Christchurch is a city in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. It is the largest city in the South Island, and the second largest city, and third largest urban area, in the country. It is situated along the coast, just north of Banks Peninsula, half way down the South Island's eastern coast.
The city is named after its cathedral, which is itself named after Christ Church, a college at the University of Oxford, and the Cathedral of Oxford. The city was originally known as Christ Church, the written form consolidating by the 1880s.
The usual Māori name Ōtautahi is a shortened form of Te Whenua o Te Potiki-Tautahi - named for the seasonal dwelling of Ngai Tahu chief Tautahi of Port Levy on a bank of the Avon River near to where the Barbadoes Street bridge now stands.
Christchurch is the provincial capital of Canterbury, New Zealand. The city is near the southern end of Pegasus Bay, near the centre of the east coast of the South Island, between Banks Peninsula and the Canterbury Plains. The city is bounded to the east by the Pacific Ocean coast and the estuary of the Avon and Heathcote rivers. To the south and south-east the city is limited by the volcanic slopes of the Port Hills, and to the north by the braided Waimakariri River.
The large number of public parks and well-developed residential gardens with many trees has given Christchurch the name of The Garden City. Hagley Park and the 30-hectare (75-acre) Christchurch Botanic Gardens, founded in 1863, are in the central city, with Hagley Park being a site for sports such as golf, cricket, netball, and rugby, and for open air concerts by local bands and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
With much of the city being flat and only a few metres above sea level, spectacular views can be obtained from almost any high building. At these low elevations the city appears more like a forest with only a few buildings visible, rather than a major city.
 Central City
At the centre of the city is Cathedral Square, surrounding the Anglican cathedral, Christ Church.The area around this square and within the four avenues of Christchurch (Bealey Avenue, Fitzgerald Avenue, Moorhouse Avenue and Rolleston Avenue) is the central city area.
Cathedral Square is a popular destination and hosts attractions such as the speakers' corner made famous by the city Wizard. The central city includes the pedestrianised Cashel Street as Christchurch's urban mall. At one end of the mall stands the Bridge Of Remembrance; at the other end the amphitheatre known as the Hack Circle.
The central city also has a number of residential areas, including Inner City East, Inner City West, Avon Loop, Moa & Victoria.
Christchurch has a temperate climate, with maximum temperatures in January ranging from 15°C to 25°C (often reaching 30°C or higher), and maximum temperatures in July ranging from 5°C to 15°C. The summer climate is often moderated by a sea breeze from the northeast, but a record temperature of 41.6°C was reached in February 1973. A notable feature of the weather is the nor'wester, a hot föhn wind which occasionally reaches storm force and causes widespread damage to property.
In winter it is common for the temperature to fall below 0°C at night. Snow falls occur on average once or twice a year in the hill suburbs and about once or twice every two years on the plain.
On cold winter nights, the surrounding hills, clear skies, and frosty calm conditions often combine to form a stable inversion layer above the city that traps vehicle exhausts and smoke from domestic fires to cause smog. While not as bad as smog in Los Angeles or Mexico City, Christchurch smog has often exceeded World Health Organisation recommendations for air pollution. The city has strict requirements for domestic home heating in order to limit air pollution
On 6 March 2004, the area administered by the Christchurch City Council had a population of 344,100, making it the second-largest in New Zealand, and the largest city in the South Island. The Christchurch urban area is the third-largest in the country, after Auckland and Wellington.
The early local economy was based on the agricultural produce of the Canterbury plains. Early manufacturers processed agricultural produce, especially sheep and dairy products, into finished products. The early presence of the University of Canterbury and the heritage of the city's academic institutions working in association with local businesses have fostered a number of technology-based industries. The region now has a range of "new economy" sectors.
Tourism is also a significant factor of the local economy. The closeness of the ski-fields and other attractions of the Southern Alps, and hotels and an airport that meet international standards make Christchurch a stopover destination for many tourists. It is particularly hospitable to Japanese tourists, with signage around Cathedral Square in Japanese, and some local churches being popular for weddings of Japanese couples, followed by honeymoons in Queenstown.
