Moving to a new city can be exciting and daunting, especially for expats unfamiliar with the local customs and lifestyle, but expats moving to Christchurch are in for a treat. Despite the challenges posed by the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, Christchurch has managed to reinvent itself, emerging as a vibrant and resilient city that offers an unparalleled quality of life.

The lifestyle in Christchurch will give expats plenty to discover, from its picturesque parks and beaches to its thriving culinary and arts scenes, this charming city has something for everyone.

Shopping in Christchurch

Shopping in Christchurch is an exciting experience that offers a diverse range of products and shopping destinations. From boutique stores and local markets to high-end designer boutiques, Christchurch will leave shopaholics wanting for nothing. Whether expats are looking for the latest fashion trends, unique souvenirs or fresh produce, the city has it all. Here are some of the best shopping areas to explore in Christchurch.

Central Business District

Christchurch's Central Business District (CBD) is the city's main shopping hub. Visitors can explore one of the city's biggest shopping malls, The Crossing, which offers a unique shopping experience and is a vibrant mixture of department stores and luxury retails. The CBD also features the SALT District, a stylish yet quaint shopping precinct that champions sustainable and local brands.


Riccarton is one of Christchurch's busiest suburbs and is home to the largest shopping mall in the South Island, Westfield Riccarton. The mall features more than 180 stores, including international brands such as H&M, Zara, and Apple. Visitors can also explore the Riccarton Market, which offers a wide range of local produce, food, and crafts.


Merivale is a sophisticated suburb located just a few minutes' drive away from the CBD. The area is home to a range of high-end fashion boutiques, premium home décor stores, and gourmet food shops. Visitors can also explore Merivale Mall, a stylish shopping complex that offers a plethora of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle stores.

New Brighton

New Brighton is a vibrant seaside suburb that offers various local shops and markets. The area is home to New Brighton Mall and New Brighton Farmers Market, which is open every Saturday for the sale of fresh local produce and artisanal goods.

Eating out in Christchurch

From cafés and pubs to restaurants and fine dining, Christchurch has a varied and sophisticated culinary scene. Several mobile coffee carts are also dotted around the city, so there is no need to go far for a caffeine fix.

Regarding food, expats can find flavours from around the world, including Italian, Mexican and Indian food as well as specialist vegetarian restaurants. Food stalls and trucks around the city cater for numerous Asian and European tastes, while some weekend food and farmers' markets have become Christchurch institutions.

Nightlife in Christchurch

The nightlife in Christchurch is bustling, with various quirky restaurants, pubs and craft-beer bars lining the city's streets since the 2011 earthquakes. The suburbs of Addington, Fendalton, Merivale and Riccarton, all near the city centre, are popular nightlife areas.

As the art capital of New Zealand, there are also plenty of shows, comedy clubs and art cinemas to keep expats busy at night. The city's art scene is thriving, with numerous galleries and museums showcasing the work of local and international artists.

Outdoor activities in Christchurch

With the expansive Hagley Park and the Botanical Gardens to the west of the city centre, Christchurch is ideally situated for outdoor pursuits while still offering the convenience of city life. The beautiful coastal suburb of Sumner in the southeast, the Port Hills to the south, and the stunning Banks Peninsula beyond are a few of the city's most exciting outdoor adventure hotspots. 

Expats who enjoy outdoor activities will be delighted with the abundance of hiking and biking trails and opportunities for skiing and snowboarding in the winter months. Many ski sites are an easy drive from Christchurch, and hiking and mountain-biking areas such as McLeans Island, Bottle Lake and the Port Hills are all nearby. Taylors Mistake and New Brighton, two famous Christchurch beaches, are ideal spots to surf or paraglide.

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