Life as an F3 doctor in Christchurch, New Zealand
Moving abroad as a junior doctor can be scary, so researching what to expect before you take a new job is top of the to-do-list. Here, we’ll take a closer look at Christchurch in New Zealand - giving you the inside scoop to help you decide whether it would be a good fit for your F3 year in New Zealand.
Where is Christchurch?
Christchurch is a vibrant city located on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. Known for its beautiful parks and gardens, stunning coastline, and rich cultural heritage, it is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
The city is home to a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and theaters showcasing the work of both established and up-and-coming artists.
Christchurch offers a laid-back and friendly lifestyle with a strong emphasis on community and outdoor recreation. From hiking and biking in the nearby Port Hills to surfing at the famous Sumner Beach, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of the region.
Size and population: Christchurch is a vibrant and bustling city with a population of around 396,700 people, making it the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand.
Weather: Christchurch has a temperate oceanic climate with mild to warm summers and cool winters. The average high temperature during the summer months (December-February) is around 22°C, while the average low temperature during the winter months (June-August) is around 2°C.
The city receives moderate rainfall throughout the year, with the wettest months being June and July. Snow is not common in Christchurch, but it can occur occasionally during the winter months. Overall, Christchurch's climate is relatively mild and pleasant, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and water sports.
What is there to do in Christchurch?
Christchurch is a diverse city that offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors and locals alike. One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Botanic Gardens, which covers over 21 hectares and features a stunning collection of plants from around the world. Visitors can explore the gardens and conservatories, take a guided tour, or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Another must-see attraction in Christchurch is the Christchurch Art Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. The gallery features work by both New Zealand and international artists and regularly hosts exhibitions and events throughout the year.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Christchurch is an ideal destination for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. The Port Hills, which overlook the city, offers miles of scenic trails for hiking and mountain biking, as well as stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can also go skiing or snowboarding in the nearby Southern Alps, or take a boat tour from the nearby town of Kaikoura to see whales, dolphins, and other marine life in their natural habitat.
Other popular attractions in Christchurch include the International Antarctic Centre, which provides a fascinating look at the history of Antarctic exploration and features interactive exhibits and simulations, and the restored vintage trams that offer a unique way to see the city's top attractions and landmarks.
A not to miss destination is Akaroa, a charming coastal town located just a short drive from Christchurch. It is a popular day trip destination for those looking to escape the city and experience the beauty of the Banks Peninsula. With its French and British colonial heritage, the town boasts a unique blend of culture and history that is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, and art.
The food scene in Christchurch is vast and vibrant, with a range of options to suit all tastes and budgets. The city is known for its excellent seafood, with fresh fish and shellfish caught locally and served in many of the city's restaurants and cafes. In addition to seafood, the city offers a wide range of international cuisine, including Thai, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican, as well as traditional New Zealand cuisine with a modern twist.
One of the best places to experience the food scene in Christchurch is the city's bustling food markets, which offer a wide variety of fresh, locally sourced produce and artisanal products. The Christchurch Farmers' Market, held every Saturday morning, is a popular destination for foodies and features a wide range of local produce, including fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, cheeses, and baked goods.
For those looking for a fine dining experience, Christchurch has several award-winning restaurants that offer innovative cuisine and a high-end dining experience. The city also has a thriving cafe culture, with numerous cafes and coffee shops serving up delicious coffee and light meals throughout the day.
Christchurch has various foodie destinations catering to different tastes and preferences. Here are some foodie destinations to check out in while you're there:
👉 Riverside Market: This bustling indoor market is home to over 25 food and beverage vendors, offering a wide range of fresh produce, artisanal products, and international cuisine.
👉 Little High Eatery: This modern food hall features eight different food stalls serving up a range of international cuisine, from Korean fried chicken to Italian pizza.
👉 Hello Sunday: This popular cafe in Sydenham serves up delicious brunch dishes and coffee in a stylish, relaxed setting.
👉 Fush: This Maori-owned fish and chip shop in Wigram serves up fresh, sustainably sourced fish and seafood with a unique Maori twist.
👉 C1 Espresso: This funky cafe in the central city is known for its innovative menu, featuring dishes like the famous "Pneumatic Slider" served via a pneumatic tube system.
👉 The Tannery: This historic woollen mill has been transformed into a trendy retail and dining precinct, featuring a range of cafes, restaurants, and bars serving up delicious food and drinks.
👉 Black Estate Winery: Located in the nearby Waipara Valley, this award-winning winery and restaurant offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and delicious organic, biodynamic cuisine paired with exceptional wines.
There are several water sports that you can enjoy in and around Christchurch. Here are some popular options:
👉 Surfing: Christchurch is home to several popular surf spots, including Sumner Beach, which offers consistent waves and vibrant surf culture.
👉 Windsurfing and kitesurfing: With its breezy conditions, Christchurch is a great destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing. New Brighton Beach is a popular spot for these activities.
👉 Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP): Stand-up paddleboarding is a popular and relaxing way to explore Christchurch's waterways, including the Avon River and the tranquil Lyttelton Harbour.