Archeological evidence found in a cave at Redcliffs in 1876 has indicated that the Christchurch area was first settled by moa-hunting tribes about 1250. Māori oral history relates that humans occupied the area around the year 1000. These first inhabitants were thought to have been followed by the Waitaha tribe, who are said to have migrated from the East coast of the North Island in the 16th century. Following tribal warfare, the Waitaha (made of three peoples) were dispossessed by the Ngati Mamoe tribe. They were in turn subjugated by the Ngai Tahu tribe, who remained in control until the arrival of European settlers.
Following the purchase of land at Putaringamotu (modern Riccarton) by the Weller brothers whalers of Otago and Sydney a party of European settlers led by Herriott and McGillivray established themselves in what is now the Christchurch area, early in 1840. Their abandoned holdings were taken over by the Deans brothers in 1843 who stayed. The First Four Ships were chartered by the Canterbury Association and arrived on 16 December 1850, bringing the first 792 of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton Harbour. These sailing vessels were the Randolph, Charlotte-Jane, Sir George Seymour, and Cressy. The Canterbury Pilgrims dreamt of building a city around a cathedral and college, on the model of Christ Church in Oxford. The name "Christ Church" was decided prior to the ships' arrival, at the Association's first meeting, on 27 March 1848.
Captain Thomas, the Canterbury Association's Chief Surveyor, surveyed the surrounding area. By December 1849 he had commissioned the construction of a road from Port Cooper, later Lyttelton, to Christchurch via Sumner. However this proved more difficult than expected and road construction was stopped while a steep foot and pack horse track was constructed over the hill between the port and the Heathcote valley, where access to the site of the proposed settlement could be gained. This track became known as the Bridle Path, because the path was so steep that pack horses needed to be led by the bridle.
Goods that were too heavy or bulky to be transported by pack horse over the Bridle Path were shipped by small sailing vessels some eight miles by water around the coast and up the estuary to Ferrymead. New Zealand's first public railway line, the Ferrymead railway, opened from Ferrymead to Christchurch in 1863. Due to the difficulties in travelling over the Port Hills and the dangers associated with shipping navigating the Sumner bar, a railway tunnel was bored through the Port Hills to Lyttelton, opening in 1867.
Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, the first city in New Zealand. Many of the city's fine Gothic buildings by architect Benjamin Mountfort date from this period.
Christchurch was the seat of provincial administration for the Province of Canterbury.
In 1947, New Zealand's worst fire disaster occurred at Ballantyne's Department Store in the inner city, with 41 people killed in a blaze which razed the rambling collection of buildings.
A road tunnel was constructed between Lyttelton and Christchurch in the early 1960s.
In 1974 Christchurch was host to the Commonwealth Games.
 Gateway to the Antarctic
Christchurch has played a significant role in the history of Antarctic exploration. Both Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton used the port of Lyttelton as a departure point for expeditions, and there is a statue of Scott, sculpted by his widow, in the central city.
Christchurch International Airport serves as the major base for the Italian and United States Antarctic programs as well as the New Zealand Antarctic programme. The International Antarctic Centre provides both base facilities and a museum and visitor centre.
 Visitor attractions
- Christchurch Visitor Guide - the official guide to Christchurch activities & attractions
- localeye - your online guide to Christchurch and Canterbury
- Be There - events calendar
- Garden and Parks; Mona Vale, The Botanical Gardens, Hagley Park, and Riccarton House and Bush.
- Canterbury Museum.
- Ferrymead Heritage Park.
- Orana Wildlife Park.
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.
- Air Force Museum.
- Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House.
- International Antarctic Centre.
- Christ Church (the Anglican cathedral), the centre of the Church of England settlement was built between 1864 and 1910.
- The Roman Catholic Cathedral, consecrated in 1905, is widely considered to be the finest renaissance-style building in Australasia.
- Christchurch Art Gallery (A new gallery opened 2003 to replace the 1930 Robert McDougall Art Gallery situated in the Botanic Gardens).
- Historic electric trams, introduced in 1905, ceased operating in 1954, but returned to the inner city in 1995.
- The Christchurch Arts Centre, formerly Canterbury College and the site of "Ernest Rutherford's Den".
- The Provincial Council Chambers, 1857 - 1865.
