"My Home - The (Shakey) Garden City" Top 5 Page for this destination Christchurch by fishandchips

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

So much to do (to repair the city).......

For the latest view on Christchurch have a look at a drive through the Red Zone This is an interesting tour of the city with one of the local engineers providing a running commentary of the buildings, their status and next steps

Following the devastating Earthquakes of 22/2/11 & 13/6/11, the city of Christchurch is a real mess. I will amend my tips over time as many of the buildings and restaurants are no longer standing. The Cathedral has lost its spire, the Hotel Grand Chancellor is about to fall over, the old court buildings are rubble and Sumner has part of the hillside dumped on it - approx 1/3 of the central city's buildings need to be demolished. If you want to see how big our ongoing shakes are check out Recent Quakes You can also see a full Christchurch view of before and after at If you want to see Christchurch before and after check out the Earthquake Incident Viewer

I have an album with my photos and thoughts located on my home page if you want more info on what happened.



Christchurch is on the East Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is within a very flat part of the country due to the formation of alluvial plains through millenia of silt being moved by large rivers. The city it self has 2 rivers, The Avon and Heathcote. The Avon winds its way through the centre of town and the very nice Botanic Gardens. Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu), also known as "The Mainland" by those who live here. It is the third-largest city in New Zealand with a population of about 370,000 people.

Christchurch has the lowest annual rainfall of the four major cities of NZ, the greatest temperature extremes, and 2,120 hours of sunshine annually. If you want to know what the weather is going to be like in the next few days see the link in my Packing Tips.

For visitors to Christchurch, my Top 10 list of things to consider doing (in no particular order) is;

1. Riccarton Bush - the way Christchurch was before the settlers arrived
2. Cathedral Square - including the Christ Church Cathedral
3. Botanic Gardens - an expanse of flora and open spaces to revive the soul
4. Arts Centre - the original Canterbury University converted into many small shops and coffee places
5. Art Gallery - a good spot for a bit of culture
6. Antarctic Centre - some superb exhibits including a Penguin or 2
7. Sumner - for a stroll on the beach and a nice coffee
8. Museum - to see how Christchurch has grown from the early days
9. Port Hills - many nice walks and some spectacular views of Christchurch, the Southern Alps and Lyttelton Harbour
10. Lancaster Park - go to a game of cricket or rugby (if that's your thing!)

Garden City with some Nice Buildings

Christchurch is tagged as New Zealand's Garden City and it has a large number of public parks, reserves, and recreation grounds. On top of this is the fantastic Hagley Park (459 Acres) in the centre which includes Botanic Gardens, golf course and sports fields. When you add the Avon River, a spread of Victorian architecture and the avenues and squares, you can see why Christchurch is the most English of New Zealand cities.

The Cathedral sits in the middle of the aptly named Cathedral Square. It has a spire that can be walked up (134 steps) which gives nice views of the city. The old law buildings sit beside the Avon River and are products of 19th Centuary architecture. The Arts Centre is located up Worcester Boulevard moving West from the Square. It houses a few eclectic shops as well as coffee houses and the Dux De Lux restaurant & bar. The Museum is very good, if small by world standards and has a great variety of items. The new Art Gallery is across from the Arts Centre and is a good spot for a bit of culture in the city. Many local artists are included.

A few interesting bits of Christchurch trivia;

1. The Cathedral Square was called Ridley Square until 1850. For a snapshot have a look via a Webcam.
2. The French started to settle in the area in 1840 but were scared off by the arrival of a British ship HMS Britomart and stuck to Akaroa (which they wanted to set up as a penal colony!!)
3. The first permanent (white) settlers were the Deans Brothers in 1843. You can visit their original home at Riccarton Bush
4. Christchurch Airport was the first city owned Airport in the Southern Hemisphere (1936) and became the first International Aiport in New Zealand in 1950
5. Local girl Kate Sheppard (born in England but we'll claim her) led the charge to allow women to vote - a world first in 1893 - this may not sound that great until you realise that some countries around the world didn't allow women the vote until the 1970's!!! (eg Sweden)
6. Nearby Diamond Harbour was named by an Australian squatter in 1851
7. Capt James Cook, in sailing around NZ, had his mapmakers draw Banks Peninsula as an Island and called it Banks Island.
8. The original willows along the Avon River were raised from cuttings brought from the island of St Helena, the location of Napolean's exile and death.
9. Queen Victoria signed papers officially making Christchurch New Zealand's first city on 31 July 1856 (in those days, to become a city you needed the Queen's sign-off).

A bit further out.

Canterbury, stretching from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean, has some great physical attractions, from ski fields and fishing rivers to the Port Hills tramping tracks and East Coast beaches. Day-trip options from Christchurch include Kaikoura, Akaroa, Hanmer, Arthur's Pass and Methven, each presenting its own version of rural escapism and outdoor adventure. Several beaches are nearby including Sumner - nice for coffee, a stroll & a bite to eat - Brighton & its pier as well as Taylors Mistake (a distant relative of mine) if you are of the Surfer set. North of Christchurch there is Woodend and Waikuku beaches - both quiet spots. Good fishing is close by in both lakes and Rivers. The main fish are Salmon, Trout and Kahawai.

Over the hill is Lyttelton, the port town, and it has a village feel with some interesting pubs including the Wonderbar and the British (if you like hanging out with Bikies).

I am slowly adding the points of interest of Christchurch so will have a lot more info to help you prepare for a visit to Christchurch if you are coming my way - don't be shy in sending me a PM to arrange a VT meet.

Some useful Christchurch websites include;

bethere
whatsoninchristchurch
christchurchnz

Plus for general NZ info there is touristtimes

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Easy to get around, beautiful park in the middle
  • Cons:The central city is closed & 1/3 of the buildings are to be demolished
  • In a nutshell:Cambridge of the South Seas
  • Intro Updated Nov 8, 2011
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Reviews (107)

Comments (39)

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    That photo of the Cathedral is superb. But oh so tragic, I can't believe the spire is gone. And the Cathedral severely damaged. Not to mention all the other destroyed buildings and lives. We cry for you.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2009 at 11:04 AM

    Hello, Guy! You live in a splendid city! ><><><

  • May 22, 2009 at 2:39 PM

    Michelle is not longer at Drexels - she's a workmate of your now!, Cath ;-)

  • May 7, 2009 at 10:30 PM

    Great tips and superb photo's - all to the point! No woner you were a hometwn hero lol

  • Jan 19, 2009 at 11:24 AM

    Still easily the best CH page! Great concise info with some excellent piccys.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2008 at 7:09 AM

    Your pride shows through. City is much bigger than I expected. wonderful parks and gothic architecture.

  • swissballs's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2008 at 1:19 PM

    Well done hometown hero - great to see a page from NZ as one of the elite 9!!!

  • chennaismartguy's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2008 at 6:18 AM

    Congrats! Hometown Hero!

  • kiwilingous's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2008 at 2:27 PM

    Hometown hero!! Fantastic stuff mate!! Not a bad page either LOL....

  • imstress's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2008 at 4:51 AM

    CONGRATS! not only do you have a very good page, you have been a very good host. :)

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