We were in Christchurch from end April to 10/5. I didnt get to do any of the tourist stuff (not even Orena park b'cos my kid wasn't tall enough to join the lion feeding attraction) so report is mostly as described in title.
Mobile pre-paid plan
We decided to go with Skinny Mobile. Bought SIM and microSIM from DickSmith at Riccarton Mall. They cost $4 each and came with $4 preloaded weekly plan. So, SIM is essentially free. DickSmith didn't have Skinny nanoSIM so bought 2Degrees nanoSIM for $7.50 (no preloaded value).
Then we were at The Warehouse on Blenheim Rd and they were selling Skinny SIM cards for $1. We bought another nanoSIM there. To our pleasant surprise, it came with $4 weekly combo preloaded. Wow! They also give some free skinny to skinny calls.
Reception wise, Skinny is good in Christchurch. Data speed is fast enough for normal surfing. It runs on Telecom carrier network. One downside is if I off 3G and cellular data, my normal phone calls no longer work. Also, if you use high amount of data, you should subscribe more data as basic plan is only 60M/wk.
For 2 weeks useage skinny served our purpose but for long term use I will go with 2 degrees, simply so that I don't have to track data useage too closely.
These 2 are better value than Vodafone that my bro signed up a couple of days before we did. He paid $45 as he needed nanoSIM and it came with 1000min of free landline calls (haha like anyone can use that within 1mth) and some other stuff.
Oh and I bought a 2 degrees microSIM at New World Supermarket at Fendalton Mall on Memorial Ave and it was only $5. Seems, price of SIM card varies with places.
Our shopping was restricted to Riccarton Mall, Mitre 10 mega, Bunnings and Harvey Norman. Found a shop in Riccarton Mall that sells keychains and magnets for $2 up. It's near Wendy's.
Bought some kids glow in the dark T-shirts from i-site at airport Arrival area for $10 each. The same ones go for 2 for $25 at a shop in departure area before customs. selection is better at departure area.
I like the shop call Replay (I think) at departure area before customs. They sold sets of 10keychains for $14.99. And they have a lot of other interesting stuff at very good price. They were having promotion where if you buy a mug ($9.90), you get a tea towel free. I really had to drag myself out of that shop.
We went with Ace and rented their cheapest car b'cos we were just staying in christchurch. It was old but good and clean. Service was great.
I was keen but I-site at arrival hall didnt have any info and though I bought The Press on Friday I didnt see any ad on it. I'll save it for next yr autumn.
Opening Bank Accounts
Now banks require proof of residential address. So you need bill or bank statement with your name and NZ residential address. I've been away for so long I have no bills to show. So, bro who's current bank customer had to write a note to intro. 2nd bank is easier b'cos the first bank can just issue you a letter with your address and name and say you're their customer.
We ate a lot of Fish and Chips. My kid just love them. I drank Hot Chocolate any chance I got. Even my hubby who doesn't really like hot choc loves Chch hot chocolate.