I bought a couple of cheap airfares to Christchurch via the grabaseat website.
If you fancy a cheap weekend away, I recommend visiting this site as part of your morning routine. The catch is, you need to be quick and impulsive. Flights are cheap, sold at a loss, and snatched up fast.
These air fares can only be purchased online via a credit card.
To redeem the flights, arrive at the airport at the scheduled time, key in your name into the automated ticketing machine, and enter the flight times. The machine then prints your boarding pass.
There’s no ID check, ticket validation, or cross referencing with your booking ID.
In theory, what this means is that tickets are actually transferable.
Upon arrival in Christchurch we took the shuttle to Cathedral Square.
Unlike Auckland, Christchurch has an excellent airport-city transfer system. The easiest option is to take the Red Bus, ($7 one-way, or $12 return valid for the month). There is also another (fledgling) service, The $5.00 Bus, which undercuts Red Bus by a whole dollar.
Both services run every 10 – 20 minutes, and there is no need to book.
Cathedral Square is the town centre, and on weekends offers an extensive display of crafts and specialty food stalls. Saturday marked Buddha’s birthday, and The Square was packed with religious offerings, places of worship, crafts, entertainment and exotic vegetarian food.
We lunched on a stuffed steamed roll, sweet red bean cake, spring roll, and fried tofu whilst watching some brave scantily clad belly dancers.
For accommodation we stayed at the City Worcester Motel on Worcester St. This was an easy 20 minute walk to Cathedral square, and at $85 per night, excellent value given its proximity to the city centre.
Our unit was meticulously tidy, but going through the door, you could have been mistaken for thinking you ventured through a time tunnel back to 1955.
We were greeted by an old wooden wireless mounted on the wallpapered wall, a stained glass light, retro tv and dining table, plush sofa, bouncily springful bed, and an oven that was easily two decades older than I am. It was delightful and I immediately loved it.
My only complaint was that it was a 20 minute walk into town, which is fine if it doesn’t happen feel like you’ve flown into a sub-antarctic environment.
However, there is a free electric shuttle that does a 10 minute loop around the city. So ideally, optimal budget accommodation would need to be on the shuttle route, such as Moorhouse Ave, or Colombo St.
View all photos for Part Un here.