👉 Kayaking and canoeing: Christchurch has several waterways suitable for kayaking and canoeing, including the Avon River, the Waimakariri River, and the Lyttelton Harbour.
👉 Jet boating: For an adrenaline-fueled adventure, try a jet boat ride on the Waimakariri River, which offers stunning scenery and thrilling rapids.
👉 Fishing: Christchurch's waterways are home to a variety of fish, including salmon, trout, and white bait, making it a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts.
Walking and hiking
Christchurch, New Zealand has a range of walking and hiking trails to suit all levels of fitness and experience. Here are some of the most popular options:
👉 Port Hills: The Port Hills offer a range of trails for hiking and mountain biking, with stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside.
👉 Godley Head: The Godley Head track is a scenic coastal walk that offers stunning views of Lyttelton Harbour and the surrounding coastline.
👉 Taylor's Mistake: The Taylor's Mistake track is a popular walking and hiking trail that offers beautiful views of the coastline and access to several secluded beaches.
👉 Bridle Path: The Bridle Path is a historic walking track that dates back to the early days of Christchurch and offers stunning views of the city and surrounding hills.
👉 The Crater Rim Walkway: The Crater Rim Walkway is a 50km track that circles the rim of the extinct Lyttelton volcano, offering stunning views of the city, coastline, and surrounding mountains.
👉 Bottle Lake Forest Park: Bottle Lake Forest Park is a popular destination for walking and hiking, with a network of trails that wind through the forest and along the coast.
Beaches and Surfing
Christchurch has several beautiful beaches to explore and enjoy. Here are some of the most popular options:
👉 Sumner Beach: Sumner Beach is a popular destination for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, with a lively surf culture and a range of cafes and restaurants nearby.
👉 New Brighton Beach: New Brighton Beach is a long, sandy beach that offers plenty of space for sunbathing and swimming, as well as opportunities for windsurfing and kiteboarding.
👉 Taylors Mistake: Taylors Mistake is a secluded, rocky beach that is popular for fishing and surfing, with stunning views of the surrounding coastline.
👉 Corsair Bay: Corsair Bay is a sheltered beach that is popular for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding, with a playground and picnic area nearby.
👉 Spencer Park: Spencer Park is a large, sandy beach that offers a range of activities, including swimming, fishing, and kayaking, as well as a playground and picnic area.
Arts, culture and sport
Christchurch, New Zealand has a prominent sports, culture, and arts scene, with plenty of opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy a wide range of activities and events.
The city has a strong sporting culture, with rugby, cricket, and netball being among the most popular sports. The city is home to several sports teams, including the Crusaders rugby team, the Canterbury cricket team, and the Tactix netball team, all of which have achieved significant success at national and international levels. In addition to professional sports, Christchurch has a range of facilities for amateur sports, including parks, fields, and sports centers, as well as numerous clubs and leagues for all ages and skill levels.
Christchurch is also home to a thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and theaters showcasing the work of both established and up-and-coming artists. The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū is a popular destination for art lovers, with a collection of modern and contemporary art from New Zealand and around the world. The city also has a range of theaters and performance venues, including the Isaac Theatre Royal, which hosts a range of music, theater, and dance performances throughout the year.
In addition to sports and arts, Christchurch has a vibrant cultural scene, with a range of festivals and events celebrating the city's diverse cultural heritage. The Christchurch Arts Festival is a biennial event that showcases a range of music, theater, and visual art from local and international artists, while the Christchurch Lantern Festival is a popular annual event celebrating Chinese culture and tradition.
How does the cost of living compare?
The cost of living in Christchurch can vary depending on a number of factors, such as accommodation, food, transportation, and other expenses. However, in general, the cost of living in Christchurch is around 24% lower than in many cities in the United Kingdom.
The largest difference is seen in the housing market, where the cost of rent and property is significantly lower in Christchurch compared to London. In addition, the cost of groceries, transportation, and dining out is also generally lower in Christchurch compared to London.
Here are some specific examples of how the cost of living in Christchurch compares to the UK:
Accommodation - The average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Christchurch is around NZD 1,500 per month (approximately GBP 765), in London, it can cost around GBP 1,300-2,000 per month.
Food and drink - The cost of groceries and dining out is generally lower in Christchurch than in the UK. For example, the average cost of a mid-range meal for two at a restaurant in Christchurch is around NZD 90 (approximately GBP 46). Similarly, the average cost of a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in Christchurch is around NZD 140 (approximately GBP 71). In comparison, the average cost of a mid-range meal for two at a restaurant in London is around GBP 60, while the average cost of a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in London is around GBP 70.
Transportation - The cost of public transportation in Christchurch in comparison, can be higher than in than in the UK. For example, the cost of a single bus ticket in Christchurch is around NZD 4.50 (approximately GBP 2.29), in comparison, the cost of a single bus ticket in London is around GBP 1.55.
Overall, the cost of living in Christchurch is generally lower than in the UK, which can make it a more affordable destination for living and working. However, the cost of living can vary depending on individual circumstances and lifestyle choices.
Find locum work on your terms
The best locum agencies together in one place, competing to find you the best locum shifts. Managed for free through your Messly account.