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New Zealand’s newest city: Introducing Christchurch

Re-emerging with vigour, no other city is developing as fast as Christchurch New Zealand. Points of interest include renewed cultural and historical attractions, as well as a host of innovative locations and re-invigorated restaurants and bars.

Re-emerging with vigour, no other city is developing as fast as Christchurch New Zealand. Points of interest include renewed cultural and historical attractions, as well as a host of innovative locations and re-invigorated restaurants and bars.

An elegant mix of both the modern and historic, Christchurch is known as New Zealand’s ‘Garden City.’ Following the 2010/2011 earthquakes that razed its centre and outlying suburbs, Christchurch is once more a vibrant urban destination.

Innovation lives here

The need for an almost complete CBD rebuild has given rise to innovation - and many unique and cutting edge designs have resulted. A notable example is the Re:Start mall on Cashel Street, built entirely from used shipping containers. Its industrial-chic effect makes for a unique point of difference, and over 50 retailers including cafes, restaurants, market stalls and street performers are based here.

Re:Start Mall in Christchurch

Quickly becoming an iconic Christchurch attraction, another creative casualty is the Cardboard Transitional Cathedral. Designed by Shigeru Ban as a temporary replacement for the city’s the Anglican original, it is the only one of its kind in the world and is constructed almost entirely from large cardboard tubes. Featuring an A-frame profile, these provide structural support and surround a prominent stained glass window decorated with images from its counterpart. Those with an eye for contemporary design will delight in this one-of-a-kind attraction.

The city is becoming known for its eclectic hipster vibe and many of the disused central city  buildings have been transformed into a home for budding artisans hawking their wares. An abundance of pop-up shops and markets is also prevalent and many containers are being used as street corner restaurants or hip Japanese noodle bars.

A city of gardens

Known for its large expansive parks and botanical gardens, Christchurch has a definite ‘english’ feel. Occupying over 160 hectares in the heart of the city, Hagley Park is the city's largest and is a popular place for public recreation and enjoyment. The Avon River cuts a path through the middle while historic beech, oak and elm trees ring the perimeter.

Also within the park is the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Home to an impressive array of native and exotic plants. The gardens showcase some of the country's finest botanicals and are a worthwhile visit. We recommend taking a caterpillar tour to get a the full effect.

Destination Adventure

Christchurch is also a great place to indulge in adventure activities. The International Antarctic Centre, located near the airport is well worth a visit. From here, the bases in Antarctica are replenished and there are unique displays of what life is like in this environment - including a windchill simulator and a little blue penguin enclosure.

Be sure to see Akaroa, a quaint french settlement tucked into Banks Peninsula with a whimsical charm and holiday feel. Akaroa is also known as a place to see the rare Hector's Dolphins. For spectacular views, take the Christchurch Gondola to the top of the Port Hills or a hot air balloon above the iconic Canterbury Plains. Go mountain biking in Bottle Lake Forest or Wine tasting in the Waipara Valley. Visit the Hanmer Springs hot pools for a relaxing mineral soak or go on ‘safari’ at Orana Wildlife Park.

Gateway to the South, Christchurch is the main central south island service centre and a starting point to many southern holidays. Drive an hour in any direction to ski, mountain bike, wine taste, whale-watch, bungy jump or play golf. The TranzAlpine train - thought to be one of the world's greatest train journeys - leaves from here, as does the renowned Coastal Pacific.

Hot air ballooning over the Canterbury Plains