- The Timeball Station in Lyttelton
- The New Brighton Pier
- Heathcote (Christchurch) Gondola
- The Summit Road along the top of the Port Hills and Godley Head Road provides numerous spectacular views of the area and features the buildings created as wayside rests, the Sign of the Takahe (now a function centre) and Sign of the Kiwi. The Mt Pleasant Trig offers 360° views from Lyttleton Harbour back over the hills to the southern alps and the city, and out over Pegasus Bay.
- Walkways including Victoria Park, the Bridle Path and Whitewash Head, a bird sanctuary.
- Mountain Biking on the Port Hills and Bottle Lake Forest. Christchurch Mountainbiking
- There is a large nesting colony of spotted shags immediately south of Christchurch.
Christchurch has one full-time professional theatre, the Court Theatre (external link). There is also an active recreational theatre scene.
Christchurch has approximately 35 cinema screens, with more planned in the next few years. While historically most cinemas were grouped around Cathedral Square, only the Regent complex remains there. The largest multiplexes are the Hoyts 8 in the old railway station (Moorhouse Ave) and Reading Cinemas (eight) in the Palms shopping centre in Shirley. Hoyts in Riccarton, just recently opened, has the largest screen in New Zealand, called Cinemaxx.
The Christchurch Arts Centre includes two art house cinemas, Cloisters and The Academy, screening a wide selection of contemporary, classic and foreign language films. These cinemas participate in an annual film festival.
There is an active film society in the city.
 Large concert venues
- The Westpac Centre is New Zealand's largest permanent multipurpose arena, seating between 5000 and 8000, depending on configuration. It is home of the Canterbury Rams basketball team, and Canterbury Flames netball side. It was the venue for the 1999 World Netball championships and has been host to many concerts in recent years including Neil Diamond, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Velvet Revolver , Edgefest, and many more major international acts.
- The Town Hall Auditorium (2000 seats, opened 1974) was the first major auditorium design by architects Warren and Mahoney and acousticians Marshall Day. It is still recognised as a model example of concert-hall design. It has an excellent modern pipe organ.
 Dance parties
Christchurch has a wide range of dance parties. Information can be obtained from inner-city cafés such as C1 on High Street, or record stores. While most of the parties are either house or drum'n'bass, occasionally there are trance and hardhouse parties. In Christchurch drum'n'bass is particularly popular, having more d'n'b events than events of any other types of dance music. Massive is one of several popular organisers of dance parties located in the greater Christchurch area.
 Live music
There are usually buskers around the town square.
- Hang gliding and parasailing.
- Yachting and windsurfing.
- Swimming, surfing, surf lifesaving, surfcasting, and fishing.
- Netball, represented by the Canterbury Flames in the national league.
- Basketball, represented by the Canterbury Rams in the national league.
- Golf, with more than a dozen golf courses. Has hosted the PGA-sanctioned Clearwater Classic since 2002.
- Cricket, the major summer sport
- Rugby Union, represented by the Crusaders in the Super 14 competition and Canterbury in the Air New Zealand Cup.
- Hockey, the main venues are Porritt Park in Avonside and Nunweek Park in Bishopdale.
- Rock climbing, on the volcanic rock outcrops of the Port Hills and several indoor climbing walls.
- Mountain biking, on the many trails around the Port Hills and through Bottle Lake Forest.
Major Sporting Grounds
- Jade Stadium (formerly Lancaster Park) is Christchurch's premier outdoor sporting ground, which plays host to rugby union in the winter months and cricket in the summer months. It is home to the Crusaders Super 14 and Canterbury Air New Zealand Cup rugby teams. It is also used by the New Zealand cricket team and occasionally hosts a New Zealand Warriors rugby league match. Jade Stadium has a current capacity of 36,500 people.
- QEII Park was built for the 1974 British Commonwealth Games, which Christchurch hosted. It is used primarily as an athletics park, but also contains a newly upgraded swimming pool complex. It has hosted major concerts from bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
 Educational institutions
 Tertiary Institutions
A number of tertiary education institutions have campuses in Christchurch, or in the surrounding areas.
- University of Canterbury
- Lincoln University
- Christchurch College of Education
- Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
- University of Otago Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences
 Secondary schools
Christchurch is well-known for several very traditional schools of the English public school type, such as Christ's College, St Andrew's, St. Margaret's College and Rangi Ruru Girls' School, but also has several unusual and innovative schools such as Unlimited paenga tawhiti and Hagley Community College.
