Christchurch Mini Guide
Known as the garden city, Christchurch in New Zealand has more than 300,000 inhabitants. Christchurch is South Island’s largest and greenest city and has a very English feel with the River Avon flowing through its centre. If you really miss England
you can even take a punt down the river which is a nice way to see the city.
Christ Church has a number of buildings and museums to see. They include Canterbury Museum which has an Antarctic exploration display as well as some Maori cultural exhibits. There is also the Air Force Museum which gives good reconstructions of the battles New Zealand’s air force fought in since the First World War.
The most visible monument within Christchurch is its cathedral which is more than a century old and something of a central focus for activity in the city, however it was badly damaged in the recent earthquakes and must now be torn down. All is not lost though for there are plans to build a new, earthquake-proof cathedral in the next decade. Wildlife enthusiasts and children may wish to visit the Southern Encounter Aquarium & Kiwi House which has an interactive rock pool for youngsters to enjoy, or the Willowbank Wildlife reserve which showcases New Zealand’s unique animals such as the Kiwi bird (a national emblem). If you want to get out of the city then head to Riccarton Bush which has wonderful indigenous flora and fauna.
Many foreign students come from Asia to Christchurch to learn English and Christchurch international airport has connections with cities such as Singapore
, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and airports in Japan
. It also has a number of other domestic and international routes.
Once you have picked up your Rhino hire car on arrival you will most likely head into town via the State Highway One. Having a car is the only way to get out of the city and explore other parts of New Zealand.
One such gem is the Summit Road where you pass farms and bays with stunning views of the islands. Watch out for sheep along the way though. If you want to soak up the atmosphere of life in New Zealand try Lyttelton Bay (also the home of an excellent farmer's market) which is all hustle and bustle with good cafes and shops.
One particularly entertaining time of year to visit Christ Church is during January when the World Buskers festival takes place and acts come from around the world to play here. The following month couples can enjoy the Festival of Romance with various mood setting activities planned in the lead up to Valentines Day.
Christchurch’s city centre suffered terribly in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes with extensive damage to many of its historic buildings including the cathedral. Currently under study for rebuilding, much of the city centre is off limits for tourists due to instability.
Visitors must now confine themselves to the undamaged parts of the city and a good place to start is the Botanical Gardens. Here, a huge variety of the nation’s flora is on display in a 75 acre park dotted with water features and galleries. Then, if you have a hire car, visit Christchurch’s new art gallery.