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Akaroa’s Top Eats


Need a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of city life? Head out to our favourite little slice of French paradise – Akaroa.

 

 

1. Rona’s
Head down to Rona’s at 74 Rue Lavaud; find a spot in the garden, sit back in the sun and enjoy a light breakfast or lunch, or pop in for a coffee and croissant to take away. A seasonal menu features a range of mouth-watering, healthy dishes that incorporate ingredients sourced from around Banks Peninsula region, such as free-range chicken, lamb and eggs. With a fantastic vibe, top-notch coffee and a view to Akaroa’s glistening blue waters, Rona’s is a must-try!
www.ronas.co.nz


2. The Wharf
Seafood lovers – this one’s for you. The Wharf, situated in the heart of Akaroa’s waterfront at 75 Beach Road, prides themselves on sourcing the finest seafood the nation has to offer. Book a table for two and indulge in a delectable dinner on the waterfront with a loved one, or perch yourself at the beautifully appointed bar and peruse a fine selection of gins, cocktails, wines and tap/craft beers.
www.thewharfakaroa.co.nz


3. The Little Bistro
Exquisite seasonal fare awaits at 33 Rue Lavaud, home to The Little Bistro. Focusing on using organic, locally grown produce, Josh (new owner and chef) and his team whip up unique, beautifully presented starters, mains and desserts which are perfectly complemented by a glass or two of refreshing New Zealand wine. So what are you waiting for? Book yourself a table at this sweet little gem and prepare to have your tastebuds tantalised.
www.thelittlebistro.co.nz


4. The Brasserie
Step into a tranquil garden and soak up Akaroa’s atmosphere with an al fresco breakfast, lunch or dinner at The Brasserie. This cute cottage-style restaurant offers a French/European-inspired menu that utilises local, seasonal ingredients – including Asian and European herbs from their very own garden! Head along to 41 Rue Lavaud for dishes-to-die-for, or why not be tempted by their delicious Allpress coffee and range of pastries, muffins and scones…
www.thebrasserie.co.nz


5. Ma Maison
There’s no better place to kick back in the summer sun than Ma Maison’s stunning outside dining area, complete with picturesque views of the wharf and the Akaroa Harbour. Peruse a selection of entrees, mains and desserts – take note: the Bitter Chocolate Torte is something seriously special! A true crowd favourite, Ma Maison is sure to please!
www.mamaison.co.nz


6. Harbar
Perched on the water’s edge with the ocean just mere metres away, Harbar is your go-to for gastro-style pub fare, sharing plates or an evening tipple as the sun goes down. Will it be fresh Akaroa salmon or classic fish and chips? For those who can’t decide, take a risk with the ‘Trust the Chef’ option, the most popular way to dine.
www.harbarbeachbar.co.nz

 


 

The Old Stone House

Character and ambience: The Old Stone House


Providing a unique, picturesque setting for your special day, the Old Stone House is a beautiful historic building at the foot of the Cashmere Hills.

 

The Old Stone House

 

Perfect for intimate gatherings of up to 100 guests, the venue offers an inimitable character and ambience, as well as the freedom for couples to create their own personalised wedding.

For a reasonable fixed rate, the building’s facilities include a full kitchen, tables, chairs, cutlery and crockery – and no catering services means couples can choose their own. Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor wedding, the heritage gardens and striking architecture provide an elegant and memorable backdrop.

Built in 1870, the building also serves as the Cracroft Community Centre and is available for hire for a range of events. The building reopened at the beginning of last year after a full restoration and earthquake strengthening.

 


Follow on Facebook and visit www.theoldstonehouse.co.nz for more information and bookings.

 


 

The George

Timeless Romance: The George


Your wedding planned to perfection; an intimate ceremony and romantic reception with timeless classic details to your exact requirements.

 

The George

 

From vintage textures to on-trend splashes of bold colours, you will be spoiled from the moment you arrive to when your guests say farewell. Enter The George, where your personal wishes and vision are made possible with professional wedding planners.