Christchurch is served by Christchurch International Airport and by buses (local and long-distance) and trains. The local bus service, known as Metro, is provided by Environment Canterbury, the Canterbury Regional Council. Christchurch, in common with all New Zealand cities, is very poorly served by public transport as compared with other OECD nations. There is nolonger a local rail service and much of the area under the control of the City Council has no regular scheduled public transport. The car remains the dominant form of transport. The central city has very flat terrain and the City Council are establishing a network of cycle lanes on roads. The standard of driving in the City is low by national standards and there is current initiative by police to prosecute those not repecting the cycle lanes,
The Main North Line railway travels northwards via Kaikoura to Picton and is served by the famous TranzCoastal passenger train, while the Main South Line heads to Invercargill via Dunedin and was used by the Southerner until its cancellation in 2002. The most famous train to depart Christchurch is the TranzAlpine, which travels along the Main South Line to Rolleston and then turns onto the Midland Line, passes through the Southern Alps via the Otira Tunnel, and terminates in Greymouth in Westland. This trip is often regarded to be one of the ten great train journeys in the world for the amazing scenery through which it passes. The TranzAlpine service is purely a tourist service and carries no significant commuter traffic.
 Visiting Christchurch
Christchurch  is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand with a 2006 population of over 345,000. It is located on the edge of the Canterbury plains and is a major stepping off point for touring the South Island.
Christchurch was established in 1850 by English settlers. Its English heritage shows in the older buildings, especially the Anglican Cathedral in the Square in the very center of the city. The River Avon flows through the central city and disrupts the 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.
International tourism, especially foreign-student education for the Asian market, is a growing sector of the Christchurch economy, as is electronics and software development. Because of this there is a high concentration of cyber-cafes here, particularly in the Asian tourist-friendly areas around the Square. English-as-a-second-language schools are also in abundance.
 Get in
 By plane
Christchurch International Airport is a major transit airport for international and domestic travellers. There are international services to and from Australia, Japan, Singapore and Los Angeles, and frequent daily flights to and from most New Zealand airports, with direct flights to and from Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown, Nelson and Mount Cook.
Flights to and from McMurdo Station in Antarctica also 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 center. The 30-40 minute trip costs NZ$7 pp and the buses operate half-hourly during the week and at least hourly on weekends. There is also a privately-run 8-passenger "5 dollar bus" which runs between the Square and airport about every 15-20 minutes during the day. A door to door shuttle bus service to all parts of Christchurch is available for NZ$12-18 pp depending on the number of persons travelling. Taxi stands (about NZ$45 to the city center) and rental car parks are also close to the terminal building.
 By car
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.
 By bus
 By train
There is a daily train service to and from Picton timed to meet ferry sailings to and from Wellington. Southbound passengers spend the morning sailing on the Picton ferry and the afternoon on the train, while northbound passengers are the opposite.
This is also the terminus of the TranzAlpine train service to Greymouth. This can be done as a day trip. The train departs from Christchurch daily at 8:15am, returning at 6:05PM.
The railway station is located in Addington adjacent to the large Tower Junction shopping centre and has limited facilities.
 By boat
The port town of Lyttelton is separated from Christchurch by the Port Hills. The early settlers had to walk over the Bridle Path - so named because the path was so steep that horses had to be lead by the bridle as they could not be ridden. Today there is a road tunnel that links the port to the city.
 Get around
Christchurch is mostly flat, so many people get around on bicycles. Special-purpose bicycle lanes have been recently added to many streets to help 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.
The bus service has been greatly improved in recent years. Buses interconnect through the enclosed airport-style Bus Exchange on the corner of Colombo and Lichfield Streets. A standard bus fare is $2.50 cash or $1.90 ($3.80 maximum charge per day, $10 minimum initial purchase) with a MetroCard smart card. There is also a free diesel-electric yellow Shuttle that orbits the inner-city area every ten minutes, but often it can be quicker to walk such short distances. It passes two malls and three supermarkets.
The restored Christchurch Tramway (ticket $12.50, valid for two days) also runs in a smaller loop around the inner city, 9AM-9PM summer, 9AM-6PM winter.
