New Regent Street
New Regent Street started life in the 1880s as a skating rink, but opened as a boutique shopping street with the current Spanish Mission-style buildings in 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression in New Zealand. Most of the shops on the street remained unoccupied for a long time, because of the economic hardships. Now, tourists and locals both love the street, and there’s a range of high-end souvenir shops, jewelers, bars, coffee shops and restaurants, hairdressers, galleries, and other shops on street level. Although some buildings on the street were damaged in the earthquake in 2011, they were quickly repaired. The street is pedestrianized, aside from the historic tram that runs through it. Many organized tours of Christchurch city include some time at New Regent Street; alternatively, it’s easy to visit independently.
Things to know before you go
- If you plan to eat, it’s a good idea to reserve your table ahead of time, as the restaurants on New Regent Street are popular and often at full capacity.
- Keep an eye out for the tram while strolling along New Regent Street.
- Christchurch has suffered from several earthquakes in recent years, the largest being in 2011. While there is a risk of earthquakes throughout New Zealand, there is usually no reason to be overly alarmed; just be prepared about what to do should you experience a large one.
How to get there
New Regent Street is in central Christchurch, just a block over from Cathedral Square. There’s parking near New Regent Street if you are self-driving. The street is about a 10-minute walk from the Christchurch Bus Exchange. Alternatively, take an historic tram ride on a restored heritage tram. Tram stop number 17 is on New Regent Street
When to get there
There are reasons to visit New Regent Street at any time of day. In the daytime you can browse the shops, while at night you can have a drink or dinner. Individual businesses on the street open at different times.
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens
While Christchurch lost one of its most iconic landmarks in the earthquake--the Christchurch Cathedral--there are still other attractive things to see and do in the central city. One must-visit attraction is the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, a peaceful haven of green, with the River Avon running through the middle, and the Canterbury Museum just outside.
- Transitional Cathedral (Cardboard Cathedral)
- Bridge of Remembrance
- Christchurch Tram
- Cashel Street
- Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial
- Christchurch Arts Centre
- Canterbury Museum
- Avon River
- Christchurch Botanic Gardens
- Hagley Park
- The Court Theatre
- Mona Vale
- TranzAlpine Train
- Air Force Museum of New Zealand
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve