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Winter activities

Winter wonders: nine things guaranteed to get you out and loving Christchurch this winter

The temperatures have begun their downward descent and winter is on the seasonal horizon. But that’s no reason to hunker down at home.

Winter activities

Without the evolutionary need to hibernate like our animal ancestry, there’s still plenty to do and see to make the most of the chilly season. Here are our top picks!

Rise and shine

The sun rises a bit later in winter, giving you plenty of time to get up in the morning and make your way down to the beach. Just before the sun rises, the temperature drops and the sand freezes over, creating beautiful patterns. Definitely an Insta-worthy sight!

Café culture

The natural next step to ‘rise and shine’ is, of course, coffee! There’s a strong café culture in the city, so we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a favourite, but Black & White Coffee Cartel, Room 205, Villa 23 and 43 Degrees Café are just some of ours.

Star light star bright

When it comes to silver linings, the fact that winter is one of the best times of the year to observe the stars is just that, with frosty mornings creating stunning clear nights. The view from the Godley Head Reserve or the Sugarloaf is a beautiful spot to enjoy the night sky.

Let there be light

Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights is a mid-winter light extravaganza, which transforms the harbour into a magical space with lights, art, music and festivities on 29 June. The famous Street Party on London Street has a spectacular parade, buskers, performers, music, an outdoor street market with winter warmers, quality art and craft and an epic fireworks display.

Show-stopping spots

Christchurch is somewhat of an attention seeker when it comes to the social scene, in the very best of ways, of course. We are lucky to have theatrical options right here in the city. Top spots like the Isaac Theatre Royal and The Court Theatre will keep you warm this winter. Or try one of the many boutique cinemas in the city to enjoy the latest films.

‘Next-level’ fun

The highest point on Banks Peninsula, Mt Herbert often has a sprinkling of snow on top, while the view over Lyttelton Harbour and the Port Hills, with the Southern Alps standing proudly behind, is next-level fun, in the figurative and literal sense of the expression.

The ’coolest’ attraction

When it comes to getting your winter fix, there’s nothing cooler than the International Antarctic Centre. There’s nowhere else you get to survive an Antarctic Storm, bounce along on a Hagglund and hang out with Little Blue Penguins.

On thin ice

One of the coolest of winter sports, ice skating can be a whole lot of fun. Alpine Ice has been operating in Christchurch since 1985 and offers casual skating sessions, as well as holiday programmes.

Blooming beautiful

A neo-classical conservatory in the heart of the Botanic Gardens, Cunningham House is always full of colour – even in the winter.

American Express Openair Cinema

Events guide: Five things well worth leaving home for

The temperatures may have begun their downward descent, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to lock yourselves inside! We’ve gone in search of some of the hottest events around that will be sure to bring some warmth to your autumn.

American Express Openair Cinema
American Express Openair Cinema

Food, fun and flicks:

American Express is bringing the Openair Cinema festival of food, fun and flicks to Rauora Park from 15 March to 1 April.
There will be an array of alternative entertainment, live music and DJ performances before the latest and greatest feature films light up the big screen.
Better yet, you can bring along a ‘Doggy Date’! Pampered pooches will receive the VID treatment with a pawfect picnic platter of doggy delights and their own canine couch. Tickets start at $13 and are on-sale now at www.openaircinemas.co.nz.

Jump for charity:

Some of the country’s leading horse and pony riders are getting in behind the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation with the second annual Jump for Cancer Hagley charity event at North Hagley Park on 25 March.
St. Margaret’s College students will be collecting donations on behalf of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and food vendors will be selling everything from coffee and gelato to gourmet pizzas and potatoes.
General admission is free with VIP tickets available from www.eventbrite.co.nz. To find out more, head to the Jump for Cancer Hagley Facebook page.

Middle-aged man in lycra!

Following a sell-out premiere season across New Zealand, much-loved Kiwi actor Mark Hadlow remounts for a final ride into Christchurch in the acclaimed one man show, MAMIL (middle-aged man in Lycra), in all its lurid lycra glory for ‘Le Tour d’Isaac’, from Thursday 31 May to Saturday 2 June at the Isaac Theatre Royal.
Shining as the affable, yet uncomfortably relatable anti-hero in the one-man show, Hadlow commands the stage. With his energetic presence and childlike enthusiasm to the character, he breathes life into the cleverly crafted monologues to delight even the most stoic of MAMIL-phobes.

Colourful fun :

All the colour and fun of a carnival is coming to Cathedral Square on Saturday 24 February.
The popular Latino market is heading into the city from 4pm to 8pm on so you can enjoy a delicious culinary collection of Latin street food, live music, art and craft and, of course, the warmth of the local Latin community.
There will also be workshops, a dance floor and performances with Latin rhythms (including capoeira and samba do Brasil). So bring your most colourful clothing – and your dancing shoes – and prepare for a night of colourful fun.

A catwalk crusade:

Designers and celebrities are set to hit the catwalk on Thursday 12 April wearing the latest New Zealand fashion.
Guests at the annual M Factor Fashion Show will see collections from the likes of Annah Stretton, Augustine, Repertoire, Trelise Cooper and many more to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities New Zealand and Ronald McDonald House South Island.
Held at 7pm on Thursday 12 April at The Transitional Cathedral, tickets are available at ticketmaster.co.nz and are priced at $75 for VIP, $55 for General Admission and $20 for children and students.