10 tips for living in Christchurch, New Zealand as an expat with a young family
Updated: Sep 24
My personal top 10 of hacks, ideas, and places I wishI knew about when arriving here about a year ago!
Below are my personal favourites that make my life easier with my young family.
1. Streamside Organics veggie box
Streamside Organics is a farm located just south of Christchurch, supplying home delivery boxes packed with fresh picked fruits and vegetables. We love the healthy and honest products we get from there every week.
2. Weather app for New Zealand: Metservice
The Met Service NZ Weather App is a fast way to look up what the weather has in store. With the - four seasons in one day - kind of weather this is a must have when living on this side of the world!
3. Parking made easy in Christchurch: Parkmate
Driving through Christchurch, you will see many empty gravel lots. Before the earthquakes there were buildings in these places but currently, they transformed it in Wilson’s open-air parking lots. There is a lot of off-street parking places and 60- and 120- minute parking. With the Park mate app, you can easily figure out where to park.
4. Flowers Baxter from Aromaunga Baxters Flowers
The Dutch love their flowers! That being said, I like to buy straight from the grower.
I always go to this family owned business for the freshest flowers and the best prices. They have a wee shop at Aromaunga Baxters Flowers on the way to sumner Beach…
5. Mindbody app
The Mindbody app is a source for fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more, no matter where you are in the world. It is easy to find (virtual) courses near you. Movementor Pilates has to be my all-time favorite. I will book with Mind Body app because it gives me the flexibility to book ahead or last minute!
Neat Places is a selected list of local places, events and people that have a unique point of view or a great story to tell. Neat Places is a guide to all the big and beautiful, small and secluded, hustling, bustling favorite spots around New Zealand. From brand spankin’ new cafes to nifty thrift stores, everything neat is in one spot. Need help with researching a great restaurant? A local bakery? A place to take Grandpa for lunch?
They have you covered.When we go visit other cities in New Zealand, we check out Neat Places first!
7. Tūranga (Central Library)
Tūranga is the largest public library in the South Island and the flagship for the Christchurch City Libraries network. And I understand why. This public space is built for its purpose and received a lot of design awards.
My boys and I spend heaps of hours in here. They even have a Dutch book collection! And the Imagination Station is a real added value. Everyone is welcome to build their heart’s content with LEGO, LEGO Technic and DUPLO.
8. Red zone, the evolution of city’s abandoned acres, Christchurch
This strange, sad though lovely landscape is called the red zone. The red zone is nearly twice the size of Manhattan’s Central Park and there were 10,000 people living on this land a decade ago. They lived in suburbs with pretty names like Avonside and Bexley and Horseshoe Lake, all of which are gone now.
After the earthquakes, this area was abandoned. The liquefaction in Christchurch is amongst the most severe of its kind from anywhere in the world and turned this area into a swamp. It’s quite impressive to walk around here and think about all the families that used to live in this area. This is a great place to teach your kids how to ride their bikes. With the empty streets without the people and vehicles this is a unique place to be.
9. Toy Library for children 0-10 years
When moving abroad with kids thus limited space for toys to bring, the toy library is the ultimate solution! The library is funded through annual membership subscriptions, toy rental fees, grants and fundraising.
10. Christchurch’s best vintage and op shops
Christchurch is op shop heaven without a doubt! We came with each a suitcase so at some point my family needed winter coats and for that special occasion I needed a dress. What better way to go shopping while being sustainable and avoiding fast-fashion? Not only is secondhand shopping better for the environment, there’s no better feeling than finding a staple designer bag or a one-off dress nobody else will be donning. That being said, finding quality secondhand wares that won’t break the bank involves a bit of effort, so we’re here to help you discover the very best thrift and op shops Christchurch has to offer.