House Sitting in Christchurch- The Ultimate Guide
Do you want to take a trip to Christchurch, New Zealand? Picture this; you get to plan that trip and stay in a beautiful château for free. Yes, you read that, right! Free! How? Two words, House Sitting. In this article, WWB writer, Aisha K, will give you the ultimate guide to house sitting in Christchurch.
You might be thinking, “okay, Aisha, unless it’s a cardboard box, you can’t be serious.” Well, there will be mention of a cardboard infrastructure later on but no dear reader, you will not be living in a cardboard box for your trip.
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House Sitting in Christchurch- Why?
What exactly is house sitting, and how can I start house sitting in Christchurch, New Zealand?
House sitting is a simple concept: a homeowner vacates their property from anywhere to a few days or a few months and needs someone to watch their house. That’s where you come in! As a house sitter, you’ll be living in their homes, caring for their things, and on some occasions, their pets.
But why am I writing about house sitting in Christchurch?
Fancy a craft beer tour? A walk in the botanical gardens? Want to lay on beautiful beaches? Go river punting? Take a helicopter ride around the scenic Banks Peninsula? See a cardboard Cathedral? Christchurch has it all.
Known for its beautiful beaches, stunning Southern Alps, and famed Canterbury Plains, Christchurch has captivating nature and an abundance of hiking trails.
The Garden City
It’s no surprise that Christchurch is regarded as “The Garden City.” It seems everywhere you go; you’re bound to end up in a beautiful park or garden. If plants and grand water fountains are your thing (I don’t know if it’s anyone’s thing), then head on over to the Christchurch Botanical Gardens where you’ll find a restored peacock fountain.
The Canterbury Earthquakes
Following a spate of devastating earthquakes in 2010, Christchurch has slowly been making efforts to rebuild and repair its infrastructure. It continues to embrace its history by honoring it with memorials and museums dedicated to those lost in the tragedy.
Quake City is a museum that tells stories of heroism, hope, and loss from the Canterbury earthquakes.
See the 185 Empty White Chairs
185 empty white chairs covering 185 square meters of lawn makes for an impactful memorial. It serves as a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives to the earthquake.
I’m not sure about you, but I haven’t seen a building made of cardboard boxes look so grand. This cathedral gets its name from the 86 cardboard tubes that make up the newly repaired infrastructure following the destruction caused by the Canterbury earthquakes.
3 different ways to see the city
*Disclaimer: The prices I have listed are the rates known at the time of writing this article, so please don’t send me an angry email saying I’ve lied to you about the price…
1. $$$: An Affordable Helicopter Tour
It’s not every day one gets the opportunity to have a guided tour on a helicopter. You’ve saved money on accommodation, why not have a once in a lifetime experience at a $148 price tag.
See the scale of devastation and recovery following the 2010 earthquake and the spectacular Banks Peninsula from the sky on a 20-minute helicopter tour with live commentary from the pilot.
2. $$: Christchurch Gondola Ride
Not too keen on shelling out $148 on a helicopter ride? Don’t fret. You can still have a bird’s eye view of the city for just $20. The cable car gives you fabulous views of Christchurch’s dramatically changed cityscape.
3. $: Free View of the City
Why pay for a fancy helicopter tour or a gondola ride to see the city when you’ve got two perfectly good legs and a tight wallet. You can catch a glimpse of the remarkable cityscape for free by walking through Bridle Path. It’s a 3-hour return and is easily accessible by public transport.
After that list, I’d be done packing my bags and making my way to New Zealand and start house sitting in Christchurch!
House Sitting in Christchurch- The Best Websites
How it works
In a few easy steps, you can start house sitting in Christchurch (or anywhere in the world)!
- Find a trusted house-sitting website
- Register as a house sitter
- Create a great profile and look for listings
Pet sitters in Christchurch
Do you love animals? Do you want to be a pet sitter while you’re on holiday? You can be a pet sitter in Christchurch by looking up listings on these pet-friendly websites:
nomador.com (the first 3 applications are free! $7.41/month or $76/year)
Not an animal lover?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. House swapping is similar to house sitting, minus the pet care. You go to their home rent-free and they come to yours. Either at the same time or on different dates.
