Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city – and, traditionally, one of the places in New Zealand with the strongest English influences.
One of the very special features of Christchurch is that you can be enjoying the surf and sand at the beaches from Brighton to Sumner in the morning, and playing in the snow in the afternoon. You can even travel from the East Coast to the West Coast in less than a day, seeing an impressive variety of spectacular scenery en route!
Christchurch Botanic Gardens:
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens have been a prominent central-city attraction since 1863, when an English oak tree was planted in celebration of the solemnisation of Prince Albert’s marriage with Princes Alexandra of Denmark. It boasts an array of flowering gardens, native trees, New Zealand blooms, and multiple plant conservatories.
With a length of 14 kilometres (8.7 miles), the Avon River meanders right through Christchurch, and out into the Pacific Ocean via the Avon Heathcote Estuary. Also known by the Māori name Ōtākaro, meaning ‘the place of a game’, the river was given its English name in honour of the Scottish Avon. River punting is one of the key attractions the Avon is renowned for.
Port Hills is named as such because it is composed of a series of hills that lie between Christchurch and the port of Lyttelton. These hills are an important recreation site for locals, and consist of various mountain bike tracks, public parks and reserves. They also extend across several of the city’s suburbs, including Sumner, Cashmere, Mt Pleasant, and Heathcote Valley.
The Cardboard Cathedral was designed by Shigeru Ban as a temporary replacement for the earthquake-torn Christ Church Cathedral. The transitional home of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch opened its doors in 2013, and is made up of 60-metre (24-inch) diameter cardboard tubes, a polycarbon roof, shipping container walls, and triangular stained glass windows.