Home to 350,000 residents, the City of Christchurch is also known as The Garden City, for its wealth of parkland and numerous well-tended gardens. Situated at nearly-sea-level between the Banks Peninsula and the Canterbury Plains, the city is just one place to enjoy breathtaking vistas at every turn. It is surrounded by ocean, mountains, pastureland and sky…a delight for every poet and nature-lover.
The city’s history spans epochs, with Māori oral tradition noting inhabitants in the area as far back as 1000 AD. Significant European settlement can be traced to the 1840’s, when a Church of England colony was established in the South Island. Much of the city’s Gothic revival heritage arrived along with the settlers.
In the sporting world, Canterbury boasts the most-successful team in Super Rugby, the Crusaders, who play at AMI Stadium, a rugby and cricket ground which seats 36,500. Outdoor pursuits are all but required in the area in and around Christchurch! There is simply so much to see and do. The highest point of New Zealand, Aoraki Mount Cook, stands at 3,754 meters tall ("Aoraki" is Māori for "cloud piercer"). The National Park which is named after this mountain is home to nineteen peaks over 3,000 meters and offers myriad challenges to climbers and hikers. No fewer than five ski fields are less than 90 minutes away.
Christchurch is also just a half hour from the beautiful surf beaches of Sumner, Brighton and Taylor’s Mistake; a popular surf spot among locals.
Christchurch offers all the cultural amenities befitting a big city, with music, drama, cinema and shopping readily available. It offers the best of both worlds – as the largest city in the South Island, there is a distinct urban feel…but whale-watching at Kaikoura, the natural hot springs of Hanmer Springs and the road that traverses the Alps to the West Coast, Arthur’s Pass, are refreshingly nearby.