Fabric Vision: Kiwiana Fabrics
Fabric Vision and also other fabrics shops (Spotlight, sewing machines shops etc.) have a great selection of Kiwiana prints which make great cushion covers, table cloths, duvet covers, aprons, napkins etc. etc. If you want you can even sew a blouse or dress from them.
There are prints of all things that make New Zealand unique: the kiwi, kiwifruit, penguins, fantails, woodpigeons, pohutukawas, the kowhai, kaka beak, ferns, landscapes etc. There are also prints which are great for kids.
One metre costs about NZ$ 20 or a little less.
Of course, they also have "normal" fabrics, and some Australiana prints, but a NZ tourist should go there for the Kiwiana prints.
Although the shop's location is still noted with 141 Cashel Street you will not find it there anymore. It has moved to Bath Street, located right behind the New World Supermarket (Colombo St).
What to buy: Kiwiana fabrics by the metre
What to pay: NZ$ 20 or under per metre
The Tourist Souvenir Shops: Have a First Look There
If you want to buy nice souvenirs and not just kitsch, woollen jerseys or merino-possum knitwear, sheepskin and leather products, paua, jade, silver and gold jewellery, napkins, or t-shirts, you should still start to look around in the big souvenirs shops around Cathedral Square and on Colombo Street north of the Square, and only if you do not find what you want go to other more expensive shops. I also recommend to have a look at the start of your trip in Auckland or Christchurch, so you already know what is on offer and how much it costs, so you can make better decisions about which things you should buy during your trip and which can wait until the end when you are back in the cities again.
Sure, they sell some kitsch but they also have really nice things on offer, and as they sell and stock a lot more most things are cheaper than in smaller souvenir shops or even smaller countrytowns. As I need birthday and Christmas gifts for friends and relatives overseas, I am a regular customer of those shops. I mostly start in the 3-storey-shop at the corner Colombo/Gloucester Sts (DF), and then carry on...
For example, the price difference of paua shells is extreme. When they once cost nearly NZ$20 in a very nice shop in Cashel Street you could buy them for about NZ$12 at the Colombo/Gloucester Streets shop.
The Duty Free Shops next to the Square have crazy prices. I have the impression they are designed as tourist traps for the hurry-hurry in-three-days-around-the-world travellers. For example they sell skin-care products which you get far cheaper in any normal drugstore or pharmacy, and it goes on with the rest.
My favourite shop for sheepskin rugs on the Square has unfortunately closed down (Feb. 2007).
At BONZ (corner Colombo/Gloucester St, left/clothes) nothing is cheap - well, perhaps the design buttons... - but absolutely unique.
Buy wine in supermarkets, or directly from the producer, not in souvenir shops! For your stay in NZ consider buying wine in two- or three-litre casks, the quality is ok.
What to buy: I already named some things in the general description.
Mostly tourists need lightweight gifts, so unfortunately the great NZ decor tiles are no real option... Lightweight, cheap and nice are tea towels, paua jewellery and shells, health products, creams, kiwifruit and mud soaps, not so cheap but very nice are possum-merino shawls and hats (and you save NZ wildlife and trees!) and woodcraft. Further: other jewellery, flax products, fleece jerseys and jackets, etc.
Absolutely unique is the FRONZ jewellery which is handmade near Auckland but also sold in souvenir shops. They have earrings and pendants in fern shape (fronds - that is where the name comes from), and the special thing about them is that real fronds are dipped in gold or silver, so every piece is unique.
K Mart: Where to get cheap clothes when luggage is lost
Once friends of us from overseas arrived without most of their luggage. Lucky them that we could help out with most things as they did not get a lot of money from the airline to buy clothes and other essentials.
We went to K-Mart to get underwear and socks, and such things are incredibly cheap there, also t-shirts, sports gear, swimsuits and shoes, and the quality is not too bad. Just nothing is really flash or funky - but in such a case of lost luggage you do not care. And lucky them - their bags arrived two days later already. But they still have their K-Mart underwear ;-)
The K-Mart stores also sell all kinds of household and garden items, decoration (especially for Christmas), wool, sewing stuff, bicycles, appliances, toys, sweets, creams, toothbrushes - just nearly everything you can imagine, and most things are really cheap. Perhaps the products would not fulfill your highest expectations but for bridging some days without your personal belongings especially the clothes are perfectly fine.
K Marts locations in Christchurch:
Riccarton Mall (Westfield Riccarton, 129 Riccarton Road)
Shirley (corner of New Brighton & Golf Links Road)Related to:
- Budget Travel
Cashel Street Mall: Cashel Street Mall
Cashel Street is one of Christchurchs main shopping areas being a vehicle free zone (except delivery ones). Cashel St has everything from Ballantynes department store to brand name shops such as Nike, Sony and EB Software.
What to buy: There are options on music, jewellery and travel plus The Bog Irish Bar down near the Bridge of Rememberance. Around the corner from The Bog is Christchurch's strip with several bars and cafes, many open until the wee hours.
A couple of Arcades sit off Cashel st and each has its own collection of small stores and food options.Related to:
- Luxury Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Mediterranean Food Warehouse: Espresso and Pizza after Shopping "All' Italiana"
This is Italian shopping at its best. Pasta, cheese, salami, parma ham, olive oil, canned tomatoes and beans, olives, coffee beans, grissini sticks, Bacio chocolates, a big selection of wines, and all the famous spirits and liquors like grappa, Fernet Branca, amaretto etc. Just everything you need to feel like in Italy, have a great antipasti platter at home or cook all those Italian delights.
