Lorded as one of New Zealand’s most picturesque cities, Christchurch is like a little pocket of England in miniature. It’s peppered with pretty flower gardens and leafy parks, and it even has a River Avon, perfect for an afternoon’s punting. After cycling the pathways, don’t miss a look around the International Antarctic Centre, where you can experience the sub-zero conditions of the South Pole.
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A little slice of England on the southern edge of Pegasus Bay, charming Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s most picturesque cities. Frequently nicknamed the ‘Garden City’ due to its extensive parks and green open spaces, the landscape is best viewed on a relaxing punting trip down the Avon River.
Being relatively flat, Christchurch is easy to cycle around, taking in such sights as the Botanic Gardens and Riccarton Bush. And don’t miss the International Antarctic Centre, an interactive exhibit that gives visitors a taste of the sub-zero conditions of the South Pole, teaches about Antarctic exploration and allows close encounters with penguins.
Did you know?
At 164 hectares, Christchurch’s Hagley Park is the largest urban park in New Zealand.
Christchurch is home to the Cardboard Cathedral, made of cardboard, a temporary stand-in for the city’s earthquake-damaged cathedral.
A temporary replacement for Christchurch’s City Mall, Re:START is a shopping centre made entirely of shipping containers.
Christchurch’s Avon River was going to be the Shakespere (sic) River until 1848, when it was instead named after Avon Water in Scotland.
How to get around
On two wheels
Christchurch is a reasonably flat city, and so lends itself well to cycling or walking. Hiring a bike is an especially good way to get around, as there are plenty of easy-to-navigate cycle paths linking the sights, as well as along the pretty River Avon. Buses are also easy to use, and there’s a good choice of parking around the city if you’ve rented a car, although you’ll have to pay for it. The small tram network worth a trip or two, although it’s more there as a tourist attraction than as a public transport route, as it uses pretty heritage trams and is guided.