Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand with a population over 350,000, and the third largest city in New Zealand after Auckland and Wellington. It is on the edge of the Canterbury plains and has direct flights to its efficient international airport.
Christchurch Cathedral, before being damaged by earthquakes in 2011
Christchurch was established in 1850 by Anglican English settlers and this heritage shows in its fine older buildings, especially the neo-gothic buildings in the cultural precinct along Worcester Boulevard and Rolleston Ave. The River Avon meanders through the central city and disrupts the otherwise regular rectangular layout of the city streets.
Christchurch is known as the Garden City, a well-deserved name. Looking from a few floors up, one is struck by the number of trees that grow like a forest throughout the suburbs.
The central business district is undergoing a major rebuild after earthquakes. All areas are now accessible and the city remains a major gateway to the rest of the South Island.
Christchurch International Airport  is a major transit airport for international and domestic travellers.
There are international services to and from Australia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, Singapore, Thailand and United Arab Emirates.
There are frequent daily flights to and from most New Zealand airports (domestic), with direct flights to and from Auckland, Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson, Queenstown, Rotorua, Wellington and many more destinations . The domestic airlines that serve Christchurch are Air New Zealand  and Jetstar Airways [www.jetstar.com/nz/en/home].
Flights to and from McMurdo Station in Antarctica use the airport. This is one of the few international airports in the world where military and civilian aircraft regularly share the same runways.
There is a regular public bus service to the city centre. The 20-30 minute trip costs $8 when paying in cash (and $2.50 when paying with a Metrocard ) and the buses operate half-hourly during the week and at least hourly on weekends (see  and ). Buses to and from stops just outside the airport cost $3.50 when paying in cash so these are an easy way to save money at the expense of a short walk. A door to door shuttle bus service to all parts of Christchurch is available for about $25 for the first person, $4 per subsequent person (see ). Taxi stands (about $45 to the city centre) and rental car parks are also close to the terminal building.
Airport parking is available near the Airport (see ).
State Highway One passes around the western edge of the city, past the airport. This is the main north/south arterial road in New Zealand. State Highway 73 goes to the west, over Arthur's Pass and on to the west coast. From SH73 you can also access Mount Hutt and other regional skifields.
There are daily bus services north to and from Picton, south to and from Dunedin and west to and from Queenstown, the West Coast (Greymouth and Hokitika) and Mt Cook.
InterCity  provide multiple daily connections to destinations throughout the South Island. Tickets start from $1 (+ booking fee) and can be purchased online, over the phone or throughout the country at numerous agents including the i-site network. Sightseeing tour operator GreatSights New Zealand  has daily sightseeing tours to Mt Cook, Queenstown, and around the Christchurch and Canterbury region.
There are also a number of smaller shuttle operators who operate from Christchurch.'nakedbus.com' , a budget no frills bus operator.'Atomic Shuttles'  a local operator with services from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass. 'West Coast Shuttle'  Departs from the central Bus Station Platform 'L' Litchfield St at 2.15pm with services to Greymouth via Arthur's pass (pick up at Christchurch airport 2.45). Arrive Arthur's Pass 4.45 and Greymouth 6.15.
The TranzAlpine can take you between Christchurch and Greymouth, from the east coast of New Zealand the west. This scenic train journey can be done as a day trip. The train departs from Christchurch daily at 08:15. During your trip you’ll see the the fields of the Canterbury Plains, followed by spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. The train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth.
The railway station is in Addington adjacent to the large Tower Junction shopping centre and has limited facilities.
Christchurch is mostly flat, so many people get around on bicycles. Bicycle lanes have been added to many streets to promote cycling.
Navigation by car or bicycle is generally simple due to the grid layout, but watch out for one-way streets and bus-and-taxi-only intersections in the central city. Parking in the city uses a pay and display system. You can pay with coins, credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Amex) or with a mobile phone text message (the latter two attract a 50c surcharge) then display the ticket with the expiry time visible on the curbside dash.
