Christchurch city is located midway down the East Coast of the South Island, just north of Banks Peninsula. Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city. It’s a vibrant, cosmopolitan place with exciting festivals, theatre, modern art galleries, great shopping and award-winning attractions. In the centre of the city you can’t help but notice the remaining of the Christchurch Cathedral, which was once an outstanding example of Gothic Revival architecture.

The city suffered a series of earthquakes between September 2010 and January 2012, with the most destructive occurring at 12.51 p.m. on 22 February 2011, in which 185 people were killed and thousands of buildings across the city suffered severe damage, with a few central city buildings collapsing. By late 2013, 1,500 buildings in the city had been demolished, leading to ongoing recovery and rebuilding projects.

Tree-lined avenues and extensive leafy parks give the city an elegant, rather English atmosphere. Other central city attractions include the beautiful Neo-Gothic Arts Centre, the historic tram which loops the city centre, the Christchurch Gondola and the International Antarctic Centre. Internationally famed ‘The Garden City’, Christchurch’s well-established expansive parks and public gardens owe much to the planning and foresight of the city’s founding fathers. The centrally-located 161 hectare Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens, the four leafy inner-city avenues, Victoria Square and spectacular gardens such as Mona Vale on the banks of the River Avon bear testimony to this legacy. It is a vision which is embraced and perpetuated today by proud residents right throughout the city.

In 1996, Christchurch was acknowledged as the outstanding garden city from 620 international entries and in 1997, was judged Overall Winner of Major Cities in the Nations in Bloom International Competition to become ‘Garden City of the World’! Christchurch is also a great place to go shopping – look for Ballantynes, New Zealand’s oldest department store. Expect a high standard of cuisine wherever you go – restaurants and cafes make the most of the region’s delicacies and local wines. Before or after lunch, take a leisurely journey down the Avon River in a punt. Known internationally for its award winning gardens, Christchurch is also a place for events and festivals. Whatever the season, you’ll find a non-stop programme of entertainment with events like the Festival of Romance, the International Buskers Festival, Winter carnival, and Showtime Canterbury. Also close to Christchurch is an abundance of Canterbury skifields not least of all Mt Hutt – typically the first skifield in the South Island to open.


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Scenic Highlights

Catch a Tram

Christchurch Tramway is an inner city tour experience that combines the heritage of the trams, attractions and historical buildings with the culture of the Garden City. The beautifully restored trams follow a 2.5 km loop around central Christchurch, taking in some of the most interesting sights. You’ll see Cathedral Square, the Aquarium of Discovery, the Arts Centre, Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, the Avon River, Victoria Square and New Regent Street – to name just a few.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

The grounds of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens encompass an area of 30 hectares alongside the Avon River. Contained within this area is undoubtedly the finest collection of exotic and indigenous plants to be found anywhere in New Zealand. The Rose Garden is central in the Botanic Gardens layout, containing more than 250 different roses. Old and new varieties are grown and displayed in such a way that visitors can see examples of those most suitable for their own requirements. The nearby Herb Garden, constructed in 1986, has an extensive range of plants used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Be sure also to visit the Heather Garden, Rock Garden, Rhododendron Collection and the Cockayne Garden, which features New Zealand native plants.

Visit Akaroa

Akaroa is situated on the Banks Peninsula of the South Island of New Zealand. First settled by the French in the 19th century before New Zealand was officially claimed by the British. Even today you find the main streets retain their French heritage and some of the early forms of architecture relate to those early days. Often regarded as the Riviera of Christchurch for its bays and cobalt blue waters. Akaroa is a major vacation and weekend retreat.

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  • Wander through Hagley Park, then admire Christchurch Botanic Gardens
  • Take an historical tram ride around the city centre. Trundle through the tree lined streets, past buzzing streetside cafes
  • Go punting on the Avon River. Sit back and relax in a punt as a boatman guides you past the sights of the central city
  • Embark on a private guided walk of Christchurch city and the heritage buildings
  • Discover Canterbury Museum, including the Hall of Antarctic Discovery
  • Inspect the collection at Christchurch Art Gallery, the largest art institution in the South Island, the Gallery is home to one of New Zealand’s most important public art collections
  • Venture up the Christchurch Gondola for expansive views over Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains, Banks Peninsula and Lyttelton Harbour
  • Take a dawn balloon flight over Christchurch city or the patchwork fields of the Canterbury plains
  • Explore the International Antarctic Centre, which features a real snow and ice experience and a 45-minute behind the scenes tour of the Antarctic Campus on the “Hägglund Ride”
  • Feeling lucky… Why not try the Christchurch Casino?
  • The Willowbank Wildlife Reserve has a kiwi breeding programme and native New Zealand bird life
  • At Orana Wildlife Park you can experience the diverse splendour of the animal kingdom in tranquil, spacious surroundings
  • Visit Akaroa Akaroa is situated on the Banks Peninsula of the South Island of New Zealand. First settled by the French in the 19th century before New Zealand was officially claimed by the British… Well worth a look!