- Christchurch Cathedral, Cathedral Square, +64 3 366 0046. Open daily for viewing with regular services during the week. Completed in 1904, the Cathedral is Christchurch's most prominent landmark and the Square to which it gives its name brings color and life to the heart of downtown. Check out the excellent i-Site visitors' center in the old Post Office building, and keep an eye out for concerts, protesters, eccentric street preachers or even the world-famous Wizard of New Zealand haranguing the lunchtime crowds. During the day food and craft stalls are available.
- Arts Centre, Worcester Boulevard, +64 3 366 0989. Information center open daily 9:30AM-5PM. Gothic stonework of former University campus converted into complex of over 40 specialty art and craft businesses and performance venues. Do not miss the weekend craft and produce market 10AM-4PM with live bands noon-2PM. Watch the improv show Scared Scriptless on Friday nights at 10PM.
- Art Gallery, Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street (one block east of Botanic Gardens). +64 3 941 7300. Daily 10AM-5PM, W 10AM-9PM. Spectacular new $47 million 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. Daily 10AM-5PM. 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 adult, $5 child.
- Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Avenue, car park entrance Armagh Street, +64 3 941 7590. Gates open daily 7AM-5:30PM winter, 7AM-9PM summer, check exact posted times on gates or website. Information center open daily 10:15AM-4PM summer, 11AM-3PM winter. 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.
- Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue at end of Worcester Boulevard (adjoining Botanic Gardens), +64 3 366 5000. Daily 9AM-5:30PM summer, 9AM-5PM 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 Drive (Ferry Road 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 Road), +64 3 384 1970. Daily 10AM-4:30PM. 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 adult, $5 child with trams/trains, $6 adult, $3 child without.
- International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Airport, +64 3 353 7798 (toll free 0508 736 4846 within NZ), . Daily 9AM-8PM summer, 9AM-5:30PM winter. A world-class Antarctic experience with simulated polar weather, Hagglund All-Terrain Vehicle ride, and gift shop. $20 adult, $10 child.
- Orana Wildlife Park, McLeans Island Road (10 minutes' drive west of airport), +64 3 359 7109, . Daily 10AM-5PM, last entrance 4:30PM. 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. $14 adult ($12 for 2:30PM), $6 child. Lion Encounter (limited 20 tickets per day, participants must be above 1.4 metres in height).
- Science Alive, 394 Moorhouse Road (former Railway Station building, shares lobby with Hoyts 8 cinema), +64 3 365 5199, . Daily 10AM-5PM. An interactive science education center with gift shop. Themed exhibitions are on display and change three times a year. $10 adult, $7 child 5-16yrs, $4 child 2-4yrs.
- Southern Encounter Aquarium & Kiwi House (formerly Aquarium of Discovery), Cathedral Square (adjoins the i-Site visitors' center), +64 3 359 0581, . Daily 9AM-4:30PM. Walk-through aquarium showcasing native fish and sea creatures. There is an interactive rock-pool for kids and viewing of nocturnal brown kiwis. $11 adult, $5 child.
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, 60 Hussey Road (off Gardiners Road), +64 3 359 6226, . A smaller park than Orana, with a focus on New Zealand species including kiwi in a natural environment. Daily 10AM-10PM, kiwi viewing from 11AM. $16 adult, $8 child.
- Yaldhurst Museum of Transport and Science, Main West Road (near the airport, first right past Yaldhurst Hotel), +64 3 342 7914, . Daily 10AM-5PM (5PM-9PM by arrangement for groups of 10 or more). Mostly interesting for its collection of over 100 classic and vintage vehicles. $7.50 adult, $3 child.
- The Summit Road, drive it or bike it or take a bus then walk it. Breathtaking views over Christchurch, the Southern Alps, Pegasus Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula - often all from the same vantage point. Don't miss it.
- Punting on the Avon, punts depart from cnr Worcester Street and Oxford Tce, make bookings at the i-Site visitors' center in Cathedral Square, +64 3 379 9629. Glide down the river in British style with a uniformed boatsman.
- Antigua Boatsheds, 2 Cambridge Terrace, +64 3 366 5885, . Boat hire from historic British boatsheds for a hands-on water experience. Daily 9:30AM-5:30PM summer, 9:30AM-4PM winter. $7/hr canoe, $12/half-hr rowboat, $14/half-hr paddle boat.
