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Christchurch Sightseeing Guide - Visit notable attractions and landmarks

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Christchurch combines its Gothic architecture, sedate gardens and parks with an exciting sense of the urban. While the sightseeing here is tranquil and old world, the arts and cultural scene in Christchurch is cutting edge and vibrant and there are dozens of outstanding restaurants offering South Pacific and fusion cuisine.

The main landmarks of Christchurch are the Gothic spires of the older buildings that were designed to give the city the feel of an English university town. Cathedral Square and the buildings of what had been the old campus of the University of Canterbury but which is now the Christchurch Arts Centre are two of the most famous photo opportunities.

Lyttleton is a nearby town that makes for a great afternoon journey and the mighty Southern Alps dominate views to the west. Further on to the very east coast of the Christchurch region are great views out into the juncture of the South Pacific and the Southern Oceans.


Christchurch Arts Centre

The Arts Centre occupies the Gothic buildings of the old campus of a section of the University of Canterbury, which has now moved to more modern surroundings across town. Artisans weave, paint, sculpt and record live music here and visitors can purchase anything that takes their fancy.

Avon River

Visitors may hallucinate that they have been transported to England when they spend an afternoon leisurely punting down the Avon River. The river passes through the Botanic Gardens and weeping willow trees decorate much of the route.

Christchurch Cathedral

This towering and ornate church is the main landmark of Christchurch and it provides the city with a central square and cultural anchor. Tours of the cathedral are available outside of active service times and the spire itself can be climbed — there are amazing views from the very top. 

Lyttleton

A lengthy car journey through a mountain tunnel delivers visitors to delightful Lyttleton. This is an outlying suburb of the Christchurch region and sea lions can sometimes be spotted on the piers. The excellent Saturday morning markets are an ideal excuse to make the journey here from downtown Christchurch. 

Southern Alps

This mighty mountain range featured heavily in exterior scenes of Peter Jackson's epic trilogy the Lord of the Rings and the majestic snow-capped peaks rise imperiously to the west of Christchurch. Day excursions and even overnight hiking trips are available from travel agencies and tour groups located in Christchurch city. 

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