Christchurch

The garden city of New Zealand:

With a staggering 740 parks and gardens, ranging from botanical to friendly neighbourhood parks, no wonder Christchurch is famously known as the Garden City of New Zealand. It’s gorgeously braided by the volcanic slopes of Port Hills to the south-east and the Pacific Ocean coast to the east, perched on the edge of the Canterbury Plains that stretch to the Southern Alps. 

Come discover its vast tracts of parklands, rose and water gardens, its infamous history and its best mysteries.

Country New Zealand
Currency New Zealand Dollar
National Language English and Māori
Dial Code 04
Population 404,500
Time Zone GMT  (+13)
Area 1426 sq. km


Discover the Best Things to Do in Christchurch:

Christchurch is the gateway to the Canterbury region, where you can choose from spectacular experiences for every taste. It has world-class cafes and bars, a fascinating history, adventure sports and more gardens that you can visit in a year. Here are some of the top highlights of Christchurch. 

Explore the Botanical Gardens and Parks:

Christchurch canterbury

Christchurch is a city with a green heart – Hagley Park and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens cover over 164 hectares of the central city. The botanical garden was founded in 1863 with the planting of an English oak tree. Spread over 30 hectares with the Avon River snaking through, it has an extensive native plant collection, rose garden and the magnificent Cunningham House, with an extensive collection of tropical plants.

A stroll through the garden, with roses, magnolias, daffodils and azaleas, is a sensory treat. The Garrick House and Fernhouse have an impressive collection of cacti, succulents, alpine and seasonal plants. You also get to experience the psychedelic medley of colour, texture and scent at the longest herbaceous border in the southern hemisphere, developed in the early 1920s. Do visit the Heritage Rose Garden and the New Zealand Gardens, which have the iconic native species, the silver fern. 

Flaxmere Garden has been made a Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Garden Trust. Just over 45 years ago, it used to be a sheep farm. Today, it has a large variety of native flora, roses and rhododendrons and it features ponds and rustic bridges too. It’s a garden that changes with the seasons. 

The Broadfield Estates, a garden with a 20-year history, has fantastic native trees and exotic plants. But, its most unusual feature is the 100+ kauri and other trees, shrubs and ferns usually only found in a kauri forest.

Christchurch’s Monuments and Landmarks:

At the heart of this bustling metropolis is the Cathedral Square, which ironically, is in the shape of a cross. It’s surrounded by the renowned Gothic-style Anglican Cathedral - a historic landmark and national treasure. The square has a contemporary sculpture called the “Chalice” to mark the new millennium and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the city’s founding. And also, a giant outdoor chessboard, which you can try your hand at. All of this makes it one of the top places to visit in Christchurch. 

Victoria Square is just as famous for its floral clock and the oldest iron and stone bridge in the city. It’s adorned with the statues of Queen Victoria and James Cook, the British explorer. 

Take a moment of silence at the “Bridge of Remembrance”, a war memorial dedicated to those who died in the two world wars and also from the Korean and Vietnam wars. Inscribed on the historic arch is the patriotic inscription “What will a man not do for his country”.

Town Hall built in the early 1970s, all regularly hosts many of the city's most important exhibitions and concerts. Do remember to book yourself for an unforgettable evening. 

Walk along the New Brighton Pier, which stretches for more than 300 metres into the water. It originally opened on 18 January 1894 and was made entirely out of wood. After being demolished in 1965, the current pier has been open in all its glory since 1 November 1997. 

St. Michael's and All Angels Anglican Church is a small but significant one. It was the first parish in the city. Back then in 1872, it was well-known as one of the biggest timber churches in the world. It boasts late Victorian Gothic style with some medieval accents.

You just cannot afford to miss out on the Canterbury Museum Tour. Learn about the cultural and historical heritage region, stare in awe at the large collection of stuffed birds where you can see the extinct Moa. Explore their exhaustive display of ancient Māori artefacts and an interesting set of 19thcentury fashion.

The Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower marks the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Its impressive facade is made of volcanic stone and limestone with ornate wrought ironwork and coloured glass. The tower also has two white marble plaques and one bronze plaque set above the arches.

Trams and Trains of Christchurch:

Riding the vintage tramway is a journey you’ll treasure for life. It circles the entire town giving you an interactive tour of its most interesting and historical sights. Get a day long ticket to hop on and off as you please!

If you’d like to take a scenic trip into the heart of the South Island’s stunning alpine landscapes, then hop aboard one of the world’s greatest journeys on the TranzAlpine. The train covers the 223km journey from Christchurch and Greymouth in just 5 hours.  Feast your eyes on the ever-changing vistas with a backdrop of the mighty Southern Alps.

Street Art to Chic Art:

From ruins to riches – the story of one of the world’s art capitals is a powerful one. After the 2011 earthquakes laid most of the city to ruins, street artists took over the blank walls and turned them into vibrant masterpieces. Over the years, many local as well as international artists have come together to make Christchurch a thriving pop culture city, and one of the few places on Lonely Planet’s top street art cities in the world.

On the contrary, the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, is home to one of New Zealand's most important public art collections. It has a collection of historical Canterbury paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, photography and more. The Centre of Contemporary Art also hosts some of the leading artists of the world and local maestros too. 