Public bus services  cover the whole city (and the areas of interest for a visitor that may lie outside the central city, such as Sumner and New Brighton Beaches, Lyttelton, Gondola, etc). In some areas buses may be infrequent, particularly on the weekends when there may only be one or two buses per hour. The standard fare is $3.50 cash or $2.50 ($5 maximum charge per day, $10 minimum initial purchase) with a MetroCard smart card.
The restored Christchurch Tramway  runs in a smaller loop around the inner city.
"Cardboard Cathedral" before its 2013 opening
- Christchurch Cathedral (de-consecrated) ruins built between 1864 and 1904 in Cathedral Square and its replacement "Cardboard Cathedral", at 234 Hereford Street, an easy walk North West of its beloved forebear. There is no public car parking at the Cathedral.
- Arts Centre, Worcester Boulevard. Gothic Revival stonework of former University campus. This area was damaged during the 22 Feb 2011 earthquake. While reconstruction work is taking place these buildings are closed to the general public and will be for several years. However, the beauty and historical significance of these building can still be appreciated by viewing them from surrounding streets such as Worcester Boulevard and Hereford Street and the excellent Canterbury Cheesemongers still operates from a modern building within its precincts.
- Christchurch Art Gallery, Worcester Boulevard and Montreal St (one block east of Botanic Gardens). +64 3 941-7300. Th-Tu 10:00-17:00, W 10:00-21:00. Spectacular facility opened in 2003, the largest in the South Island, with over 5000 items and visiting exhibitions.
- Air Force Museum, former Wigram Airfield, Main South Road, ☎ +64 3 343-9542. 10:00-17:00 daily. Opened in 1987 before the closure of the Christchurch RNZAF base, this museum has full-size replicas of fighting planes and dramatizes the history of New Zealand's Air Force from World War I to Vietnam and beyond. $15, $5 child.
- Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave, car park entrance Armagh St, +64 3 941 7590, . Gates open 07:00 until one hour before sunset. 30 hectares of exotic and indigenous plants and trees wrapped in a loop of the picturesque Avon River and linking to the 160-hectare Hagley Park. These put the "Garden" in the "Garden City", and the combined total with Hagley Park makes them the second largest inner city park in the world (after New York's Central Park).
- Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Ave at end of Worcester Blvd (adjoining Botanic Gardens), +64 3 366- 5000. 09:00-17:30 daily summer, 09:00-17:00 winter. Includes colonial, Maori and natural history sections, Antarctic exploration display, and visiting exhibitions. Admission free to main exhibits (but donation appreciated), $2 for Discovery children's section.
- Ferrymead Heritage Park, Ferrymead Park Dr (Ferry Rd east from city, or take the 30 Sumner bus from the Bus Exchange and to the Heathcote River Bridge, then first right down Bridle Path Rd), +64 3 384 1970, . 10:00-16:30 daily. A recreated Edwardian township and museum with horse and carriage (daily), tram (weekends and school/public holidays) and train (first and third Sunday) rides. Due to the voluntary nature of the historical societies managing Ferrymead, not all attractions may be running at all times. Special events are often held and the park has been used to film the TV One reality show 'Colonial House'. Admission price is based on whether trams/trains are operating or not, and include unlimited rides if available. $10, $5 child with trams/trains; $6, $3 child without.
- International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Airport, +64 3 353 7798 (toll free 0508 736 4846 within NZ), . 09:00-17:30. A world-class Antarctic experience with simulated polar weather, Hagglund All-Terrain Vehicle ride, penguins, extensive exhibits about Antarctic science missions, cafe and gift shop. $55, $36 child. Xpress Pass for $39 adult. Prices cheaper on website by around $6. Unlimited Hagglund all day rides $20, Penguin Backstage Pass $20, $15 child. free shuttle picks up at Rolleston and Worcester.
- Orana Wildlife Park, McLeans Island Rd (10 min drive W of airport), +64 3 359 7109, . 10:00-17:00 daily, last entrance 16:30. New Zealand's largest wildlife sanctuary and conservation project featuring endangered animals from around the world. The park's design minimises fences and cages in favor of natural boundaries and habitats. Lion Encounter (limited 20 tickets per day, participants must be above 1.4 metres in height).
