Day 2, Christchurch, NZ

Saturday, 3 September

I picked out the Christchurch Farmer’s Market (at Riccarton House) from a list of 10 markets featured on a website because from whatever information was given, it sounded the most appealing to me. Also, not all of them were open on Saturdays. The market is situated on a lovely ground in a lovely neighbourhood. It is open only on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm. Get there early as there is limited parking space. That didn’t concern us because hubby just dropped us girls at the entrance and drove to the Air Force museum with Adam. You might want to consider doing the same arrangement if the male members of your party aren’t keen to visit the market.

We arrived slightly after 10 and the market wasn’t too crowded yet.

Sarah was delighted to see a wide variety of vegan foods she never had before. The vegan cheese made of nuts was surprisingly tasty!

The raw carrot cake reminded me of an Indian sweet.
Not all cakes were vegan. There were ‘normal’ cakes too. 😉

Have I tempted you yet?

This market runs all year round but only on Saturday mornings. The stalls, more than 80 of them, offer a wide variety ranging from fresh produce to artisinal bakes, both sweet and savoury. Please click on the link I provided above to check out what’s available in the market. Click ‘Traders Info’ and that page will provide you with links to the pictures of the goods sold at the market. There is plenty of space on the ground for you to lay out your mat and enjoy your purchase.  If there’s only one thing that I could suggest you buy from this market, it would have to be the Ashley River organic pear juice. It cost $5.50 for a 1-litre bottle. It is very cheap for an organic juice!  You can’t miss the stall because it only sells bottled juices.  Most of the vegetables sold here are organic and they are not pricey. If you have booked an apartment so that you can cook, do buy your vegetables here to support the farmers who care about sustainability and the environment.

One of the top things to do here according to trip advisor is to visit Akaroa. It is a historic French settlement about 75 km from Christchurch. There seems to be plenty of things to do here, from visiting museums to swimming with the dolphins, but we only wanted to have lunch and do an easy stroll around the bay area. We set off from the Farmer’s Market at 11.30 and arrived in Akaroa just in time for lunch.  I don’t have pictures to show how scenic the route to Akaroa was but Sarah made a video of the trip. Do check it out here!

A busker singing under the cherry blossom
We had lunch at this French restaurant. Food took quite some time to arrive.
Possibly the only person who’s fascinated with the blossoms

There’s a visitor centre, a small supermarket and a few shops selling souvenirs and housewares in this part of the town. We made a mistake of not driving around the town centre before settling for a restaurant. There were more restaurants and shops further down the road and that part of the town was more bustling. You might want to check out what else you can do at Akaroa and other side trips you can take from Christchurch here.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by Westfields at Riccarton. If you’ve never heard of Westfields, it is a huge shopping centre and you can find them everywhere in Australia. There has not been a trip down under without a visit to Westfields. 🙂 If I’m not wrong, there’s usually at least one huge store like Kmart or Target, and one huge supermarket like Coles or Woolworths (Countdown in NZ) in every Westfields. I usually do some research on what’s on sale in stores like Kmart, Target, Big W and the supermarkets before I make the trip (will give you shopping tips on a post specially dedicated to this later) but this time I didn’t because I didn’t have any intention to shop. Still, when I walked into Kmart and saw several household items like jars and serving wares that were just so pretty pretty, I was tempted. I picked up a set of a marble base with a glass dome cover that was going for only $19 (really!) but had to put it back on the rack grudgingly when my daughter said, “Mummy, do you really need that?”

The only other store I was interested to go to was the supermarket. They have a huge supermarket like Costco here called Pak’ n Save. Items that I spotted to be cheaper than back home were the cereals and granola bars. I didn’t spend much time here because I didn’t want to hold up everyone else with me. I usually and prefer to shop alone. So I can’t tell you what else is worth buying here except for the two items I mentioned before and some baking ingredients like flour and sugar.