Would you like to arrive by vintage car or in the newest Bentley, or why not serve a cocktail in your favourite colour that will bring joy together with your own unique style? Celebrate family traditions or create your own new rituals to complement the memories that will last a lifetime.

Personal and heartfelt service to suit your style with their commitment to offer the best planning advice is The George’s gift to you. or a day filled with love, laughter, kindness and fun, phone 03 371 0255,

email weddings@thegeorge.com, or visit

www.thegeorge.com/weddings.

 



 

Wigram

Mix of old & new: Wigram


Wigram is expanding, not only culturally and historically, but geographically too. Awatea Green, a new living place, offers shared green spaces, playgrounds, meandering pathways and cycle lanes to take you all the way to the city. Wigram Primary School’s new campus is open and exciting. New restaurants, retail outlets and community services are operating and new housing is popping up everywhere.

 

Wigram

 

The Ngāi Tahu vision for Wigram was that it be ‘more than a residential subdivision’; the idea that it be a vibrant community, including the social infrastructure required to create it, is being fulfilled.
Wigram is a sophisticated confluence of old and new. While reinvigorating the area with lots of sparkly new things, the designers were careful to respect the deep history that dates back over a hundred years in the modern era and for more than a millennium of indigenous activity.

On the relatively ‘new’ side of the slate (it’s been open a year and a half) is The Good Home, a gastropub that tries hard to provide the feeling of home for diners – and succeeds. With spaces to feel at ease in – whether bar leaners to watch the footy with friends, booths for the family, or comfy leather chairs upstairs with a book – and a menu to suit everyone, The Good Home really does feel like home.

 

Wigram

On the ‘old’ side is Wigram Base Hotel, a wedding, conference and event venue. Built in 1938 to be the RNZAF Base Wigram Officer’s Mess, today it maintains much of the original décor. You can literally smell the history in the walls of the ballroom, the billiard room, or the anteroom. With a selection of venues for weddings, including the quaint St. Mark’s Chapel, and conferences, Wigram Base Hotel is tucked into pretty gardens on Henry Wigram Drive. The Harvard Bar and Café, on the same site, is a quiet, comfortable local with an all-day menu and indoor and outdoor dining.

Many local initiatives foster the community spirit intended in the original vision. Language classes, recreational activities, fundraisers and more. The Food Resilience Network, in conjunction with the CCC, will host a screening of locally made documentary Edible Paradise. On April 10 at the Air Force Museum, it is for residents who are keen on creating an edible component to the local landscape. See the FRN Facebook page for more details.

 

Wigram

The Air Force Museum of New Zealand is a spectacular resource that, despite a high ranking on TripAdvisor’s ‘Things to do in Christchurch’ (#3!), many locals do not take advantage of. It is an excellent record of NZ’s military aviation history. There is so much to see and do; it’s a great afternoon, or a day, for the kids and grownups. It’s open from 10am until 5pm daily and it’s free!

Late last year (officially October 2018), Archives NZ opened its new Christchurch Regional Office on Harvard Avenue in Wigram. The new facility is “designed to place primary attention on the secure storage and environmental protection of valuable archives”, including government documents, maps, paintings, photographs and more.



 

Lake Hood development

Living the dream: Lake Hood Project


As the growth of mid-Canterbury’s picturesque Lake Hood development continues, the latest extensions will see a further 39 premium lakeside sections added. Eventually, Lake Hood will double its current size, covering 160 hectares.

 

Lake Hood development

 

Offering affordable lakeside living, minutes from Ashburton, residents are ‘living the dream’ in a close community with the lake right on their doorstep – from young families to empty nesters and retirees. The new road layout and newly installed roundabout leads directly to Lake Hood’s central hub, providing an easier route to the water.

“There’s major expansion and improvement happening all the time,” says Gary Casey, Project Director for the Lake Hood Development Board.  Open days are planned for this year and Gary is keen to chat to anyone looking for a section to build on, who has ever dreamed of lakeside living.