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, 60 Hussey Rd (off Gardiners Rd), +64 3 359 6226, . A smaller park than Orana, with a focus on New Zealand species including kiwi in a natural environment.
- Yaldhurst Museum, Main West Rd (near the airport, first right past Yaldhurst Hotel), +64 3 342 7914, . 10:00-17:00 daily (17:00-21:00 by arrangement for groups of 10 or more). Mostly interesting for its collection of over 150 classic and vintage vehicles. $15, $5 child.
- Riccarton Bush. The last remaining forest remnant on the Canterbury plains is in Christchurch city. If your time is limited in NZ, this is a great way to experience an example of the country's native forests. The circular track passes under tall Kahikatea trees, and there is a diversity of small trees, shrubs, climbers and ferns. Christchurch's oldest house, Dean's Cottage (built 1843) is adjacent. Five minutes drive from central city and easily accessible by bus.
- Earthquake Tourism Tours of affected sites are available. Visitors can also make their own way to sites of significance such as Christchurch Cathedral (viewed from Gloucester/Colombo St); the Catholic Basilica (South Barbadoes St, just north of Moorhouse Ave) and the Cardboard Cathedral (Barbadoes/Hereford). Memorial sites include the 185 white chair memorial (Barbadoes/Cashel) and the site of the CTV building (Barbadoes/Cashel).
- The Summit Road, drive it or bike it or take a bus then walk it. The road (and the Crater Rim Walkway) traverses the crest of the Port Hills, which separate Christchurch from Lyttelton Harbour. Breathtaking views over Christchurch, the Southern Alps, Pegasus Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula - often all from the same vantage point. Lots of sheep on the walkways, some of which traverse working farms. (It is not possible to drive along all of Summit Road because it is closed due to earthquake damage).
- Lyttelton,the port over the hill from the city, is accessible by car/bus through the tunnel. Although only 15 km (9 mi) from the central city, it feels like another world entirely, with its cafes bars shops and locals, its ever-busy port, its stunning hilly backdrop and beautiful harbour.
- Punting on the Avon, punts depart from Antigua Boatsheds, Glide down the river in Cambridge University style with a uniformed boatsman.
- Antigua Boatsheds, 2 Cambridge Ter, +64 3 366 5885, . Boat hire from historic British boatsheds for a hands-on water experience. 09:30-17:30 daily summer, 09:30-16:30 winter.
- Christchurch Casino, 30 Victoria Street, +64 3 365 9999, . Open 24 hours except 25 Dec, Good Friday, ANZAC Day. Dress code (jeans now allowed). You get a free meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) if it is your birthday (booking essential, e.g. by phone).
- Christchurch Gondola, base station 10 Bridle Path Rd (take 28 Lyttelton Bus from the Bus Exchange), +64 3 384 0700, . Ride in the enclosed gondola car up to the summit of the Port Hills then view the Heritage Time Tunnel, take an outdoor nature walk, or eat at the cafe.
- Adventure Ride (Guided off-road motorcycle tours), ☎ +64 274 510 584, . 10 days. All tours include an experienced guide, transport from Christchurch, motorcycle or ATV rental, fuel, insurance, riding gear, lunch and support vehicle.Overnight tours also include twin share accommodation and all meals. 5-10 day tours require a minimum of two riders. edit
- Southern White Water (Guided rafting fishing or hunting tours), ☎ +64 3 944 1246, . Day trip $135 per person. All tours include an experienced guide, transport to and from Christchurch, fuel, wet weather gear, lunch. Overnight tours (1-5 days trips) also include camping accommodation and all meals. edit
Christchurch has the busiest program of annual festivals of any New Zealand city.
- Summertimes runs from December through to late February and includes a number of major free events in Hagley Park, which attract audiences of up to 100,000. It consists of music, arts, culture and sporting events.
