Situated on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island and sitting on the Canterbury plains, Christchurch is known as the “Garden City”. Although it has some kind of cosmopolitan appeal, the city remains a relaxing place made more captivating by its scenic surroundings. Although the central part of the city as well as its eastern suburbs suffered great damage by the last earthquake, Christchurch has been getting back on its feet.

ChristchurchSome infrastructure may need some rebuilding but the gorgeous surrounding landscape, composed of lush hills, the towering Southern Alps and the Pacific Ocean, remain the same. When you are exploring Christchurch, begin at the city centre where the Avon River flows right into. This area, which is adorned by green grass and bright colorful flowers, looks compact, even though Christchurch is one of the bigger cities in the country. The downtown is populated by shops, cafes, restaurants and small markets.

Christchurch earned the ‘Garden City of the World’ distinction because of its absolutely beautiful public gardens and parks, which occupy one third of the city’s public land. Out of the 13 main metropolitan parks, Hagley Park stands out as the queen, covering a land area of 161 hectares. While traveling Christchurch, take the time to soak in the beauty and charm of this green heart. The trees, lakes and seemingly endless fields of flowers offer you peace and relaxation. Hagley Park also houses the famed Christchurch Botanic Gardens, which features impressive collections of local and exotic trees, and other types of flora.

When planning a visit to Christchurch, consider coming during their big floral festivals. The first one is called The Festival of Flowers, and is held each February. This is then followed by the Ellerslie International Flower Show held every March. During these celebrations, the city becomes even more colorful, and its atmosphere quite festive. But should you decide to join the celebrations, make sure to book accommodation in advance. At present, there are more than 250 lodging places in the city. Christchurch is well connected via bus, rail and sea transport and Christchurch International Airport is the second largest airport in New Zealand.

Christchurch-cathedralChristchurch serves as the gateway to the South Island, known for its outdoor activities and extreme sports. Thus, visiting Christchurch is all about enjoying nature in a very active way. While here, you can go hiking, rafting, mountain biking. Perhaps you can conquer your fear of heights by going on a memorable hot-air balloon ride. You can tour around picturesque wineries and gardens, and witness magnificent whales in action. No lack of fun things to do!

Christchurch is also an ideal spot for families. Aside from the parks and gardens, you can also take the entire family to attractions like the International Antarctic Center. Here, you can be educated more about the Antarctic’s importance to earth and at the same time, enjoy cool rides, slides, and theater shows.

If you love beaches, there a couple of great options accessible from Christchurch. Some of the most notable ones include Taylors Mistake, New Brighton and Sumner. Other nearby natural attractions worth visiting includes Victoria Square, the Port Hills, the four leafy inner-city avenues and Orana Wildlife Park. Just nearby the banks of the River Avon is another stunning and popular garden called Mona Vale.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!