The Top 10 Thing to Do and See in Papanui, Christchurch, New Zealand

Jing Xuan Teng

Papanui, like the rest of Christchurch, is slowly but surely recovering from the damage caused by major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. A whole host of attractions, sights, and eateries are cropping up or reopening after restoration work. Here are 10 of the most interesting things to see and do in the neighborhood.


1. Brunch at Strawberry Fare

Restaurant, European, Vegetarian

Espresso at Strawberry Fare
© studio tdes/Flickr
Strawberry Fare, part of the Carlton Mill Hotel, is one of Christchurch’s top new restaurants. They serve a particularly interesting brunch menu, with both classic breakfast items and imaginative new dishes. Try the duck confit with butter, or spicy corn and capsicum fritters with tomato jam. Strawberry Fare uses only the freshest, seasonal, and mostly locally sourced ingredients.

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 7am – Late; Saturday 8.30am – late; Sunday 8.30am – Late

2. Stroll through St. James Park

Church, Park

Stroll through St. James Park

This 4 hectare park at the heart of Papanui is among the most picturesque green spaces in the neighborhood. Aside from its playground, cricket pitch, and soccer fields, a major reason to visit St. James are the thousands of monarch butterflies that gather on the park’s trees during the winter.

St. James Park, Papanui, Christchurch, New Zealand

St. Paul's Church, Papanui | © Schwede66/Wikimedia CommonsSt. Paul’s Church, Papanui | © Schwede66/Wikimedia Commons

3. Visit the historic St. Paul's Anglican Church


St. Paul’s is the area’s oldest church, established in 1853 and rebuilt in 1877. It was damaged during the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, but has been restored to its original condition since then. Protected by its official conservation status, St. Paul’s gives visitors a glimpse into what life was like in the early days of Papanui settlement, when the it was a small sawmilling village.

4. Dance the night away at Club 22

Dance the night away at Club 22

Club 22 has an interesting history. 24-year-old founder Liv Boote was inspired to set up this suburban nightclub in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake in order to revitalize the Christchurch nightlife scene. In addition to a dancefloor, Club 22 also has a pool room and large leather couches. Come here for some crowd-pleasing tunes and a youthful, relaxed mood.

Club 22, 22 Harewood Road, Christchurch, New Zealand, +64 3354 9216

Strawberry Cupcakes | © Selma Broeder/FlickrStrawberry Cupcakes | © Selma Broeder/Flickr

5. Learn to bake at Chillingworth Road

Learn to bake at Chillingworth Road

In addition to serving fantastic bistro fare and scrumptious desserts, Chillingworth Road cafe offers a great selection of cookery and baking lessons for reasonable fees. Try out the three bread masterclasses, in which students learn to make anything from pizza bases to rye bread. The cake decorating and pastry making classes are always a hit with dessert lovers.

Opening hours: Mon – 7.30am – 4pm; Tues – Fri 7.30am – late; Sat 3pm – late; Sun closed

Chillingworth Road, 478 Cranford Street, Christchurch, New Zealand, +64 3352 7784

Milk Glass Collection | © Hotholler/Wikimedia CommonsMilk Glass Collection | © Hotholler/Wikimedia Commons

6. Antiques and Cake at Rose Cafe

Antiques and Cake at Rose Cafe

Fans of cute antique trinkets and vintage knick knacks will enjoy Rose Cafe, where diners sit amid shelves laden with antique china, porcelain floral centerpieces, and fringed lampshades. Come in for a coffee or a light lunch, and leave with a unique gift or souvenir.

Rose Cafe, 466 Papanui Road, Christchurch, New Zealand, +64 3354 5300

7. Unwind at Aotea Yoga

Fitness Studio

Unwind at Aotea Yoga

Aotea Yoga is a fitness studio with a focus on nourishing both the mind and the body. If you are staying in Christchurch for a couple of weeks it may be a good idea to enrol in one of their expertly taught Hatha Yoga courses, which combine Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa principles. Pilates, child friendly and “gentle” sessions are also available, and you also have the option to take a one-off class.

Aotea Yoga, 520 Cranford Street, Christchurch, New Zealand, +64 3352 2252

8. Grab a coffee at Il Magro


Grab a coffee at Il Magro

Espresso bar Il Magro is proof that good things come in small packages. Tucked away behind a gas station and a pair of antique green doors, the espresso bar started off as a traveling coffee cart. Owners Mark and Carly set up shop recently in a tiny storage space, which they have transformed into a cosy nook offering top quality, hand-roasted coffee, and fresh baked goods.

Il Magro, 10 Winston Avenue, Christchurch, New Zealand, +64 21277 6584

International Antarctic Centre | © Wesley Fryer/FlickrInternational Antarctic Centre | © Wesley Fryer/Flickr

9. Head to the International Antarctic Centre

Head to the International Antarctic Centre

The International Antarctic Centre is actually located in Christchurch airport, a brief drive from Papanui, but well worth a visit, especially if you are traveling with children. The interactive exhibits use New Zealand’s proximity to Antarctica as a jumping off point, taking visitors on an adventure involving penguins, a Hagglund ride, and simulated snowstorms.

International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Airport, 38 Orchard Road, Christchurch, New Zealand, +64 3357 0519

10. Get cultural at the Art Box Gallery

Get cultural at the Art Box Gallery

The Art Box Gallery is a small gallery attempting to give the local art scene a boost after the events of 2010 and 2011, showcasing the work of Kiwi visual artists like Victoria Jones, Paul Smith, and Christine Lang. Previous events and exhibitions held in the gallery have included art appreciation evenings, women’s networking nights, as well as musical performances.

Art Box Gallery, 1/16 Lofus Street, Christchurch, New Zealand, +64 3352 8940
By Jing Xuan Teng

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