Facts and Figures about Christchurch:

  • According to archaeological evidence, Christchurch was first settled by Māori in 1250 CE.
  • It is the oldest place in New Zealand to officially become a city on July 31, 1856.
  • Due to the 2011 earthquake, almost 30 million tonnes of ice fell off the Tasman Glacier, resulting in tsunami-like conditions on Tasman Lake.
  • The 1974 Commonwealth Games were hosted in Christchurch, Queen Elizabeth II Park. 
  • The city was named by the founder of the settlement, John Robert Godley after his old university college of Christ Church in Oxford, England. 
  • Christchurch has the oldest bridge in NZ, in Victoria Square.
  • A local woman, Katherine Wilson Sheppard, is featured on the NZ ten-dollar note, to celebrate being the first country in the world to grant women the vote, in 1893. 

Best of food and drink in Christchurch:

At Christchurch, you can enjoy a wide variety of fresh produce, both from the land and the sea. Love a good caffeine fix? Good thing you won’t have to look too far, since the city has a buzzing cafe scene. 

Some of the best eats are found in the numerous food trucks, that dish up international-level food with local produce. Try some speciality cheeses at the Canterbury Cheesemongers. Head down to the Christchurch or Downtown Farmer’s Markets, on the weekend with live music and food stalls. Get your Sunday brekky fix at The Posh Porridge stall in Riccarton Farmer’s Market. Locally grown porridge, served with your choice of toppings, from fresh seasonal fruits to chocolate and more. If you like your day to be ‘pitcher perfect’, then chug on some local beers with Craft Beer Tours or Scoff & Quaff. 

The Monday Room, serves up a unique brunch. Try the delicious ham hock croquettes and the crispy cauliflower fritters with dukkah and eggs. But they are even more renowned for their cocktails and desserts, the perfect plan for a date night.

Seafood lovers shouldn’t miss out on the local favourite Ora King salmon. And of course, local venison and beef, are stellar options too. 

Who doesn’t love a good speakeasy? ‘Parlour’ is a hidden bar within the historic Old Government Building in Cathedral Square. You enter via a bookcase which opens up to an old-timey glamorous 1900s themed-bar. Enjoy classy cocktails in a low-lit, intimate setting, right in the heart of town. 

How to Reach Christchurch:

Alas, there are no direct flights from India to Christchurch.But most big airlines run connecting flights from India’s prominent cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangaluru, Chennai and more. You’ll find all the major carriers serving these routes throughout the year. 

The Christchurch International Airport located just about 11 km from the main city. You can get a cab, local busses, airport shuttle, trains and more, which are easily accessible to whisk you away to your hotel. 

Best Time to Visit Christchurch:

Thanks to the geography, there is no wrong season to visit. But, to truly experience its magic, try to make if for the winter! From June to August you can explore the eighteen alpine skiing areas of the country starting with Mt. Hutt. Did you know that Christchurch alone has thirteen ski resorts! 

To see the garden city in full bloom, visit during spring - September to November. Early spring, is still the perfect time to see snow on the mountains. 

Summer is peak tourist season, the perfect time for adventure, day walks, scenic drives, visiting wineries, picking fruit.

History of Christchurch:

Ōtautahi Christchurch, ("the place of Tautahi") holds a very special place for the Ngai Tahu, Māori Tribe. It used to be the seasonal dwelling of their chief Te Potiki Tautahi. The Ngai Tahu generally referred to the Christchurch area as Karaitiana, a transliteration of the English word Christian. 

Although archaeological evidence found in a cave at Redcliffs in 1876 has indicated that the Christchurch area was first settled by moa-hunting tribes about 1250 CE. They were followed by other tribes before the Ngai Tahu iwi conquered it and continued to flourish their rule, until the arrival of European settlers. 

From 1850-1851, the first 792 pilgrims chartered by the Canterbury Association arrived on ‘The First Four Ships’, namely, Randolph, Charlotte Jane, Sir George Seymour, and Cressy, to Lyttelton Harbour. Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand. The penetrating English influence here also gave it the moniker of the “most English city outside of England”.

Language Spoken

English

Currency used:

New Zealand dollar

JUN-AUG 11 to 13oC
SEP-NOV 15 to 19oC
DEC-FEB 21 to 23oC
MAR-MAY 14 to 20oC

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Best Christchurch Tourism Guide

See the New Zealand city with a proud English heritage with Christchurch holidays. Christchurch tours introduce visitors to the city that was founded in the mid-19th century by the British. The city has grown to become a key entry point to the South Island. 

Vacationers availing Christchurch travel packages can see the English heritage reflected in the old buildings, especially those along the Worcester Boulevard. Christchurch holiday packages are great to check out the greenery that blankets several parts of the city. Holiday-makers eager to see the various attractions of Christchurch   arrive at the international airport in the city. You can go on a Christchurch tour using bicycles. Biking in this flat city is easy.

You should travel to Christchurch to see the art gallery. The facility has been hailed by those making a trip to Christchurch as a spectacular structure that celebrates great pieces of art. You will be able to see around 5,000 exhibits at the gallery. The Canterbury Museum adds great value to Christchurch vacation packages. It has sections on Antarctic expedition, and local and natural history. There are several places for binging and shopping in the city.

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