Apparently Christchurch has only seen thirteen hours of sun in the past nineteen days… This seems pretty extreme for a typically sunny and relatively temperate city, but then again, who am I to complain? I’m about to escape to North America for the next two weeks. But let’s backtrack… this post isn’t about escaping winter, it’s about making the most of the season even when the weather is less than ideal. Here are some ways I’ve resisted hibernating until the cherry blossoms decide to bloom in Hagley Park…
Make the most of ski season
I was pretty surprised when I first moved to New Zealand and learnt how popular skiing is here. Arriving from Canada, I knew that a few Kiwis skied, but had no idea the extent of the options available even within Canterbury. A weekend or even a day away to Mt. Hutt or Porters is the perfect way to immerse yourself into the season.
Enjoy a mulled wine or two
Mulled wine is the perfect excuse to peel yourself off the couch. Smash Palace is my go-to for a steaming glass of the cinnamon and nutmeg beverage. Even on cooler evenings, I can sit outside (beside a heater) with my mulled wine and almost forget the temperature is hovering slightly above zero. If you can’t bear tearing yourself away from your latest Netflix binge, it’s also ridiculously easy to make at home.
Holiday in Hanmer Springs
It wasn’t until last winter that I properly explored Hanmer. Nick and I spent the night at Braemar Lodge for his birthday and had the loveliest time. Known for its hot pools and walking tracks, the alpine town is close enough to the ski fields, offering an alternative après-ski option. Stop in at the 1861 Hurunui Hotel on the drive back for lunch or a coffee.
Treat yourself to a staycation
If you can’t get away to the Pacific Islands or Hawaii, a staycation might just do the trick. There are so many staycation options in Christchurch, but two of my hotels are the Crowne Plaza and Hotel Montreal (read my staycation guide here). Both strike the perfect balance between luxury and anonymity (which is ideal for a staycation) and you’ll love their in-house dining options if you don’t feel like venturing outside.
If you’d like to venture slightly outside Christchurch, I love exploring the North Canterbury region and highly recommend Pure Pods. Perfectly situated for gorgeous views and isolation, staying at the Waipara pod offers the ultimate mini getaway.
Book yourself a massage or a facial
Winter takes a toll on the body, so it’s important to treat yourself every now and then. Whether it’s a hydrating facial at Total Body Concept or a luxurious massage at Beauty at the Tannery, you’ll leave feeling so much better than when you arrived. If the funds are a bit tight, you can always treat yourself to a face mask and your favourite book.
Check out a new restaurant
While picnics are out of the question, visiting your favourite restaurant or venturing somewhere new is an excellent way to beat the cold. Cosy up by the fire at Miro in the Midland Building, share a platter at O.G.B. or grab a cocktail at Universo in the art gallery. The central city options are so extensive and it’s nice to get out of the house even when the weather is a bit frightening.
Photo by Nancy Zhou
Invest in some new sweaters
My friend once commented that Canadians must really love turtlenecks after she noticed me wearing them pretty much every day. I’m not sure if that’s true, but Canadians are quite practical when it comes to winter dressing. We’re accustomed to shockingly cold temperatures, so we prefer not to mess around. If you’re feeling the chill, there’s really nothing better than snuggling up in your favourite cosy jumper.
Photos by Nancy Zhou
Sweat it out
Winter is when many of us get into a bit of a workout funk, but it’s actually the best way to keep warm and ward off illness. So, this year I decided to switch it up a bit by signing up for spin classes. Rather than traditional classes, I opted for Cadence Cycle Studio which combines strength training, cardio and cycling. It’s the perfect workout for those of us who need a bit of variety.
Experiment with new recipes
I’m not much of a chef, but winter is the time when I don’t mind experimenting in the kitchen. The days are shorter and the nights can feel long. There’s something so special about preparing a wholesome meal to share with friends and loved ones.
…or order some meatballs!
Meatball Monday is, hands down, the best way to beat your weekday blues. You get the choice of pork and beef balls or white bean and cannellini (vegan is also an option!). You can also add anchovies, which are simply delicious. Even better, Tom delivers to homes and businesses in the central city and nearby suburbs. Oh and he’s recently introduced fennel to his recipes, which is a game changer. Just trust me and order some balls for next Monday.
I’d love to hear your ideas for embracing the chillier months. Leave me a comment below with your tips.