The city of Christchurch is a marvel of landscaping, creativity and survival. With the shock of two devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the ‘garden city’ is now more innovative and open than ever before. From the quirky container shops and bars to the ever-tranquil meanders of the River Avon, Christchurch offers travelers a unique experience that no other city can.
With many city center hotels destroyed in the earthquake, central accommodation in Christchurch has been in high demand over the last few years. There are the usual international brands downtown, but if you fancy something different, head to the seaside suburb of Sumner. To the north, Waipara Valley offers a hazy retreat for the wine tasters, while Banks Peninsula is surprisingly easy to reach and delivers breathtaking coastal views and quirky campsites.
The Canterbury region has a thriving local industry that produces plenty of sought-after foods and crafts. City center markets swell with locally raised lamb, artisan cheese and freshly baked bread. For gems and gifts, Akaroa is your stop, with French-styled jewelry boutiques and cutesy craft shops. Canterbury as a whole boasts a huge art scene, so you’re never far from a gallery. But if you want good old high street stores you might be surprised – the city’s Re:START project is far from ordinary.
Christchurch’s foodscape is somewhat altered since the 2011 earthquake, with creative cuisine rising to the surface like bubbles of air in a hot sauce. Several classic fine dining restaurants are undisturbed in the city center, while quirky and innovative cafes and eateries have popped up in areas such as Addington and Ferrymead. Sampling local produce is easy, from New Zealand lamb in the city to shrimp and salmon on the coast.
Whether you’re after relaxation or rough-and-tumble, Christchurch and its surrounding region of Canterbury cannot fail to impress. In the city, take a scenic stroll through the greenery of the many parks and gardens, then hop on the gondola for a panoramic vision of ocean and Alps. Drive out of the city and encounter a myriad of activities, from the country sophistication of the vineyards to the wild clear skies of Lake Tepako.
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.
Locals in Christchurch love to go out at night and the bar and restaurant scene here easily holds its own with that of larger places like Auckland and Wellington. Some people claim the nightlife in Christchurch is the best in the country certainly it is the most eclectic and diverse.
Like so much of New Zealand, Christchurch is blessed with access to the finest and freshest natural produce. The red meats here are treated with justified care while dairy products and wines are world class. Locals here love to eat out and the choices are wide, from à la carte fine dining to fish and chip shops that provide quick service with a smile.
Possum fur gloves are as warm and cozy as they are unique and they make for a real conversation point when brought back home. They are just part of the array of wonderful things to buy in Christchurch which also includes sheep and lamb wool sweaters and bat leather key rings.
Beautiful Christchurch is the unassuming jewel of New Zealand's South Island. Built around English university towns like Oxford, Christchurch comes replete with a river called the Avon and weekend punting under willow trees. It is a warm and inviting place that is a compact and cosmopolitan contrast to brassy adventure sports capital Queenstown, the other major South Island destination.
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.