“The lifestyle here sells itself. Where else can you buy an affordable section with your very own jetty? There’s every water activity here that you can imagine – boating, rowing, sailing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, skiing, swimming and fishing. There are also great walking tracks and cycleways, a tennis court, a golf course, and a well-used kids’ playground that includes a bike pump track – it’s a great place for kids to grow up, and bigger kids to settle at.

Lake Hood development “It’s a place for creating family memories.”

 


To enquire about sections at Lake Hood, contact Gary on 027 227 5776 and he can put you in touch with your preferred real estate agent.


 

Lushingtons Garden Gifts & Café

An oasis of treats: Lushingtons Garden Gifts & Café


Lushingtons Garden Gifts & Café is an oasis of treats for the tummy, home and garden. Providing the perfect stop for lunch and a stretch of the legs en route to and from Christchurch, it’s even better for a day out.

 

Lushingtons Garden Gifts & Café

 

One of Ashburton’s ‘in the know’ pleasures, Lushingtons is the ideal spot to meet friends, have lunch, stroll the garden centre and browse the giftware. Delighting the senses and lifting the spirits, once here it’s not easy to leave. Co-owners and sisters Miranda Sinton and Sophie Duff are locals who grew up on a farm in Mayfield. They’ve brought their love of the wholesome and artisan to Lushingtons, where the plants, great food and gorgeous gifts have been nurtured for nine years.

 

Lushingtons Garden Gifts & Café

 

The garden centre is Miranda’s first love. It is award-winning and known for its beautiful displays. Local and sustainable are watchwords, and the team strives for quality in the plants, most of which are grown in the nursery at Allenton. Sophie’s passion is the café and together the sisters run the giftware store. The store is large and well-stocked with a focus on the desirable French and English Country style.

 

In the café, you’ll find delicious wholesome and homemade cakes and slices, plus full breakfast, lunch and sides menus, catering for both gluten free and vegetarian diners.

 

Lushingtons Garden Gifts & Café


Find Lushingtons Garden, Gifts & Café at www.lushingtons.co.nz.


 

Akaroa Adventure

Akaroa Adventure


High profile athletes throughout the country are preparing to descend on Akaroa from 10-17 March as preparations for the action-packed adventure race GODZone ramp up in the region.

 

Akaroa Adventure

 

It’s the first time the non-stop seven-day expedition-style race, the largest of its kind globally and widely regarded as the best – has been held in the region with the eighth chapter attracting a significant number of teams with high profile multisport backgrounds.

Pre and post-race activities focused around the beautiful coastal township which will also play host to the event finish line. In true GODZone style, the location of the start line will remain secret until just before the race kicks off. The only hint given at this stage is that the start location will be a long way from Akaroa!

 

Akaroa Adventure

With 70 teams across three racing categories including the full course 600km Pure event and shorter formatted 500km Pursuit and Prime events, the field is expected to take anywhere between five and seven days to complete the journey.
The teams will navigate their own way around the course using a variety of multisport disciplines including mountain biking, trekking, kayaking and pack rafting.

“Competitors don’t know where or when they will receive the race maps but suffice to say there’s plenty of conjecture as to where it might go,” GODZone Race Director Adam Fairmaid says.  “Canterbury is an incredibly diverse region with a lot of contrast from braided and meandering rivers to big, technical mountain ranges. It should be a spectacular race with some interesting twists and turns along the way.”

 


www.godzoneadventure.com


 

Hitting the Hotspots

Hitting the Hotspots


From tantalising tapas to swanky sit-downs, Christchurch has all the ingredients you need for a good night – or day – out, as the beacon of the burgeoning central city continues to shine. Jenafor Rollins checks out two of the new kids on the culinary block.

 

Hitting the Hotspots
CHIWAHWAH IS ONE OF THE NEW KIDS TO HIT THE CENTRAL CITY

 

TASTE OF MEXICO
The smells of Mexico fill the atmosphere at Chiwahwah, located at The Terrace. This clever culinary creation is all about offering authentic dishes with a cool vibe. Experience the taste of Mexico as you browse the multi dish options on the extensive menu which include burritos, chimichangas, tacos, mole, nachos and dish after dish of taste.

