Christchurch - Garden City & Punting
The largest city of the South Island, Christchurch is also New Zealand's oldest, having been granted its Royal Charter in 1856. Known as the ‘Garden City’, for its high percentage of green areas, Christchurch has the feel of an old, English city, thanks to the ambitions of settlers who wanted to recreate the similarly-named area of Oxford.
Punting on the tranquil Avon River, as it meanders through the city, is a great way to see the many historic buildings here, especially those with impressive, Gothic architecture.
In the centre of Christchurch is the vast, open space of Hagley Park, which in turn borders the beautiful Botanic Gardens and Canterbury Museum. A dominant feature of the city, Hagley Park is a large park covering an area of 407 acres (165 hectares). Visitors and locals enjoy the park for walks, cycling and jogging
The suburbs of New Brighton and Sumner, despite earthquake damage remain beautiful places to visit, with their striking coastlines and sandy beaches
The Botanic Gardens comprise of 21 hectares of gardens, walking paths, water features, a rose garden, and a variety of plants and flowers. The gardens were created in 1863, built around a single oak tree that remains in the gardens today. The River Avon running through the gardens, adds to the sense of tranquility with visitors enjoying the quaint tradition of punting as they enjoy their tour of the city. .2011 Earthquake
On 22nd February 2011, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale, struck central Christchurch, killing an estimated 200 people and injuring thousands more. The celebrated Cathedral was lost, with many of the surrounding structures in Cathedral Square damaged beyond repair. The city is in an exciting transition with many parts now thriving and plenty of attractions and sights to enjoy.
Despite the damage the Central Business District, the resiliant nature of the city has led to the innovative design of a retail container city known as the Re:START Mall. The funky designer shipping containers make a suprisingly attractive shopping experience.
Approximately 30 retailers are back in business in the compact Cashel Mall. High-end fashion labels mingle with coffee shops and outdoor clothing shops. There's a real buzz to the area with street performers, free Wi-Fi and convenient take-away food on hand to enjoy your shopping experience. It's also a great way to support local businesses.
Further afield, the towering peak of Aoraki/Mount Cook, the pretty seaside villages of the Banks Peninsula and the many hiking opportunities in the national park of Arthur's Pass, all make Christchurch an appealing destination for visitors. The TranzAlpine Express
One of the world's most beautiful train journeys, the TranzAlpine Express is the perfect way to leave (or arrive in) Christchurch. In just under five glorious hours, you will travel through unrivalled mountain scenery, from the sunny east coast, over Arthur's Pass and through the rolling Canterbury Plains, before arriving at the terminus of Greymouth on the West.
Check our 'Things To Do' section to see details of the activites on offer in Christchurch and the Canterbury region.