Often called the Garden City of New Zealand, Christchurch is a charming town of 350,000 people that is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the Southern Hemisphere.
Shopping in Christchurch is one of the town's great attractions. Head to new developments like the re:Start shopping mall which offers plenty for tourists to explore, but the spectacular farmers market which features delicacies from around the world will be irresistible to any foodie.
For culture lovers this may be New Zealand's finest city. Tour the stunning Botanical Gardens, head to the newly restored cathedral or learn a thing or two about the vast continent to New Zealand's south at the unique International Antarctic Centre. Nature lovers will adore the animals on view at the Orana Wildlife Park, while art fans will flock to the city's fine art gallery, one of New Zealand's best.
Don't be afraid to explore outside the city limits as well. Lovers of fine wine will want to get out of town to the vineyards of the hinterland. Visit New Brighton pier to experience the region's excellent surf, see Kiwi in the wild at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, sail with dolphins, cycle the Alps or you can even try skiing in the Southern Alps when the season is right around July and August.
When to fly to Christchurch
The southern island of New Zealand enjoys beautiful summer weather, and high season lasts from around the start of December through until March. The sunshine also sees a range of festivals, many of them accessible for free in Hagley Park. However, visit during the southern winter between June and August to enjoy Alpine sports and relax in the city when tourists are slightly less numerous.
Getting around Christchurch
The city has a superb public transport system, so getting around should not present any difficulties. The majority of buses will also have on-board bike racks, so feel free to cycle and ride to get the most out of your stay. There is also a handy ferry across the harbour, which provides a nice sight-seeing opportunity as well.
Christchurch insider information
Budget travellers who want to explore out of season flight deals, should check out prices between March and May, or around September and October for the best deals and mild weather.