new zealand

TripAdvisor review: ReSTART, Christchurch NZ

I loved the ReSTART  mall in Christchurch. A collection of local designers, neat homewares,  cafes and clothing shops- all housed in shipping containers. In an effort to rebuild after the Christchurch earthquakes, it seems this temporary solution has been a massive success in revitalizing the local community and boosting morale. It’s a physical testament to Christchurch’s resilience and ingenuity. 

It was a shame to learn that the mall may be pulled down soon to make way for a “trendy shopping center”. 
Bah, humbug. This mall has character and quirk and you should go see it while it still stands. 

TripAdvisor review: Fisherman’s Plate, Wellington NZ

Fisherman’s Plate looks like your regular run-of-the-mill takeaway. They have a long standing tradition of serving fish and chips, and they have an extensive Vietnamese menu. I was going to just go with my usual pho,  but decided to take the path less trodden.
We had salt and pepper squid with green tea soba noodles and Vietnamese salad. It was to die for, absolutely stunning. The soba salad was warm, plum sauce sweet, tender, lightly seasoned squid, fish sauce salty, had a peanut nuttiness, had some red cabbage colour, and fresh herbs for punch. This dish is a true revelation. We ordered two and I would be happy to eat it all day. This restaurant is a hidden gem. It may seem tame from the outside, but do yourself a favour and jump right in. It will be the best Vietnamese you’ll have in Wellington.

​​

TripAdvisor review: Ibis Christchurch, NZ

The Ibis is a hotel chain where you can pretty much expect what the facilities are like as well as the standard of accommodation.
 What makes Ibis Christchurch really special is the warmth of service from the staff. Their attentive hospitality was very much appreciated when we had a late night check-in, and we had various transfers and activities to confirm. They chose to go above the call of duty to help us. 
The hotel is right at the heart of Christchurch CBD which makes is a central location to anything you’d need- it’s all within walking distance.

 The buffet breakfast at this hotel is great value (considering the lack of reasonably priced brunch spots in the immediate area).
On a side note, The local community has shown such great resilience and strength of spirit to continue on after tragic natural disasters. It was humbling to see the rebuild effort. I recommend going to Christchurch to see and support the city, even though a lot of it is still under construction. 
We had a relaxing time and we were satisfied with the facilities.

TripAdvisor review: Hanmer Springs Bakery Cafe, NZ

Hanmer Springs is a quaint little boutique town. This bakery fits right in to the image; snow capped mountain, family fun activities and hot chocolate with tendrils of steam curling skyward. Honestly, this café  isn’t the most esthetic on the block but food really is to die for.

Their croissants are just right, and their pre-made sandwiches are delish (just the way my grandma made them!). We tried a few desserts too, they were perfect and hit the spot after a day of exploring.

 

It’s underrated and overlooked, but I guarantee you’ll find something you like, and it’s a local hotspot  too!

TripAdvisor review:   Fragrifert Parfumeur Victorian Perfumery, Wellington NZ

Once you reach the top of the Wellington Cable Car station, you follow your ears to the sound of coffee grinding. Beyond that, your nose sparks curiosity and you wander to a little store beside the Kowhai Café  to the Victorian Perfumery.

The parfumer  there is wonderful. His knowledge of scents and the distilling process is extensive. He takes you on a little tour through the perfumery (at no cost) and offers you some of his concoctions to smell.

They’re real. They’re not the cheap synthetic perfumes you find in abundance these days. His perfumes are sweet, with depth and memory. He mixes some for the ladies, some for the gentlemen  and some for certain occasions. It’s honestly a trip down memory lane, and he is great for conversation about what each smell reminds you of. Fresh Flowers, barks and leaves- he is inspired by nature to create perfumes that need only a dab to last a full day on the wearer. My mother, who gets migranes from strong perfume, was awash in memories from yesteryear.

I had no idea it existed until I was up there, but I promise you won’t regret the trip.

TripAdvisor review: Canterbury Museum, Christchurch NZ

This museum is very interesting. The exhibits are quite informative, and so you’re bound to learn something new. It’s a great place for families and kids, as there’s plenty to see- natural history, cultural history, artifacts from contemporary life. It’s great value for a free day out. The museum is quite respectful and objective when depicting New Zealand’s past and I was really pleased to see such cultural sensitivity. The cafe at the top is always busy and the grounds are quite lovely. 

Gap Cache Log Book

If you walk down the lane, you find a small park. The park that is filled with subversive art installations. There are murals on the wall, planted natives for the future, a giant kaleidoscope… Christchurch is has hidden quirks. 
There is a tree-stump about shin height. I looled down and found this small door. 

I opened it.

Inside I discovered a Gap Cache Log Book. It recorded entries from people who chanced upon the logbook, as I did. 

Christchurch after the quakes is a place full of human strength and resilience. There are signs of life, if you choose to pay attention.