- Christchurch Casino, 30 Victoria Street, +64 3 365 9999, . Open 24 hours except Christmas, 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 Road (take Best Attractions Express Shuttle from Cathedral Square, $5 adult, $3 child, or 28 Lyttelton Bus from the Bus Exchange), +64 3 384 0700 (+64 3 384 0707 for restaurant reservations), . Daily 10AM-late. $18 adult, $8 child (summer), $17 adult, $8 child (winter). 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 dine at the restaurant. Three-course meal $60 including ride.
- Christchurch to Akaroa Walk, 24 New Regent Street, +64 3 962 3280, .
- Adventure Ride, Guided offroad motorcycle tours 1-10days 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. Bookings at www.adventureride.co.nz, or phone Grenville, +64 274 510 584 . New Zealand has the best scenery, this is the best way to see it!
Christchurch has the busiest program of annual festivals of an 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.
- The World Buskers Festival, . Runs for two weeks in January and usually features about 30 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 second-largest in the country and takes place every two years (alternating with the International festival in Wellington).
- 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, (cnr Colombo and Cashel), Tel: +64 3 379 7400, . The major upmarket department store. Adjacent to it is Cashel Mall with a mixture of boutiques cafes and bars. Closer to Cathedral Square you will mostly find duty-free and tourist shopping.
High Street is probably the most interesting in the central city, with an intoxicating mixture of historical buildings and spaces inhabited by young cutting edge local designers - clothes, art galleries, cafes & cake shops, furniture and architects.
Manchester Street (which is the nearest Christchurch gets to a red-light district) has an interesting collection of antique shops including the three floors of Smith's Bookshop.
The locals tend to inhabit the many suburban malls, the largest of which are Westfield Riccarton, Northlands and The Palms in Shirley (continual expansions see them leapfrogging in the rankings of the country's largest malls).
- Buy from a local supermarket, the yellow colored "Pak'n'Save" is probably cheapest if you are prepared to go for whatever brand they have a special on at the time.
- Fish'n'Chips are still the cheapest meal out. Ask for the battered fish rather than crumbed.
- Inner-city Dumpling's at the Guthrey Centre in Cashel Mall serves a meal worth of fried-rice for $2
- Gingko on Hereford St - chinese cusine from the szcheuan province. Very authentic.
- Perry's Cafe, 145 Madras Street (opposite Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology). M-F 8AM-5PM. Surprisingly good cafeteria-style food with touches of cafe class, gets crowded around lunchtime. $5-$7.
- New Zealand Salmon is good stuff. Yum. Smoked, very yum. There is a tiny little sushi place called Shinsengumi - The Sushi Revolution, 169c Wairakei rd, Brynwr. Generous "lunch boxes", quiet, clean cool, pleasant, nice people. Does lovely fresh salmon / avo sushi.
- Osakaya inside The Gloucester arcade (Gloucester Street) is a Japanese diner owned by a former backpacker. Most menu items are $6, come with miso soup and rice, and can be upgraded to a large serving. Portions are generous, food is honest and good, and you can have extra servings of rice as long as you don't leave any.
- Dux de Lux, corner Hereford & Montreal Sts, +64 3 366 6919, . Restaurant, bar and boutique brewery with vegetarian options and live bands four nights a week. Favorite hangout of the student set but can get a bit crowded and noisy. $15-$20.
- Main Street Cafe & Bar, 840 Colombo Street, +64 3 365 0421, . 10AM-late. Warm and friendly vegetarian cafe plus bar with regular live music. The cafe closes just as the bar is warming up so make sure you get in early in the evening if it's the delicious food you want. $15-$20.
- The Bodhi Tree, Colombo St in the city. NZ's only Burmese restaurant, it is fantastic.
- Strawberry Fare, Peterborough Street +64 3 365 4897  Carries an extensive menu of modern interpreted New Zealand dishes. Best known for its delicious deserts that lead some guests to cut out the main course.
- The Santorini, corner Gloucester Street & Cambridge Terrace, +64 3 379 6975, . T-Sa 6PM-late. A Greek restaurant with live music and dancing. $24.