What’s great about this is house swaps don’t have to be reciprocal. If you’re interested in short term house sitting in Christchurch, here is a list of websites where you can swap your home:
lovehomeswap.com (packages that range from $10-$30)
How to set up an excellent house sitting profile
You’ve chosen the website, registered, and paid. Now all you’ve got to do is set up a killer house-sitting profile.
You’re almost ready to start house sitting in Christchurch!
Start by filling in the standard details for your profile: name, age, location, and career.
Make your profile personal
Paint a picture of who you are, your hobbies and interests. Homeowners need to trust you to open their home to you.
Tip: Clarify if you’re a solo sitter, part of a couple, or traveling with family for the trip.
You’ve heard of the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, those thousand words can be good or bad depending on the picture you choose.
Choose a profile picture of you smiling or with people (not some blurry picture you took out with the mates featuring the infamous red cup).
If you’re pet sitting, choose a picture of you with animals. What animal lover doesn’t have an endless archive of animal pictures on their phone? To prove that you’re trustworthy and good with animals, include a playful photo with you and a furry friend.
What homeowners look for in a house sitter
- Experienced with pets (if you’re pet sitting)
Things to know before house sitting in Christchurch
You’ve registered as a house sitter, you’ve got a killer house sitting profile, and now you’re ready to take off and start house sitting in Christchurch.
Uh, not so fast amigo.
Here are a few things to check off your list before you start house sitting.
Information is key
Make sure you make contact the homeowner and confirm the house sit before making your plans, double-check to see when they want you to arrive. Often, homeowners will want you there earlier to personally show you around the home, introduce you to their pets, and all of the other necessities you may need during your house sit.
You may have some chores or duties assigned to you while you’re house sitting. In most cases, it’s usually small tasks like watering plants or checking the mail.
Bills, bills, bills
Nope, this isn’t about that Destiny’s Child hit. While house sitting, you may be required to pay some utilities, and in other cases, you might be compensated for your efforts. Be clear about what is expected and how much this could cost.
Things to watch out for when house sitting in Christchurch
Unfortunately, not all house sitting listings and homeowners are created equal. To avoid being put in a tricky situation, here are a few things you should watch out for while you’re house sitting.
Host reliability & home listing
Homeowners aren’t the only ones allowed to be picky in this process. House sitters should make sure their hosts are reliable by reading the reviews left by previous house sitters. Check to see if the homeowner has a history of canceling listings before an assignment and if the location matches the description.
Tip: Reach out to homeowners and Skype them to view the property or ask for supporting photos. Most will gladly oblige and give you a virtual tour. Sometimes you’ll get ‘variable standards of cleanliness,’ ‘unexpected home renovations,’ boxed possessions, etc. Doing this ensures you’re not met with any surprises when you arrive.
No additional payments
Unless things like bills or utilities have been discussed, do not make payments for rent or additional living expenses.
House sitting is a service you offer in exchange for the homeowners’ peace of mind and or pet care.
Be clear about expectations
I’ve heard stories of house sitters having issues with their hosts because their neighbors notified them that the house sitter had left the property for hours at a time.
During the interview process get homeowners to be very clear about their expectations of you as a house sitter to avoid any misunderstandings and a bad review.
Time consuming tasks
Not all homeowners are honest about the time commitments some assignments may take, so if you feel that the homeowner is asking more of you than you’re willing to do, don’t be afraid to say no and decline the gig.
House Sitting in Christchurch Tips
To make your house sitting assignment is easy-breezy, here are some house sitting tips I picked up along the way!
Keep it clean
Leave the house in the exact condition you received it in or cleaner (but don’t go around doing a massive deep clean and moving things around!)
If the house sit isn’t for a while, make sure you send them a few emails now and then to ensure you’re still coming.
