Visitors enjoy Christchurch for its elegant simplicity and gracious lifestyle.
This pleasant ‘Garden City’ has been voted one of the most beautiful and liveable cities in the world. Christchurch has achieved a fine balance between the extremes of modern metro hustle and the grace and charm of an earlier era. The city is an ideal size; large enough to achieve economic viability yet small enough for people to feel they belong.
Christchurch was named by nostalgic settlers after an Oxford university college, and the traditional English ambience can be felt in many ways. Not least of these are the orderly grid pattern of streets and the grand neo-Gothic architecture of the Anglican Cathedral and the Arts Centre. Experience the soothing tranquillity of the Avon River meandering through the city’s heart, and the rich tapestry of cultural pursuits embracing the arts, music and theatre. Recent European and Oriental immigration has created a melting pot of other exotic cultures, reflected in a host of exciting eateries, nightclubs and street entertainment.
As the main gateway to Canterbury and the South Island alpine hinterland, Christchurch has the ability to satisfy the visitor with a broad range of fresh and exciting Kiwi experiences every day. If your taste is for relaxing in a beautiful environment then the tranquil Avon river, tree-lined avenues and leafy glades of Hagley Park are bound to appeal. If you enjoy the fun and excitement of city life this place has full-on festivals of visual and performing arts year round. There is a wealth of cultural centres, theatres, art and craft exhibitions, shopping arcades and quaint boutiques. Vibrant cafes, bars, nightclubs and restaurants offer fine cuisine and award-winning wines. There is regular street entertainment in the form of buskers and an eccentric ‘wizard’ pontificating on a soapbox in Cathedral Square.
World-class attractions in the city include New Zealand’s most significant new Art Gallery, fine heritage museums, superb wildlife parks, mountaintop gondola rides, balloon flights, whale watch tours and alpine rail journeys. There is a multitude of adventure and sports activities, including summer swimming and winter skiing all within an hour’s drive of the city.
Downtown Christchurch is extremely visitor-friendly. The compact and orderly layout ensures that you can take in the visitor attractions at a leisurely pace. From central hotels it is easy to walk to most of the main heritage, entertaining and dining venues. The ‘Four Avenues’ area defines the central city precinct bounded by Moorhouse, Fitzgerald, Bealey and Dean avenues and Cathedral Square is the landmark epicentre. From here an historic restored electric tramcar follows a 2.5 km circuit past the major city sights and a shuttle bus operates from the Visitor Information Centre in the square.
A short stroll or a cycle can take you to a dozen exciting venues - the challenge in Christchurch is to decide what to do first. Between sightseeing jaunts, shopping, pubbing and clubbing there is always the sublime peace of the Avon River to escape to - it is the focal point for relaxation in this city. Peace and serenity can always be found in Hagley Park on the banks of the Avon, especially in spring amidst a yellow carpet of daffodils. You can even sip a glass of Champagne while punting on the river.
Visitors are sure to fall in love with Christchurch city, but beware of falling under the wizard's spell. Once you have experienced everything the city has to offer there are many more surprises further inland. The breathtaking mountain vistas of the Southern Alps, spectacular lakes, rivers and bush clad valleys, giant glaciers descending almost to sea level, precipitous fiords and World Heritage scenic wonders await. Enjoy it all.