Spice is a major ingredient of Mexican cooking and you can have your dish as mild or as hot as your heart desires. Why not take it up a notch and add some more spice to your life? Challenge yourself with a fork prong taste and see how you do. Make sure to have your glass of water or beer close by, just in case the heat catches you off guard.

After sharing a plate of starters, move onto your main which will be accompanied by refried beans or rice or both. These Mexican side dishes are offered at just about every meal. Combination platters allow you to try not just one, but two or three of the main items, before the grand finale of a dessert, such as flan. This creamy, light end to a meal is the perfect complement.

Whether it’s the friendly service, the welcoming atmosphere or the cool vibes of the décor, you will feel as if you have touched down in Mexico as soon as you head into this new central city hotspot.

 

 

VIET FUSION HAS ARRIVED
Rave reviews are being left for You Hanoi Me that has just opened on Victoria Street, headed by the hospitality masterminds behind Louis Champagne and Oyster Bar, and its central neighbour Red Light District.
The home of modern Viet cuisine, the new hospo hotspot brings the flavours of Vietnam to life, with the five out of five ratings soaring.

A global phenomenon, Viet food is about fresh, healthy, authentic Vietnamese street food, direct from Vietnam to the streets of Christchurch and You Hanoi Me has added its own modern twist. The story behind the new restaurant is an inspiring one. It is said Nam Cam, a third cousin of the late Charlie Winston of the Dry Cleaning Empire, opened his first Street Food Stall in a small village 22 clicks out of Hanoi during the Vietnam War.

Known famously for his Pho and Espresso Martinis and his ability to impersonate a young Sean Connery, he established himself as North Vietnam’s premier aluminium window specialist after his street stall went into receivership and the fact that he didn’t really sound like Sean Connery. Fifty six years later, You Hanoi Me opened in his honour.

 



 

Head North for Valentine’s Day

Head North for Valentine’s Day


Whether glamping in the wilds near Cheviot, fine dining in Rangiora, or a day picnicking at the Ashley River, the countryside north of the Waimakariri offers a wealth of activities, sights and fun, no matter what you like getting up to.

 

Head North for Valentine’s Day

 

With the celebration of Valentine’s Day upon us, for those who have yet to make plans to do something special on the day, or even the weekend following, here are just a few ideas that are well worth the trip north. Gifts for Valentine’s Day, birthdays or any special occasion, there are too many standout sources to list, but there are a few world famous in Canterbury stores well worth a mention. Mumma T Trading Lounge in Amberley offers a vast mix of old and new collectibles, including new and retro clothing, homewares, curios, furniture, bodycare products, artworks and antiques.

Ruby 6 is just around the corner with a selection of fashion and accessories, handcrafted ceramics and art, toys and books for children. On route 72 to Oxford is an emporium in the truest sense of the title. A spectacular array of homewares, art, jewellery, clothing, homeopathic products, kitchen gadgets, leadlight lamps, candles, treasures for the garden, NZ made leather goods, wrought iron art and glassware, beautiful figurines, handbags, scarves and more.

Not only is it an amazing shop to spend an easy hour or two in, it’s a world class café and bar. “It’s a dining destination,” says Steve Thomson who owns the Route 72 Café Bar Emporium in Cust with his wife Annette. With fantastic views from the upstairs dining room and a delicious breakfast lunch and dinner menu, Route 72 is perfect for that intimate, special meal. Reservations are recommended.

If off the beaten track appeals, Lemongrass Thai Restaurant in Loburn has a delicious menu and just for Valentine’s Day has prepared an exquisite dessert of Drambuie panna cotta with strawberries and chocolate. Bookings are essential.
Cruisy Days Diner, a 50s themed diner in Oxford offers half priced breakfasts on Thursdays. Valentine’s Day is a Thursday – just sayin’.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day there is nothing more romantic than a night away with your loved one. Dotted throughout the region are a multitude of high quality accommodation destinations – campgrounds, hotels, motels, farmstays, retreats, huts and cabins. One popular getaway is the Hurunui River Retreat. Nestled into a peaceful rural valley are two fully contained cottages close to the Hurunui River for swimming and fishing.

