Christchurch in New Zealand – arguably the most popular travel destination in the Canterbury region
As the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch is arguably the most popular travel destination in the Canterbury region. Almost 342,000 people live in Christchurch. The city is very complex and, with its English character, is particularly popular with Central Europeans on study trips. There is much to discover in Christchurch, reflecting a long and eventful history. Equally fascinating is the present and the fact that the city is not intimidated by severe natural disasters and reinvents itself every day as a modern and much-visited hotspot.
Christchurch and its location
The local area of Christchurch extends at the southern end of Pegasus Bay. The Canterbury Plain extends to the Pacific Ocean. The New Zealand Alps are enthroned on the horizon and offer a wide range of activities. Trips to Christchurch can also be used to explore the area around the Waimakariri River and visit the Selwyn District. The nearby towns of Lincoln, West Melton and Kaiapoi are also worth visiting.
Traces of the Past – The History of Christchurch
People are said to have lived in this region of New Zealand as early as the 2nd century. The first inhabitants were the Maori. Until the early 19th century, other tribes followed with the Waitaha and the Ngai Tahu. The first European settlers arrived in December 1850. The land was measured and roads laid. In 1856 Christchurch received city rights. Thus, the popular travel destination is also the oldest city in New Zealand. The place name is the equivalent for an Oxford College. Travelers will be able to spot numerous neo-Gothic buildings by the English architect Benjamin Mountfort in the cityscape. A statue of Robert Falcon Scott is reminiscent of the explorer’s Antarctic expeditions that began in the port of Lyttelton.
Like a phoenix from the ashes – Christchurch after the earthquake
The balance of the natural disaster that shook the city on February 22, 2011 was devastating:
- 185 dead
- 80% downtown buildings destroyed
- many homeless
- lack of infrastructure
Today there is hardly anything left of the natural disaster of yore. A new Christchurch was born with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Modern buildings put the last ruins in the shade and many activists from the cultural sector have become active on the fallow land in order to provide new splashes of color in the cityscape. Street art painters, food caravans and mobile mini gardens are just a few examples of the busy work of the population. In the “Quake City” exhibition, vacationers and study travelers can get an authentic insight into the catastrophe using amateur videos.
Must – See Attractions in Christchurch
Christchurch Cathedral was the symbol of Christchurch. However, the stone construction did not withstand the 2011 earthquake. In its place, the Cardboard Cathedral designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban added a new splash of color to the city center. The church consists largely of painted cardboard tubes.
The inner city of Christchurch extends in the immediate vicinity of the old cathedral. Numerous buildings in the city center were demolished. Many shops, hotels and restaurants have already reopened. More new buildings are being built in many places.
The Arts Center is located in the old university district. A wide range of cultural activities awaits visitors here. New Zealand artists are represented here as well as European art and culture are offered a platform.
The Botanical Garden can be easily reached on foot from the city center. Not far from the complex is the Canterbury Museum. It is also very attractive to cross the park along the Avon on a boat.
Variety is guaranteed – leisure and relaxation in Christchurch
The center of the “garden city” is located on the Avon River. Many recreation rooms close to the center ensure that study trips can be approached in a relaxed manner and that there is always a quiet place to be found. In the picturesque hinterland of Canterbury there are excellent golf courses and the town is also known as New Zealand’s winter sports destination. The favorable winds on the Pacific coast take advantage of surfers. Bungee jumping and a ride in a hot air balloon provide that extra dose of thrill.