Mr A’ and I had a looovely relaxing stroll along New Brighton Beach. If you end up in Christchurch, you should too! It is easy to find parking, there is an amazing library right next to the beach as well as a fun looking play area covered in happy children!
Why New Brighton Beach?
I made a lot of plans before we visited New Zealand. I’d read quite a few really helpful blogs, researched possible hikes and even had back-up walks for ideas if we ran out of things to do… But I didn’t plan everything! We’d had a couple of VERY busy days in the North Island. If you missed it, you can read about some of our adventures walking the Tongariro Crossing, and visiting the Maori Carvings, Wai-O-Tapu thermal wonderland and Okoroire Hot springs. So, by the time we’d woken up super early to drive to Auckland and fly to Christchurch, we were both ready to relax!
We popped into the city to replace my camera lens (I’d been using it soooo much in the last two years that it broke! Argh!) But this didn’t take long at all, so we found ourselves in Christchurch on a hot day, when neither of us felt like doing traditional sightseeing. What would you do in that situation? Our solution was to put “beach” into our hire-car’s sat nav, and drive to the closest beach for a stroll.
It turns out that Christchurch has some amaaaazing Beaches! New Brighton Beach is incredibly long, has soft white sand and is a lovely place to go for a wander. It’s even better that Brighton Beach back in Blighty! I mean, Brighton in the UK has those pretty beach houses, and a historical pier but it is covered in pebbles, rather than soft sand.
The Kiwi version of Brighton Beach even has it’s own pier! This has recently been restored, so you can’t walk right to the end of it yet. Once it is all fixed up it’ll reach out for 300 meters into the sea!
There weren’t many other people walking on the pier when we arrived, so we made the most of it by taking slightly silly jumping photos.
And we had a chance to admire the gorgeous waves, that seem to go on forever!
Then we took a stroll along New Brighton Beach. There were quite a few people near the New Brighton Pier, but as soon as you walk, even a little way along the beach there is plenty of space with far fewer people.
There was an ice-cream van by the New Brighton Beach car park (near the pier.) However the line was a bit long, so we cheated, and popped into the local supermarket to grab an ice-cream to wander with. Noms.
The beach itself had some interesting huuuuge strands of seaweed.
We also saw what looked like little blue bubbles or marbles. After a while we found a few larger ones so I took a closer look. Mr A’ thought they might be part of a portuguese man o’ war, so we were careful not to stand on them! They look like cool little alien snails!
After our wander, we finished our afternoon with some fish ‘n’ chips. There were quite a few fish options, so we chose Hoki and Tarakihi. Mostly because neither of us had tried those before. We had one in breadcrumbs and one battered, and they were both really tasty!
While we ate our fish and chips there was a cheeky sea gull (Gary) who came over and really wanted to be our friend. He sat with us the whole way though our meal on the beach. I know you shouldn’t give food to sea gulls because they’ll just expect it from other humans, but this little due was so cute. I gave Gary one teeny piece of my fish.
The very next second, we were the most popular people on the beach as all the seagulls wanted to get in on the action! I looked up, and this was my view as EVERYONE flew over to inspect us with our meal. Oops. We decided it might be best not to give any more food away!
So, this was probably our laziest day in New Zealand. We only walked for around 5 km along the New Brighton beach. It was pretty, bright blue and really relaxing. We could have walked twice as far and still not run out of beach!
I am in no way an expert of the best things to do in Christchurch; But this beach is a pretty good option.