- Sign of the Takahe, Dyers Pass and Summit Roads (top of the Port Hills), +64 3 332 4052. Daily 10AM-late. Formal dining in a big Gothic stone castle set on a hilltop. Hosted President Clinton's Christchurch visit for the APEC summit in 1999 and some scenes from Peter Jackson's film 'The Frighteners' were shot here. Reservation essential. $35.
- Rotherhams of Riccarton, 42 Rotherham Street (next to Riccarton Mall), +64 3 341 5142, . Tuesday - Saturday. Excellent food with great service. Bookings highly recommended, especially Thursday to Saturday.
- George's Swiss Coffee Shop in New Regent St
- Hummingbird Coffee of Victoria street roasts own coffee daily.
- C1 Cafe on High Street has a cult following, with excellent coffee (roasted at the back of the shop), bites and skiddies - aka chocolate milk!
Backpackers are safe, cheap and cheerful. Motels are a notch up. Low end around NZ$79 per night. Charlie B's has been a staple hostel for many years, and is reasonably central.
There are also many good quality B&Bs in Christchurch and surrounding district.
- Orpington House Bed and Breakfast, 3 Marion Place, Lincoln, Canterbury, Phone: +64 3 325 7790, .
 Stay safe
Christchurch has a problem with smog during the winter. Take care venturing out on calm frosty evenings if you have a breathing-related medical condition.
Basically it is one of the safest places I have been to. Main danger, "hoons", or "ricers" as the Americans would call them late Friday, Saturday nights.
An irritating level of petty theft, but violent crime reasonably rare.
 Get out
Christchurch is often the starting or finishing point for touring the whole South Island.
You might want to visit:
- Akaroa is beautiful, quaint and packed with good eateries. Try out the "Swim with the Dolphins in the sea" trip.
- Arthurs Pass for a bush getaway
- Banks Peninsula is literally on the edge of the city, and offers a quieter a beauty than the Alps, but quite lovely.
- Dunedin to cheer the Otago rugby team at Carisbrook, the House of Pain
- Hanmer Springs to soak in the hot pools
- Hokitika to catch the Wild Foods Festival
- Invercargill for Bluff oysters
- Kaikoura for crayfish and whale watching
- Nelson for sun, wine and art
- Picton to take the ferry to Wellington
- Queenstown for high-octane prepackaged adventure tourism
 Sister cities
Christchurch has seven sister cities around the world. They are:
- Australia Adelaide, Australia
- England Christchurch, Dorset, England
- People's Republic of China Lanzhou, Gansu province, China
- Japan Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan
- United States Seattle, Washington, United States of America
- South Korea Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- People's Republic of China Wuhan, Hubei province, China
 External links
- Christchurch City Council
- localeye the online gateway to Christchurch & Canterbury, New Zealand.
- Christchurch & Canterbury Official tourism guide & visitor information centre
- Christchurch.org.nz Official City Promotions website
- The Joint Christchurch radio show
- Christchurch and Canterbury region street map
- Christchurch street maps
- Christchurch and Canterbury Events
- Christchurch City Libraries
- Local area guide
- The Big City New Zealand Music Archive and Christchurch Events Poster Listing
- Christchurch Polytechnic Institue of Technology
- University of Canterbury
- Christchurch International Airport
- Christchurch Tramway
- Christchurch Casino
- The Arts Centre,Christchurch
Any material derived from Wikitravel articles is released under the Creative Commons Attribution share alike licence
 Further reading
Amodeo, Colin (ed.) (1998). Rescue, the Sumner community and its lifeboat service. Christchurch: Sumner Lifeboat Institution Incorporated.
Rice, Geoffrey (with assistance from Jean Sharfe)(1999) Christchurch changing : an illustrated history Christchurch: Canterbury University Press. ISBN 0-908812-53-1 (pbk.)da:Christchurch de:Christchurch es:Christchurch eo:Christchurch eu:Christchurch fa:کرایستچرچ fr:Christchurch he:קריסטצ'רץ' ko:크라이스트처치 id:Christchurch it:Christchurch mi:Ōtautahi nl:Christchurch (Nieuw-Zeeland) ja:クライストチャーチ no:Christchurch pl:Christchurch pt:Christchurch ro:Christchurch fi:Christchurch sv:Christchurch, Nya Zeeland zh:基督城