- The World Buskers Festival, . Runs for two weeks in January and usually features about 30 comedy, street, and circus acts from around the globe.
- The Festival of Romance lasts for 10 days leading up to Valentines day and includes a range of romantic activities.
- The Christchurch Garden Festival takes place in March.
- Kidsfest is on during the midwinter school holiday.
- The Christchurch Arts Festival is the largest arts festival on South Island and takes place every second year in mid winter. 
- Carnival Week is centered around a number of events taking place in November - Guy Fawkes' night (a major public firework display at New Brighton Pier), the two New Zealand Cup (trotting and galloping) horse racing meetings, and the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral show, which is the largest in the country. 
- Carols by Candlelight is a longstanding tradition on Christmas Eve, now held in Victoria Square.
- Ballantynes, corner of Colombo and Cashel, Tel: +64 3 379 7400, . The major upmarket department store. Open seven days.
- Locals tend to shop at the many suburban malls, the largest of which are Westfield Riccarton, Northlands and The Palms in Shirley.
- The Warehouse. Common throughout New Zealand, and with several stores in Christchurch, these big red stores contain a variety of bottom-end products including clothing, tools, camping equipment, toys, music, etc. Their motto is "where everyone gets a bargain", most things are made in China, and prices are cheap.
- Riccarton Rotary Market. Su 09:00-14:00 - wet or fine. Selling all sorts of things from plants, fruit and vegetables to kiwi souvenirs and cheap Asian wares. Has performances, bouncy castles and food.
- Christchurch Farmers Market. Meet the growers, farmers, brewers and other artisan producers. A lively affair which takes place every Saturday morning between 09:00 and 12:00 on the grounds of Riccarton House.
- Buy from a local supermarket, the yellow coloured Pak'n'Save is cheapest. New World has greater product variety, but do not focus on having extremely cheap specials.
- Fruit and vegetable shops offer locally grown high quality produce for prices often much cheaper than supermarkets. The Funky Pumpkin is one.
- Perry's Cafe, 145 Madras St (opposite Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology). M-F 08:00-17:00. Surprisingly good cafeteria-style food with touches of cafe class, gets crowded around lunchtime. $5-7.
- Dux Dine, 28 Riccarton Rd, ☎ +64 3 348-1436 This is the award-winning successor restaurant to the famous Dux de Lux venue that was smashed in the earthquake - but a good 2000m east, across Hagley Park.Offering Good sea food and vegetarian options you will find no meat on their menu.
- Strawberry Fare, 19 Bealey Ave (Hagley Park end, on Calton Mill Cnr) ☎ +64 3 365-4897 In the heart of Christchurch, Strawberry Fare carries an extensive menu of modern interpreted New Zealand dishes as well as many dessert dishes to die for. Reservations are required M-F 07:00-late, Sa-Su 08:30-late.
- Under the Red Verandah, 502 Worcester St ☎ +64 3 381-1109. Closed M. Under the Red Verandah offers a range of food incorporating fair trade coffee, free range eggs and gluten free baked goods.
- At Tony's, 85 Riccarton Road, +64 3 341 6608. Good Teppanyaki with special all you can eat deals Tu-Th. (Closed -Ferrymead restaurant still open).
Christchurch's Asian district is mainly in the Riccarton/Upper Riccarton area.
- Chinese: Church Corner is often considered Christchurch's unofficial 'Chinatown'. It offers many shops, for example, Chinese supermarkets, all kinds of Asian restaurants and more.
- Korean: There are many Korean restaurants in the (unofficial) Chinatown area, and down in the shopping precient near Westfield Riccarton. KOSCO, a Korean supermarket, has several branches in Christchurch, including one in Riccarton.
- Bog Irish Pub. Located in The Speights Ale House, 263 Bealey Ave.
- Aikmans Bistro & Bar, an upscale drinking spot in the trendy Merivale area. 154 Aikmans Rd, Merivale.
- Speights Ale House Tower Junction. A relaxed atmosphere bar, a great place for meals. Tower Junction Mega Centre, 55 Clarence St, Riccarton.
