes at the Transitional (or Cardboard) Cathedral and Re:Start Container Mall.
Spectrum and other Street Art
Another form of innovation that has appeared in Christchurch post-quakes is street art. Empty spaces have provided the opportunity for some amazing artworks. For the second year running the City YMCA is hosting the Spectrum Street Art Exhibition until the 17th of April. There are some really cool presentations of street art beyond a picture on a flat surface. It’s indoor so a great thing to do if the weather isn’t so flash. At the exhibition you can also pick up a map guide to other street art locations around the city.
After being shut due to earthquake damage for almost five years the Christchurch Art Gallery opened up just before Christmas. Along with browsing the exhibits there are a number of free events and tours held regularly, more information is available on the website. Wednesday night is late night and the gallery is open until 9pm if you’re busy during the day.
There are a number of cool walks with amazing views around the outskirts of Christchurch. Obviously walking is free to do and good exercise! And I’m fairly sure these are accessible by bus if you don’t have a car.
Sumner Beach – Scarborough
Who doesn’t enjoy a nice calm walk along the beach?! The walk from Sumner to Scalborough is a flat and easy 15 minutes each way. A family tradition for us is an ice cream break in the middle.
Just further around from Sumner is Taylors Mistake beach and the Godley Head track. It’s three hours return and quite steep in parts but with beautiful ocean views. There is more information available here.
Victoria Park is a large park on the Port Hills where you can get amazing views of the city. The walking tracks are more gentle than the Godley Head walk. There is also a playground with a huge slide and you can connect with other Port Hills walking tracks.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about some of my favourite free things to do in Christchurch, and if any of my lovely blog readers ever come to visit I’d be more than happy to show you around!
You can read part two here!