Christchurch is a relatively compact and cycle-friendly city. Since I live and work in the CBD, it’s rare that I drive at all during the week. That said, there’s plenty to explore outside the central city and nothing beats a weekend excursion with good company. I’m an advocate for road trips and discovering new parts of this beautiful region. Akaroa and Waipara are two of my favourite regions and both require a set of wheels to access comfortably.
When MINI Christchurch asked me if I’d like to take one of their Clubman Coopers for a spin, I grabbed a few of my friends and packed up for a weekend of MINI adventures.
No weekend is complete without brunch, so we ventured to White House Black, a two-storey, entirely renovated 1800s homestead. The stately property is elegant both inside and out, with a modern interior fit-out. The restaurant puts on a delicious spread, particularly in the morning with decadent pancakes, huevos rancheros, and salmon on kumara hash.
Our appetites satiated, we venture back through the city to Rapaki Bay. On the way, we stop to take in some of our favourite street art and architecture. Isaac Theatre Royal and the Heritage Hotel in Cathedral Square are two of my favourite buildings. We drive up to O.G.B. Bar, my all-time favourite bar in Christchurch. Located in the Heritage Hotel, it’s one of Christchurch’s last standing heritage buildings and an architectural gem. During the day, O.G.B. serves coffees out of a takeaway window. Stop by after work, for a drink on their sun-drenched terrace.
Within 15-minutes, we completely escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Off the beaten track, Rapaki Bay is one of the more secluded bays on in Governor’s Bay. Here, bright blue water is encompassed by the Port Hills. Less crowded than Corsair Bay, we drive the Mini right up to the pier. It feels like we have the place entirely to ourselves and we’re pretty lucky to call this city our home. After a bit of exercise, we pile back into the Mini and head towards Lyttelton.
Civil and Naval is another special spot that’s slightly out of the way, but absolutely worth visiting. If I lived in Lyttelton, I think I’d be there every day. After iced coffees and plenty of laughs, we head home to pack up for camping. Awaroa/Godley Head is only a 35-minute drive from downtown Christchurch, but feels like a world away. The recently opened campgrounds are relatively empty apart from a persistently annoying rooster that wakes us in time for the sunrise; one that beckons with gradients of purple and pink.
I was initially apprehensive about The Clubman, which is a bit larger than what I’m used to driving. However, the vehicle is spacious without being bulky and was ideal for whizzing around Christchurch’s winding roads with friends.
Although this post was created in partnership with MINI Christchurch,
all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Photos courtesy of Shayden Whipps.