This year has been a busy one for me. Working full time, contributing to other publications as well as maintaining a blog has been rewarding and I love it, but it’s also been tiring. As the end of the year approaches, I really felt like I needed a mini break to keep me going. With no arm twisting at all my friend said she’d love to join me so I signed up to Jetstar Price Radar and found some fantastic value flights for relaxing few days away, heading to Christchurch.
Price Radar is great, especially when you have a busy life. It does all the hard work for you to find the best priced flights. You search for your flights, then simply hit “activate price radar”. You’ll then get email updates when flights hit your ideal price. So when I got the magic email, I locked it in.
Give it a go for your next trip or even have a play around for a spontaneous trip if the price is right – you can use it for both domestic and international flights. Check it out here
Here’s what we got up to on our relaxing weekend away.
1. Hanmer Springs
Since flights were such great value, I had extra spending money so we decided go on a bit of a road trip and hired a car with GPS to show us the way. We jumped off the plane, picked up our car and drove to Hamner Springs for the ultimate in relaxation – lounging in the thermal hot pools. If you haven’t been to Hanmer Springs, you need to go. It’s a small but very beautiful alpine town surrounded by mountains and is of course most famous for it’s natural hot pools.
The Hanmer Springs thermal pools were actually bigger and better than I had imagined. There are a range of different hot pools, including rock pools, sulphur pools and Aqua Therapy pools. Aqua Therapy originated in Europe and is a new form of water relaxation which helps relax your muscles and body. One of the pools has amazing powerful water and air jets which massage your body as you lay there in the warm water.
The sulphur pools were amazingly warm, and the rock pools were very relaxing too. You just sit back soak up the heat and admire the gorgeous surroundings. We lounged around until we turned prune like and then decided to head off to explore the town a little.
2. Conical Hill Walking Track
Hanmer Springs has plenty of walking tracks and we decided to track up to Conical Hill to get a better view of the gorgeous area. Conical Hill is an hour round trip, although I’m sure we did it faster than that and we were in our jandals. So even though it’s all up hill it’s not too strenuous which was nice since we’d just been relaxing in the hot pools.
There’s something special about being in nature and the walk was really enjoyable. It’s so peaceful and tranquil with only the sounds of trees rustling and birds chirping. The views from the top were gorgeous – miles of lush green trees, blue skies and snow tipped mountains. After admiring the views, it was then a nice meander down through the tall trees before heading to Christchurch. You can find out more about this walking track and others in Hanmer Springs here.
3. Day 2 – breakfast at Hello Sunday Cafe
There’s nothing like a delicious, healthy breakfast to start the day and Hello Sunday was just perfect for filling those requirements on our second day. The cafe provided perfect combination of great food, good service and a beautiful setting. The food at Hello Sunday caters for a range of dietary requirements and is made from scratch using fresh locally sourced and often organic produce. The coffee was perfect, and I chose the smashed avocado served with crispy polenta, poached eggs, goats curd and toasted multigrain. This was pretty much my ideal breakfast with my favourite things – eggs, avocado and feta – delicious. Hello Sunday was recommended to me by a few people, and if you head to Christchurch I’d also recommend checking it out.
4. The Christchurch Farmers Market
The Christchurch Farmers Market is a must see for any foodie. The market showcases some of the best of Canterbury’s produce, artisan and prepared foods.
For the healthy foodie, I’d recommend checking out the BearLion stall. BearLion make delicious salads, healthier sweet treats, cereals and preserves using wholefood, natural ingredients. There’s also plenty of options for those who have allergies.
I bought one of their organic cacao cakes topped with salted caramel sauce and it was truly amazing! It had a rich chocolate taste and a fudgey consistency that just melted in your mouth. It was also really filling. Washed down with a green juice from Green Roots Organics, it was the perfect mid morning snack to keep me going.
The other place I would recommend checking out is Posh Porridge. If I hadn’t already had breakfast I so would have picked that option. I was drooling looking at their menu board and I may or may not have stolen some ideas for porridge at home.
Another yummy food stall was Whiteheart hazelnuts. Grown by Ann Joseph in Christchurch, she creates a wide range of delicious hazelnut products – from a range of hazelnut butters to granolas and bliss balls. I bought a hazelnut butter to take home and my friend Caroline tried out their cacao hazlenut granola.
We spent a leisurely few hours sampling many delicious delights and left with full bellies and happy hearts!
5. The Vintage Peddler Bike Hire
For a cruisy, active afternoon we hired bikes from The Vintage Peddler and explored the city a little, including a bike ride through Hadley Park and following the track along the Avon River. We had a quick nosey in at the Botanical Gardens too. I particularly liked the conservatory full of tropical plants and greenery.
The bikes were lots of fun, and those old fashioned bike seats sure are comfy. I now think I need to trade in my bike at home for an old fashioned number.
Christchurch city centre, although still under construction, has lots going for it. I loved admiring the sculptures and graffiti art around the city which really brightens it up amongst the new construction and empty sites.
We checked out the Re:Start mall, the Cardboard Cathedral as well as having a nosey at the ruins of the old one, which was quite sad to see.
Christchurch is the perfect city for biking in – it’s nice and flat and the roads are wide, without too much traffic. I felt perfectly safe and secure peddling around.
6. Retail therapy
A little retail therapy was the perfect way to round up a relaxing weekend away. I was super impressed with Christchurch’s shops. In fact I think it’s some of the best shopping I’ve seen, with gorgeous homewares, clothing stores and shoe shops. There’s even a Lorna Jane Active store, the only one in NZ.
We had a quick browse around the Tannery, Colombo as well as the Re:Start mall. Since I got such great value flights, I had some money for a little retail therapy. Here’s a few of of my shopping finds, including some new Nike shoes, a glass drink bottle from Lululemon and a very cute raindrop necklace with a gold, rose gold and silver raindrop made locally in Christchurch.
7. Dinner at 50 Bistro
We decided to treat ourselves to dinner at 50 Bistro, an award winning restaurant located in the George Hotel. My dinner at 50 Bistro was one of the nicest meals I’ve had out for a long time. The food was delicious, well presented and the service as also spot on. I chose the pork dish:
Slow Cooked Free Farmed Pork
monteiths cider & sage cured pork belly & grilled tenderloin, celeriac, nut ranch organic hazelnuts & apple gel
You choose your main then add to it from a range of delicious sides – from templeton shiitakes, green beans, wok fry sauce, crispy shallots to simple sauteed kale with coconut oil and garlic.
The pork was tender, cooked to perfection and had amazing flavour. I only had my iphone here so the photo isn’t amazing, but the taste was!
Because I’m a believer in moderation and the dessert menu sounded divine, I had dessert too. My option was:
50 Bistro “Pavlova”
crisp raspberry & vanilla poached meringue, white chocolate cremeux, basil & granny smith gel
That white chocolate cremeux has me drooling thinking about it. Total deliciousness!
Our trip away was short, but very enjoyable and I came home feeling relaxed and revived. I’m now thinking about what my next trip should be! To book your own trip away at a great value price, check out Jetstar Price Radar and start planning a little getaway. You deserve it 🙂
This post was made possible thanks to Jetstar.