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Overview to Christchurch: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

Downtown Christchurch

The largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch is a very civilized sort of place. Positioned on the scenic Avon River, it has a decidedly aristocratic, English feel to it – a far cry from the slightly less idyllic charms of the country’s other major metropolises.

Cathedral Square, marked out by the attractive spire of Christchurch Cathedral, sits at the very center. The cathedral itself is a grand 19th century affair; a proud symbol of the city itself and one of its main attractions.

Gardens and green spaces are dotted throughout the city. The Botanic Gardens take up a large swathe of the west of the city. Beyond that, Hagley Park has a range of sports fields, cycling tracks and woodlands.

Like the English university towns of Oxford and Cambridge, you can hire a punt and float up and down the river. For the less adventurous (or seaworthy), walks along its banks allow a glimpse of the city at its most picturesque.

The Christchurch Art Gallery and the Center of Contemporary Art both have excellent collections of homegrown and international talent. Another cultural attraction well worth a visit is the National Marae, which provides plenty of fascinating insights into Maori culture.

The shopping on Colombo Street is excellent while the Arts Center is an eclectic assortment of boutiques and food and clothing stalls. The latter also has a number of pleasant cafés and is home to an excellent weekend market.

Much of the city’s nightlife is concentrated around Manchester Street and Oxford Terrace. ‘The Strip’, as it’s known, is lined with some of the best restaurants which showcase top quality produce – one of the many things for which New Zealand is rightly famous!

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