With a population of over 350 000, Christchurch is the second-largest city in New Zealand and the international gateway to the beautiful South Island. Christchurch is internationally famed as the “Garden City”, with its many well-established expansive parks and public gardens owing much to the planning and foresight of the city's founding fathers. The centrally located Hagley Park covers 161 hectares and includes the renowned Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The city also offers the Mona Vale gardens - extraordinarily beautiful gardens on the banks of the Avon River.
Christchurch suffered a series of damaging earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, but is already on the road to recovery. Indeed, the innovations and spirit of Canterbury businesspeople has already led to a variety of unique bar, restaurant and shopping options popping up across the city, and Lonely Planet recently evaluated post-quake Christchurch as well worth a visit, naming it a destination quite unlike anything else. Have a few drinks in one of several new funky pop-up bars, attend an arty Gap Filler community event, or visit Re:Start - the world's first upmarket shipping container shopping mall - in the heart of the city. Many of the city's popular central city restaurants have now opened elsewhere in the suburbs.
A large number of Christchurch's variety of amenities and attractions were undamaged by the quakes or have since reopened, including Canterbury Museum, the Christchurch Casino, the International Antarctic Centre, Orana Wildlife Park, and cruising on Lyttelton Harbour.
The area surrounding Christchurch is a playground, full with endless options for exploring. The varied landscape includes rugged ocean beaches, wide braided rivers, spectacular gorges, fertile plains, and beyond, the majestic Southern Alps. For the more adventurous, Christchurch can act as a base for you to try bungy-jumping, jet boating, skiing, hiking in the Port Hills, or, for a more relaxing holiday, visit award winning wineries, or take a relaxing punt on the Avon.
- Air Force Museum of New Zealand
- Botanical Gardens
- Canterbury Museum
- Christchurch Casino
- International Antarctic Centre
- Mona Vale Gardens
- Mount Hutt Ski Field (2 hour's drive)
- Ferrymead Heritage Park and Tamaki Heritage Village
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
- Orana Wildlife Park