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Three amazing spots to watch the sunrise in Christchurch New Zealand. Our top picks for 2020!

new brighton pier as cover image for best spots to watch sunrise in christchurch new zealand

Arguably the best way to start the day is by watching the sun slowly come up.

Or by getting breakfast in bed.

Probably the ultimate start to the day is in an outside bed where someone brings you breakfast while you can watch the sunrise from underneath your cozy duvet. But if you don't have a bed perfectly positioned for sunrise viewing (or a person to bring you breakfast in bed), here are three gorgeous spots in Christchurch where you can experience a bit of sunrise magic.

Now, last Summer we wrote a blog on our favourite spots to watch the sun rise and set in Christchurch, but this time around, we have done a little more exploring and have picked our all-time favourite spots for watching the sunrise in Christchurch. The brother blog to this (our favourite sunset spots in Christchurch) is here if you are looking to watch a sunset in Christchurch too!

Alright, without further ado, here are our top three spots for watching the sunrise in Christchurch New Zealand.

1. Shag Rock/ Rapanui Rock

Now commonly known as 'Shag Pile Rock' due to the Christchurch Earthquakes, this place looks a little different, but in my opinion, is equally as beautiful as its previous appearance.For a bit of background, Shag Rock used to be a prominent sea stack, but post Quake, it now (as you guessed it) more just resembles a pile of rocks.

From experiencing the earthquakes myself, I have to say I find Shag Rock the perfect reminder of Christchurch's resilience. That even though things might feel a bit broken, or look a bit different, they can still be just as beautiful. Just as beautiful, but even stronger.

Shag Rock Christchurch Sunrise

Shag Rock Quick Info:

  • Jandals suitable

  • Best at sunrise with lots of high cloud. You can check the high cloud forecast here

  • Approximately 20 minutes drive from the Christchurch CBD

To read our guide to Shag Rock, including GPS coordinates, our camera settings, and how to be careful when Google Mapping to the rock!!! (you don't want to end up on the wrong side of the estuary), check out our CJ Way to Shag Rock here.

2. New Brighton Pier

No surprises that this made the top three, but can you blame us!? This is one of my favourite favourite places in the whole world to come and watch the sun rise. It's absolutely beautiful and to me, feels like it has its own mini community.

When you visit, you'll find yourself saying good morning countless times. To people exercising, strolling along with a hot coffee in hand, or perhaps, like you, just sitting there and watching the sun come up. It is 'Christchurch' in one spot. Beautiful. Community. And Normal. Normal sounds weird, but it's a spot that's filled with your every day, regular Janes and Joes and I love it for that exact reason. It's down to earth.

New Brighton Pier Sunrise Christchurch

New Brighton Pier info:

  • Jandals suitable

  • Best shot with a drone or camera

  • If you can time it with a low tide, you can get some beautiful reflections in the sand

  • Arrive early and you might get the lights on on the Pier (these look great as sparkles)

  • Approximately 15-20 minutes drive from the Christchurch CBD

New Brighton Pier Sunrise Christchurch

To read our guide; the CJ Way to New Brighton Pier click here.

3. Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve

This is a beautiful wee gem for sunrise, and excellent because it's still relatively unknown. Meaning you can basically guarantee a sunrise here all to yourself. It's also wonderful because it's only a ten or so minute walk from the car (unlike many other spots in the Port Hills). We have visited Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve at both sunrise and sunset and found sunrise much better as the sun rises over the Lyttelton Port side. That said, if you did nab a sunset with lots of cloud, a reverse sunset would be pretty beautiful here.

Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve Info:

  • Jandals ok for walking up but you might prefer sneakers (approx. 10 minute walk)

  • Approximately 25 minutes drive from the Christchurch CBD

  • Nice for a reverse sunset too (if cloudy)

To get the GPS coordinates to Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve and directions on the path you need to follow to get up top, check out our CJ Way to Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve here.

We hope you enjoy watching the sunrise in these beautiful spots. And if you're looking for spots to watch the sunset in Christchurch, check out our Top Spots to Watch the Sunset in Christchurch Blog!

Hope this helps, and like always, if any questions, please ask away!

Charlotte and James


#christchurch #newzealand #awaywithcj #sunrise #sunrisespots #nz #chch #travelphotography

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