Now that the inner city has been reduced to ruins, Christchurch’s more scenic attractions have become far more appealing. Getting out of the city and onto a beach is your best bet for a fun afternoon in Christchurch, and New Brighton Beach is one of the best (and most accessible) beaches close to the city. There’s also a massive pier to walk down and a slightly scruffy shopping and eating area — everything you need for a few hours by the ocean!
New Brighton Beach
New Brighton Beach stretches off into the distance and looks like the ideal place to go for a huge beach run. The sand is pretty good but the water didn’t look all that appealing (I’m fussy with where I swim though). New Brighton Beach doesn’t have many distinguishing features, but the giant pier is definitely one of them. I can imagine it getting pretty busy here on a hot summer afternoon, but I visited in winter and it was almost deserted – there were quite a few people milling around the pier though.
New Brighton Pier
I’ve seen some amazing photos of New Brighton Pier on Instagram, but those were all taken under colourful skies at sunrise or sunset. The harsh midday light dulls the effect a little, but it’s still a cool place to see. You can walk out to the end of the pier, where you’ll most likely see fishermen trying their luck, with an audience of sea birds waiting for scraps. The views from the pier are the main reason to visit — you can see down both sides of the beach and back towards the Port Hills.
There’s a cafe / restaurant at the base of New Brighton Pier, but if you’re looking for a bit more variety you can head across the road and into the little town centre. I read that the pier was closed for repairs, but while there was work going on when I visited I could still walk right to the end.
New Brighton Village
The little village centre of New Brighton features a few bars, restaurants and cafes (and even a Subway). There are also some shops, some of which look like they’ve been empty for years. It’s like the main street of a small town and is worth a quick look. There’s a lot of street art (mostly the political variety), which adds to the crumbling charm.
Getting to New Brighton Beach
New Brighton Beach is located around 8 km from the centre of Christchurch. If you’re relying on public transport take bus 60 from the bus interchange.
Other Beaches in Christchurch
There are some other nice beaches in Christchurch, including Sumner Beach and Taylor’s Mistake. I recently did an awesome hike from Taylor’s Mistake to Godley Head — from my experience it’s the by far the best thing to do in Christchurch!
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