Christchurch Regional Info (App Version)
The Canterbury region is one of contrasting natural beauty and vibrant city life. Two national parks, the Canterbury plains, eye-catching turquoise lakes, beautiful sandy beaches, pretty coastal villages, whale watching, and the 'garden city' of Christchurch are all waiting to be discovered.
Canterbury is the largest region in New Zealand with over 45,000sqkm. It's the second most populated region (after Auckland) in the country with approximately 560,000 residents. Christchurch is the focal point of the region with beautiful open green spaces and the stunning River Avon.
Christchurch was the first official city in New Zealand, registered on the 31st of July, 1856.
The nickname of Christchurch is the 'Garden City' due to its large botanic gardens and central park.
Hamish Hay in Victoria Square is the oldest iron and stone bridge in New Zealand.
Hagley Park is the 3rd biggest inner city park in the world, behind New York's Central Park and London's Hyde Park.
The largest city of the South Island, Christchurch is also New Zealand's oldest, having been granted its Royal Charter in 1856. Known as the ‘Garden City’, for its high percentage of green areas, Christchurch has the feel of an old, English city, thanks to the ambitions of settlers who wanted to recreate the similarly-named area of Oxford.
Highlights include punting along the River Avon, visiting the botanical gardens, taking a stroll around Hagley Park, shopping in the Re:START mall and visiting the beaches of Sumner and New Brighton.
Created in 1863, the Botanic Gardens comprise of 21 hectares of gardens, walking paths, water features, a rose garden, and a variety of plants and flowers. The River Avon running through the gardens, adds to the sense of tranquility with visitors enjoying the quaint tradition of punting as they enjoy their tour of the city.
On 22nd February 2011, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale, struck central Christchurch, killing an estimated 200 people and injuring thousands more. Despite the earthquakes, Christchurch remains a resilient city of expansive parks, botanical gardens and gorgeous beaches.
One of the world's most beautiful train journeys, the TranzAlpine Express is the perfect way to leave (or arrive into) Christchurch. In just under five glorious hours, you will travel from the east coast through unrivalled mountain scenery, over Arthur's Pass and through the rolling Canterbury Plains, before arriving at the terminus of Greymouth on the West.
A 90 minute drive east brings you to the Banks Peninsula and the jewel in the crown, Akaroa. This French influenced town is full of charm with its pretty harbour setting and quaint streets, french colonial buildings and numerous cafes. There's also plenty of opportunities to leave the harbour and explore the region by boat.
Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park:
New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook sits in the national park of the same name and is part of the Te Wahipounamu world heritage area. All but one of New Zealand's 3000m high peaks lie in the park, making it an obvious attraction for mountaineers and experienced hikers. Near the park you’ll also find Lake Tekapo, with its stunning turquoise waters and dramatic highland landscape and Lake Pukaki.
Arthur's Pass National Park:
Established in 1929, Arthur's Pass National Park is situated between Canterbury and the West Coast. Dominated by the spectacular Southern Alps, the park is a haven for trampers and mountain climbers. The village of Arthur's Pass itself, provides a handy base for those who want to take their time exploring this wild landscape.
180km north of Christchurch, Kaikoura is a pretty coastal town famous for its whaling station and abundant marine life. With mountains that very nearly reach to the ocean, the town is a popular place to catch some sea air, with a number of boating excursions available.
65kms southwest from Kaikoura, the town of Hanmer Springs is, as its name suggests, built around a natural hot spring that now includes an extended hot pools complex. Come here if you want to really unwind - and get really wet!