- The Watershed Restaurant & Bar. Overlooking the waterfront in Ferrymead. 12/23 Humphrey's Drive, Ferrymead.
- The Craic Irish Bar, 84 Riccarton Rd.
Backpackers are safe, clean, cheap and cheerful. The cheapest option is a share/dorm room usually costing around $28 per night. Most offer single rooms, twin and double rooms and shared rooms. The standard of backpackers is very good in New Zealand.
Motels are a notch up. Low end around $79 per night. There are also many good quality B&Bs in Christchurch and surrounding district.
- Christchurch Holiday Homes, 3/14 Acheron Drive, Riccarton, ☎ 64 21 123 2859, . A great hotel alternative. Fully furnished holiday homes & apartments throughout Christchurch ideal for short or long term rental for family holidays, business travellers, groups of friends. Pet friendly options, free WiFi, on site parking. edit
- Dorset House Backpackers, 1 Dorset St, ☎ +64 3 366-8268 (toll free: 0800 DORSET (0800 367 738), [email protected]), . checkin: From 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Charming hostel accommodation in an 1871 heritage home, top-rated. Fully renovated in 2012. Free Wi-Fi, car-parking, spacious rooms, no bunks, all beds fully made. Set among flower gardens and 50m from Hagley Park. On the airport bus route. Double, twin, multi-share, single and family rooms available. Secure on-line bookings available. edit
- Jailhouse Accommodation, 338 Lincoln Rd, ☎ +64 3 982-7777 (toll free: 0800 JAILHOUSE (0800 524 546), [email protected]), . checkout: 10:00. Newly renovated heritage backpacker accommodation with a colourful history - the former Addington Prison. The Jailhouse has single, double, twin, dorm and family rooms available. Wi-Fi and free parking. edit
- The Old Countryhouse Backpackers, 437, Gloucester St, Linwood (http://tinyurl.com/lhhgcdq), ☎ +64 3 381-5504, . checkin: 13:30; checkout: 10:00. Up-market facilities at budget prices. Backpacker prices for hotel grade mattresses and linen, spotlessly clean hostel facilities, guest telephone with FREE local calls, W-i-Fi, Spa Sanctuary with spa pool & sauna. $42-210. (-43.529621,172.656750) edit
- 219 on Johns Motel & Holiday Park, 219 Johns Road, Northwood, ☎ +64 3 323 8640 (toll free: 0800 476 9637, [email protected]), . checkin: From 2pm; checkout: 10am. Qualmark 4 Star Christchurch holiday park offering a choice of low cost, self catering accommodation just 10 mins from the airport. Motels, chalets, cabins and van / camping sites. Pet friendly, free airport transfers & vehicle storage. edit
- AAA Northlands Motel, 232 Main North Rd, Northcote (On SH 74), ☎ +64 3 352 8478 (toll free: Reservations 0800 24 01 22, [email protected], fax: +64 3 352 8451), . Close to Northlands Mall and QE2 Park. A Host Accommodation Group member. $95-130. edit
- Addington Court Motel, Cnr Lincoln Rd and Twigger St, Addington, ☎ +64 3 339 4211 (toll free: Reservations 0800 782 978, [email protected], fax: +64 3 339 4233), . Close to Addington Raceway, A&P Showgrounds and Westpac Trust Stadium. A Host Accommodation Group member. $135-270. edit
- Airport Christchurch Motel, 55 Roydvale Ave, Burnside (Just off SH1 at the Airport Roundabout. Take first L on Memorial Ave going towards the city), ☎ +64 3 977 4970 (toll free: Reservations 0800 800 631, [email protected], fax: +64 3 977 4974), . 4 minutes drive to the airport, but not on any flight path. A Host Accommodation Group member. $135-225. edit
- Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park & Motels, 39 Meadow Street, Papanui, ☎ +64 (0)3 352 9176 (toll free: Reservations 0800 396 323), . checkout: 10:00. Motels, cabins and tent site facilities. 5 minutes walk to Northlands Shopping Centre, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, cinema and bus stop. 10 minutes drive to Christchurch Airport and 5km to city centre. edit
