Something to See*: WORD Christchurch Spring Festival 2020

Kia ora koutou. It's nearly time for WORD Christchurch Spring Festival 2020! Here are some CBD picks for writers and visitors to Christchurch, highlighting stuff to do and see while in town for Festivale. 

Tūranga

Please pop into our central library Tūranga. There are lots of WORD events on at Tūranga, but you can also avail yourself of books, mags, free wifi, and all the accoutrements of a wonderful library. And check out the Discovery Wall.

Street art

Browse Watch this Space for street art deets. The latest piece in town is this Antarctic stunner on the Novotel, right by Tūranga. Produced by Oi You and designed and painted by Dcypher/XL Street Murals with help from Jacobyikes.

Audrey Love, by Lemon Tree Cafe on the corner of Manchester and St Asaph Streets. A beauty of a mural by Distranged Design.

Love the Giant Cans on the corner of Manchester, Lichfield and High Streets. Artists: Ikarus, Dcypher, and Wongi.

Canterbury Museum

Visit Canterbury Museum and see classics like the Victorian Christchurch street and fashions; interesting Christchurch Antarctic collection, and check out their exhibitions. House of Treasures: Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho features he only Huia nest in the world, the dress worn by Kate Sheppard on our $10 note, the boots Edmund Hillary wore when he conquered Mount Everest, the Victoria Cross awarded to local hero, Henry Nicholas, a 4.3 metre long skeleton of the South Island Giant Moa, and also the first book produced in Antarctica and treasures from distant shores.

The Quake City exhibition is on display at Quake City, 299 Durham Street North, corner Armagh Street. It provides a good insight into what Christchurch people have been through, and the progress of the rebuild.

The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora

Visit the Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora and see Rutherford's Den for hands-on science, the glorious Great Hall, and the Mākete on Sunday.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Stroll over to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and go to the Visitor Centre, see the gaudy Peacock fountain; explore the conservatories (Cuningham House is a tropical wonderland, Townend House is home to begonias). Find out what's in bloom for October and November - rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, and you might even catch some roses.

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Christchurch people are very proud of our Christchurch Art Gallery - the people as well as the building and exhibitions. Some WORD events take place at the Gallery. Exhibition wise, Te Wheke: Pathways across Oceania is one to catch when you're in town.

SCAPE Public Art

Scape Season 2020 is on! Have a look at the artists and artworks you can discover.

Selfie spots

The Reading Room is a big couch, chairs, and table across the road from Tūranga, a great photo op for you book-loving types.

Spot the #ChchChanges frames around the CBD - it's a GapFiller initiative.

There are angel wings outside ChristChurch Cathedral - share your selfie with the hashtag #chchcathedral

Bloom cuteness down by Riverside Market.

ChristchurchNZ has more recommendations for Spring Gram Locations.

Foodies and Drinkies

There are loads of options, here are some that I can personally recommend.

Foundation Cafe at Tūranga, breakfast dhal pictured. They also do the best-ever chocolate fudge cake (dubbed Nanna's fudge cake by the supercool & friendly staff). Their v cheesetastic cheese scones are also deservedly famous.

  • Food trucks in Cathedral Square on a Friday, after which you might feel like a wee boogie at the Dance-o-mat on the corner of Colombo and Gloucester Streets. I love Lucky Ninja.
  • Last Word (they even do a delectable cocktail called the Last Word - so apt during WORD).
  • Escarto Espresso in Cathedral Square (great coffee, wonderful people, and they use Whittakers Dark Ghana in their hot and iced chocs - yum).
  • Icecream and gelato - Vanilla Ices in Victoria Square, Rollickin' Gelato in New Regent and Cashel Streets, Utopia Ice on High Street, Cherry Garcia at Ben & Jerry's in Riverside Market.
  • Riverside Market has lots of options for meals and yummy stuff.
  • Boxed Quarter on the corner of St Asaph and Madras has a stellar lineup - glorious pastas at ChiChi Kitchen, yum Korean street food at Steampunk Laboratory, lots of delish options here
  • Little High Eatery - my faves are Bacon Brothers Burnt Broccoli and Base Woodfired Pizza (the St George).

UBS and Scorpio

The splendid University Bookshop UBS will be on site at festival venues.

Scorpio Books is in the BNZ complex at 120 Hereford Street if you want to wander to a bookshop in town and browse.

There's also the delightfully named Custard Square bookshop, a caravan of booky delights that parks up at the Arts Centre. All books are $5.

All about us

If you want to find out more about Christchurch, our website has a motherlode of local history information.

If you want to explore more things to do in Christchurch, try:

*Ten out of ten if you spotted the title of this was a riff on Pip Adam's book Nothing to see.


I've traditionally done a blog post for writers and visitors to Christchurch, highlighting stuff to do and see while in town for Festivale. Here's the previous picks:

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