Christchurch is a compact city with much to offer. Parks and gardens provide tranquility while the cosmopolitan restaurant scene buzzes with happy crowds seven nights a week. The city's great arts scene means that a diverse range of people live and work here and a sense of tolerance and festivity hangs in the air.
New Zealand is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country with a modern and progressive outlook. Visitors from Europe and North America will find a country that is very similar to their own in regards to attitudes around gender, homosexuality and animal rights.
New Zealanders are down to earth people who love having a good time. Excessive displays of public drunkenness are rarely good form and violence will attract police attention, but relaxing with a bottle of wine is very welcome at all times of the day and night in Christchurch.
The New Zealand dollar (NZD) is the currency of Christchurch and it is worth just slightly less than the Australian dollar (AUD). Paper notes come in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Gold NZ$2 and $1 coins as well as silver coins for 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents are in circulation.
Cash is accepted everywhere and credit cards are accepted at all cafés, bars and restaurants. ATMs fill the inner city and are available at most pubs and hotel foyers. Debit cards with PIN codes can be used to purchase cinema and theater tickets as well as in parking meters on the streets.
Christchurch has a climate that reminds many of Scotland. Winters are long and bleak and while snow falls are sporadic and light, the wind chill factor is very high coming off the Southern Alps, which tower above the city to the west. Visitors to Christchurch need to rug up if visiting during the winter, which falls between June and September.
Summer is bright and crisp but not quite as warm as some visitors to the Antipodes may expect. Christchurch is a fairly rainy place also and wet weather can be expected at any time of the year.
A tourist tram runs a complete city circuit passing through Cathedral Square, Colombo Street, the Arts Centre and the Botanic Gardens. This is a quite over priced form of transportation that is strictly for tourists who are after this specific kind of photo opportunity.
Central Christchurch is readily able to be explored on foot but longer excursions, for example to Lyttleton, are made easier by the extensive public bus service, which is good value and easy to navigate. Maps are placed at all major public bus stops and digital displays keep service updates current.
Spoken languages: English, Maori
Electrical: 230 Volts, 50 Hertz
Phone/calling code: +64 03