Most products come at surprisingly reasonable prices, and many are cheaper than in the local supermarkets.
Integrated in the shop is a nice café and pizzeria for lunch and coffee. The menu is small but everything is delicious, especially the super thin crust pizzas and the fresh bread.
The red brick building is surrounded by (new) Roman arches which gives it a touch of colosseum, so immediately makes you think of Italy and the splendour of its food that is available in the shop and the café.
Open Mon-Fri 8am - 6pm
Sat/Sun 8am - 4pm
You can find outlets of this Mediterranean shop in Nelson and Wellington. And if you do not live there you can order online, just check the website.
The Breadman (available in supermarkets, see list): Authentic German Bread and "Laugenstangen"
If you have eaten enough toast and want a hearty, dark, filling and even healthy German bread just get one from The Breadman. He bakes his organic breads in Orbell Street. It is also available in many supermarkets like New World at South City (Colombo Street) and health stores.
The wholegrain bread is made the old-fashioned way, with a long fermentation process, and freshly milled flour. Most are made with Sourdough or Backferment which is a natural baking enzyme. There is a nice range of breads like Rye Sourdough, Swiss Rye, Dinkel (spelt) bread, breads with nuts, or buckwheat etc. but also gluten- and yeast-free breads. Perhaps the "peace offer" to New Zealanders who like light and fluffy breads is the Atlantis which contains only a small portion of rye flour. Most loaves come in 700g and 1kg sizes.
Other things on offer are cheese sticks and garlic buns, and German specialities like Laugenstangen and -brezeln (biiiig soft pretzels) where the dough is brushed with weak salty acids. Sounds rather horrible but makes delicious bakeware which is white on the inside and dark red-brown on the outside and gives it a light salty flavour.
Also crunchy mueslis and crackers are on offer.
What to buy: The Rye Sourdough - dark, moist and not too hard. And "Laugenbrezeln" or such buns, of course.
Places where you can buy Breadman bread:
Piko Wholefoods, 229 Kilmore St
Nature's Organics, 152 Somerfield St, Beckenham
Seven Fields, 136 Colombo St
Opawa Organics, 124 Opawa Rd
Fresh Choice, 189 Papanui Rd
New World, South City, Colombo St
New World, St. Martins, Wilsons Road
New World, Fendalton, 19-32 Memorial Ave
New World, Rolleston, 19 Rolleston Drive
Pak’n'Save, Moorhouse Ave
See a list for other cities and towns in NZ on the Breadman's website.
Christmas Jones: A Christmas Haven not only at Christmas Time
You might wonder why you see inflatable Santas and snowmen greeting you in Colombo Street all year round. But it is so simple: At Christmas Jones it is Christmas the whole year.
Adjacent to the shop is a Christmas Museum with a narrated animated Christmas show which displays hundreds of moving and talking pieces.
Already a visit to the shop is a step into a magic world. The 800 members of the Christmas Club help Mike Jones to always have unique Christmas items collected from around the world.
They also offer workshops and classes where you can learn to create your own festive decoration.
The shop is open thoughout the year Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, late Friday until 7pm, Sunday by appointment only; from October to December also on Sundays 10am-4pm.
The museum and Christmas show are open daily 5pm-10pm. Entry fee NZ$ 5.
What to buy: I would go for an inflatable Santa, snowman and Christmas Tree in a huge inflatable snow-ball... But I think there are one million smaller items which are easier to transport as a souvenir... ;-)
What to pay: depends on the item
The Inkwell Gift Shop: The Bears are the Stars
They do sell souvenirs in The Inkwell Gift Shop in New Regent Street, the most colourful street on the tramway route, things like NZ made greenstone and sterling silver jewellery, prints, ceramics, stone and wood carvings as well as other things like photo frames, celtic jewellery, wax seals, calligraphy pens and inks. But that is not why the shop is famous, and why it will immediately attract you.
The bears are the stars. One huge one is sitting in front of the little two storey shop, at an old school desk. Others sometimes climb out through the window in the first floor, either over a ladder or on a knotted bed sheet. More of them are watching the scene through the windows, and another lot of them are posing in the window of the basement, and many, many others are sitting everywhere in the shop. You will surely not find another shop with a bigger choice of bears, and some are so wonderful that people travel to Christchurch and this shop only to purchase a bear.
The owners Roz and Phil sell bears of all price ranges, including Steiff bears from Germany and the sensational NZ handmade Robin Rive Bears which are so very different, every bear being a great personality with its special hobby. Even if you cannot afford to buy such a masterpiece-bear - have a look at them, they are too wonderful to be ignored.
What to buy: A bear, of course... But I am very playful and a bit childish... ;-) So there are a lot of other things to chose from, as already mentioned above.
What to pay: From a dollar for a postcard to 300 NZ-dollars for a Robin Rive Bear.
DF Souvenirs: DF Souvenirs
Head to DF Souveniers shop if you are looking for some good bargains to bring home as souveniers for your family, friends and colleagues.
There are many items for purchase and ranging from different prices which meets every budget.
Look out for their discount items.
We brought glass coaster, shotglasses, sweets, chocolate, cushion, t-shirts.
What to buy: Other items for consideration are the All Blacks T-Shirts, soft toy, caps, jackets, sweaters, mugs, sheepskin products, skin car products, honey, royal jelly, bags, jersey.
Old & Rare Prints & Maps
I found this wonderful Map store on New Regent Street.
Would you believe they have a original chart of New Zealand created by Captain Cook's crew?
It has several notable mistakes, but it's very interesting to see.
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