Chill out during the day, enjoy nearby vineyards and restaurants and at night relax in the outside tub taking in the spectacular sky and listening to the frogs. The Tiromoana Bush Walkway is one of many walks in the area, and offers a fantastic hiking experience for all ages and abilities. Te Ara Matairangi boasts a new coastal viewing platform and ceremonial pou and is a must visit if long, easy walks are on your to-do list.

 



 

Melbourne’s calling

Urban therapy: Melbourne’s calling


It’s the holiday time of year. Liesl Johnstone looks at why Melbourne is hot property for your travel itinerary.

 

Melbourne’s calling

 

Almost-summer is as good a time as any for some Aussie urbanity; some Melbourne time. Wake up here, and things could definitely be worse. Straight from New Zealand, there are a couple of extra hours before the alarm, for starters.

It’s becoming a repeatable luxury that I would highly recommend…. to station myself in the midst of a bustling city a few levels up off the street (for views and interest, allowing reasonable airspace from traffic sirens) to observe life, think, walk, read, eat and drink, then sleep and repeat. Did I mention the shopping?

As someone whose cultural norm was unfailingly to ‘get away from it all’ beside the sea or into the mountains whenever possible, city breaks are a new burst of neon. Occasionally there’s something strangely comforting about being in the midst of a large bustling population. Ditto, to walk down the street at night surrounded by teeming humanity; many pedestrians; copious night-cyclists.

Parts of Melbourne’s CBD (and Sydney’s) are not dissimilar to Paris, or any city of millions. The trees and old architecture lend beauty and respectability; the street art and talented (auditioned) buskers

 

Melbourne’s calling

 

proffer whimsy and edginess. Trams are yet another reason to love it here, giving so many such ease of access; a domino to the city’s vibrancy.The State Library of Victoria seems enough proof that Melbourne has a silken lining of learning, heritage and high culture. It’s beautiful architecturally; the fourth most popular library in the world, according to the city’s official visitor guide. The La Trobe Reading Room has that hushed, grandiose feel you get from a mix of history, the patina of quality timber, big airspace and gracious balconies.

Melbourne is a true melting-pot culture and notably one with incredible menus, globally sourced. I conducted a proper scientific straw poll, questioning two local dedicated gastronomic consumers on their favoured city establishments. Checking these out online showed a plethora of Trip-Advisor back-up and hearty recommendations. In a city this size, that equals booking weeks ahead.

If a weekend ‘Spice Journey’ appeals, try booking at Maha, which bills itself as an ‘unrestricted Middle Eastern’ eatery. Duck-fat hummus, preserved lemon, charred chicken kefta, Persian cherries, smoked almonds… plus a truly global range of craft beers and inventive, other-worldly cocktails.

 

Melbourne’s calling

 

Other well-patronised, gloriously centrally-located eateries included Sezar, an Armenian establishment with a geographically extensive wine-list; Tonka, with its ‘clean, punchy flavours’ of modern India, and Taxi Kitchen with its fabulously brash marketing (announcing unequivocally that you’ve arrived) and its inventive Aussie-Asian-fusion menu. The latter is perfect for savouring local fish, meat and a flavour-kaleidoscope of dumplings.

Other favourite haunts include the Peruvian Pastuso, (particularly noteworthy for its fab spirits menu, drawn from all over the globe), and the South-East-Asian Red Spice Road with artfully presented fresh fare and mind-blowing taste hits.

The conclusion? Any cuisine in the world can be found here, lovingly crafted; likewise any fashion. Alternatively, sit riverside on the South-Wharf boardwalk and do nothing. There’s no compunction to consume. Being somewhere different and just thinking is a re-boot too.