About Christchurch

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's second largest city with 366 000 residents.

The city of Christchurch is an ever evolving and changing place with many attractions. Take a jaunt on the Christchurch Tram to Canterbury Museum, our Botanic Gardens complete with a wonderful playground and Hagley Park located in the heart of our city. Punting on the Avon and boat hire are situated close by and are perfect for a leisurely view of our city green-scape. Walk past the Gothic Revival Arts Centre on Worcester Blvd to view Christchurch Cathedral in its damaged form.

New Regent Street was Christchurch’s first mall, made up of pastel-hued shops in Spanish Mission style terraced architecture. When it was established during the Depression, New Regent Street was an anomaly in that the entire street was built as one commercial unit – something unprecedented in 1930s New Zealand. Almost all of the shops in New Regent Street have been fully restored over the last few years, and there is an eclectic mix of boutiques, cafes and bars, specialist retail and gift shops. The Christchurch Tram travels down New Regent Street heading towards Cathedral Junction.

A city tour is the ideal way to get your bearings around the city as it rebuilds, or you can take a drive to Christchurch Gondola at the base of the Port Hills, which offers views of Lyttelton Harbour and up the coast, as far north as Kaikoura Ranges. Drive or bus through Lyttelton Tunnel to our port and harbour. If you are there on a Saturday, the Lyttelton Farmers Market is must or enjoy a scenic drive around the bays enroute to Governors Bay, encounter some great swimming bays along the way and stop at Governors Bay Hotel or She Chocolat cafe for lunch and refreshments.

The Maori name for the city is Otautahi, which means the place of Tautahi which was where Ngai Tahu chief Te Potiki Tautahi lived.

Commonly referred to as the 'Garden City' of New Zealand, Christchurch features 19th century stone buildings, and beautiful public tree plantings and private gardens.

The city is not just a beautiful place to visit, it also offers great shopping - from boutique shops in New Regent Street, Re:Start Mall and the Tannery to suburban malls in Riccarton, Papanui, Shirley and Linwood;  a rich cultural life - galleries, the Court Theatre, music; a myriad of cafe and restaurant options, and many outdoor and adventure activities, with beaches and mountains both within easy reach.

A city in transition

In 2010 and 2011, Christchurch was hit by devastating earthquakes which impacted on the lives of many residents. Since that time, the city has seen dramatic change and many visitors to the area are interested to see what has happened as a result of rebuilding after the quakes. The Lonely Planet guide book chose Christchurch as one of the Top 10 places to visit in 2013, due to the vibrant and innovative approach local businesses, artists and community groups were taking to bringing life back to the city.

Transitional cathedral at night

As a result, the city has many interesting spots to visit, including the various Gap Filler projects throughout the central city, Life in Vacant spaces, and areas where retailers and food businesses have set up in repurposed containers or mobile food outlets. Along with the new and different in transitional locations, new buildings are now springing up in many parts of the city and major rebuild projects are getting underway. 

Visiting the city in 2014 you will find a mixture of the old and the new, and much that is in a state of flux as new projects get underway. Locals will be able to recommend the best spots to visit, and if you want to find out more about what the residents of Christchurch have been through with the quakes, you might like to visit the Quake Centre in Re:START mall.