Make sure you have all the information you need to prepare for the assignment. Ask them if their home is accessible by public transport, what date they’d like you to arrive, are there any tasks they’d like you to do while they’re away?
In case of an emergency, make sure you know who to contact.
Ask homeowner to put away delicate and valuable items
If you’re clumsy, this may be a necessary precaution. You don’t want to break a 100-year-old family heirloom or be accused of taking something. Ask the homeowners to put away anything valuable before you arrive for safety’s sake.
Pet sitting in Christchurch
Remember all those parks and gardens I was raving about earlier? Well, Christchurch also has impressive beaches (I’ll get into that in a little bit) perfect for you and the pet you’re pet sitting.
Imagine dog sitting in Christchurch and hiking through the alpines for a morning walk, or taking a stroll through the countless parks and gardens littered throughout the city. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like the dog sitter in Christchurch are living the dream.
While pet sitting in Christchurch, you get the best of both worlds: living rent-free, the companionship of a loving pet, all while traveling through a beautiful new city!
Best beaches in Christchurch to explore while house sitting
Let your troubles wash away as the waves crash on the shores of the beautiful beaches of Christchurch.
Akaroa Banks Peninsula
The Akaroa Banks Peninsula has numerous walking trails, a beautiful beach, and spectacular wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch a glimpse of Hector’s dolphin -the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin!
Little cafes, art galleries, local shops line the coast, and events like food markets, wine tastings, vintage clothing stalls often take place here. Activities such as horseback riding, surfing and paddle boarding schools can also be found on Sumner making it an ideal location if you want to do more than lie on the sand all day.
Seeking some peace and quiet? Tucked away on the coast of the Banks Peninsula, Tumbledown Bay is an isolated area and sees few visitors and is a favorite spot for beginner surfers. It has some beautiful lookout points but travelers should be careful not to ‘tumble down’ during their adventures. This bay is named after some drunken locals who fell from the rocks.
Taylors Mistake is known for its rocky coastlines, powerful waves, cliff jumping and paragliding locations. Not for the quiet traveler as this beach can get slightly crowded due to the strategic location and activities offered here, but be sure to pack a picnic basket as there is only one food stall here (maybe that was Taylors Mistake).
A great spot for fishing enthusiasts, kite surfers, swimmers, and campers. Waikuku beach offers tons of recreational activities and has a campsite as well as a skateboard space.
Best bars in Christchurch to explore while house sitting
Looking to have a great drink and experience the nightlife like a real Kiwi? Here are a few of the best bars to explore while you’re house sitting in Christchurch:
Simple food and a great beer selection. Smash Palace is a local favorite, the kind of pub where everyone knows your name and is a go-to if you want to experience Kiwi hospitality.
A place for cocktail enthusiasts and whiskey connoisseurs, the Last Word has over 200 different types of whiskeys on their menu.
A winner of Christchurch Bar of the Year award, a comprehensive wine, beer, and cocktail list, and fresh Japanese cuisine. Need I say more? This bar is known for their mixology techniques and creative cocktails.
One of Christchurch’s biggest music entertainment venues, Darkroom, showcases international and local artists, holds regular comedy events and serves over 40 local craft beer selections.
Imported beers, classic cocktails, and Mexican food! The Dirty Land is a bar where the spirits are high, and the patrons are lively. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a live performance by a local band while you’re there.
Want a taste of Irish culture? You’ll get that at the Craic Irish Bar, where Irish culture, beer, and music is on full display.
Now that you’re armed with information, what are you waiting for?
If you’re still unsure about house sitting, let me do the math for you:
The average cost of a one-night stay at a decent hotel in Christchurch, New Zealand can range anywhere between $58 to $90. Depending on the website you choose, you pay $8 a month or $150 a year and get unlimited house sits anywhere in the world!
Any which way you look at it, there are a lot of benefits to house sitting!
- You save a lot on accommodation
- Have the comfort of home away from home
- Limitless accommodation choices
- Get to experience a new country and its rich history
- Meet new people
There you have it folks! The ultimate guide to house sitting in Christchurch!