- City Central Motel Apartments, 252 Barbadoes St, Central, ☎ +64 3 379 0540 (toll free: Reservations 0508 800 888, [email protected], fax: +64 3 366 4700), . 5 minutes walk to Litchfield St restaurants and 7 minutes walk to Cathedral Square. A Host Accommodation Group member. $115-235. edit
- Classique Lodge Motel, 290 Blenheim Rd, Riccarton, ☎ +64 3 348 4977 (toll free: Reservations 0800 45 40 45, [email protected], fax: +64 3 348 4977), . 5 minutes to Westfield Riccarton Shopping Mall. A Host Accommodation Group member. $90-150 (2 people). edit
- Distinction Christchurch Hotel, 14 Cathedral Square, Christchurch Central, ☎ +64 (0)3 377 7000 ([email protected]), . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. Includes FREE unlimited WiFi. 179 hotel rooms and suites located in Cathedral Square in the heart of the city. Gumption Restaurant and Bar, valet carparking, gym and sauna also all located on-site. $199-500. edit
- Eliza's Manor Boutique Hotel, 82 Bealey Ave, Central, ☎ +64 3 366 8584 ([email protected], fax: +64 3 366 4946), . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 10:30. This heritage boutique hotel is comprised of 8 ensuite rooms and is a smoke-free environment. Eliza's Manor is also located close to city centre and public transportation. $245-345 Double including breakfast. edit
- Milano Motor Lodge, 87 Papanui Rd, Papanui, ☎ +64 3 355 2800 (toll free: Reservations 0800 878 766, [email protected], fax: +64 3 355 2800), . 5 minutes walk to Hagley Park or Merivale Shopping Mall, 2-3 minutes walk to restaurants. A Host Accommodation Group member. $125-240. edit
- Orpington House Bed and Breakfast, 3 Marion Pl, Lincoln, Canterbury, ☎ +64 3 325-7790, . This B&B only has one bedroom and is located 20 minutes drive outside of Christchurch city. edit
For travellers who want to stay a month or longer, there are a number of furnished flats for rent advertised in the papers. A local company called "Urban Rooms"  has a number of furnished rentals specifically for travelers, ranging from rooms in a shared house to self-contained flats with garages.
- Red Door Cottage, 115 Merivale La (Merivale), ☎ +64 274 220764, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. Self-catering for up to 4. Close to City Centre, public transport, restaurants, shopping. Sky TV, free Wi-Fi, rate includes continental breakfast first day. King & Queen beds, warm and private, with off-street parking. $130-150. edit
- Valley View Cottage, 101 Hillsborough Tce (St.Martins), ☎ 0274 220 764, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:30. Self-catering for maximum of 3 - Private, relaxing and peaceful, on lower slopes of Hills with views to City. Sky TV, free Wi-Fi, rate includes continental breakfast provisions for first day. Queen bed, warm and cosy with off-street parking. $105-115. edit
- Brenzplace. Live with friendly People from around the world. Hereford st. Houses: Fully furnished, free Wifi, gym, pool table, table tennis, large lawn area with fruit trees and vegetable garden. ☎ +64 21 944704,  edit
Christchurch has a problem with smog during the winter. Although conditions have improved over the years due to the intervention of the city council, take care venturing out on calm frosty evenings if you have a breathing-related medical condition.
Violent crime is relatively rare.
Christchurch had major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Aftershocks have decreased and are now rarely felt.
- Akaroa is beautiful, quaint and packed with good eateries. Try the "Swim with the Dolphins in the sea" trip.
- Arthur's Pass National Park for a bush getaway, a fantastic train journey or via the historic Alpine highway by coach or self drive.
- Hanmer Springs to soak in the hot pools
- Kaikoura for crayfish and whale watching
- Waipara The newest wine region, specializing in some of New Zealand's finest wines
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