"A spring break in the 'Garden City'." Christchurch by worldkiwi

Christchurch Travel Guide: 1,247 reviews and 2,635 photos

Christchurch, New Zealand's first settlement to be designated a city, is also arguably the prettiest. The city touts itself as "more English than England", but I couldn't go that far. What I do agree with is that it has an overwhelming character that no other city in New Zealand has. The park lined Avon River, snakes through the city, lined by weeping willows. The spring time displays of blossom and daffodils in Hagley Park are without comparison anywhere in NZ. Christchurch's old stone buildings also lend it a graceful air and spots around the city (such as the quad in Christ's College) most definitely reminded me of England. At the heart of the city is the architecturaly perfect Cathedral, New Zealand's first and the equally pleasing Millennium Chalice. This is a city to savour by wandering around on foot. I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to Christchurch (well the sightseeing part anyway) and would like to go back and see the bits I didn't quite manage to see.
Footnote (2011): In February of this year, Christchurch was devestated by a shallow eathquake and there was, tragically, much loss of life. Also, sadly, much of the city's heritage buildings were destroyed. I have chosen to leave my pages containing pictures and thoughts of the city from 2006, as a way of keeping alive some of the images visitors will never again be able to experience.

A conference related to my work was what drew me to Christchurch in the spring of 2006. As it was my first trip to this, New Zealand's third largest city, I decided to add a couple of days to the trip at the end to do some sight seeing. Unfortunately the fickle spring weather spoiled one of my two free days, but the last full day I had in the city was a corker. I actually used that day to make a daytrip to the beautiful little historic town of Akaroa out on Banks Peninsula.
I stayed in the heart of Christchurch for my time in that city and can recommend that you do likewise if you visit. Being close to Cathedral Square makes walking to most of the inner city sights very easy, although the bus network in Christchurch has to be one of the best in NZ! What follows on these pages is a summary of the places I visited while in Christchurch in September 2006.

Christchurch's wonderful architecture is an attraction in itself. The city is dotted with some real gems and these are complimented with functional and attractive public places and quirky little decorations, such as this jester statue outside the Art Centre on Worcester Street.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A beautiful city of parks, the Avon River and its banks, cherry blossom in spring, excellent public transport system, superb heritage buildings.
  • Cons:Boy racers, tiring locals who are rude about Auckland (lesson for Cantabrians - don't slag off tourists' home towns when they would never dream of doing so to you if you were in Auckland), the weather (grey English weather - appropriately).
  • In a nutshell:A city that has a graceful built environment that can't be found anywhere else in NZ.
  • Last visit to Christchurch: Sep 2006
  • Intro Updated Oct 29, 2011
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worldkiwi

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