After Auckland in New Zealand, Christchurch is the largest city and is the starting point for touring the famous South Island. For nature lovers, this is one of the dream destinations with the growing number of trees throughout the city as well as suburbs rendering it as the ‘Garden City’. On the other hand, for the fans of festivals, it is no less than a Festival City when summer after Christmas brings in a lot of party moments. And yes, the architectural as well as the cultural buffs will just love to explore the English heritage well reflected in the ancient buildings.
But before planning a trip to explore the Christchurch attractions, you should just know about the best time to travel and how to go about. Well, the best time is any time, but more preferable is winter season with the bearable temperatures above 10 degree Celsius. But one must also not forget the recent earthquakes of 2010 as well as 2011 for avoiding the visit to the highly suspected areas. Right now the city is in the process to rise from the damaging effects of the 2011 shake. But, I am sure that will come out of it in some couple of days. As the city boasts a grid layout and a flat surface, it is recommended getting around by bicycles or car.
One of the main Christchurch attractions is the 107-year-old Christchurch Cathedral – the most popular landmark of the city in the heart of downtown. The main activity here is to climb the bell tower after which you can restore your energy via the food stalls that seem to always welcome you.
New Zealand is the land of Maoris and to explore their great heritage as well as culture, come at the Canterbury Museum with the entire family. Nestled on the Rolleston Avenue near the Botanic Gardens, this is the home of Maori, colonial, and natural history collections. Kids are surely going to be interested in the Antarctic exploration display as well as in Discovery children’s section. This one is a free highlight except for the Discovery children zone that demands $2.
One of the most appealing Christchurch attractions is the last forest remains, Riccarton Bush that is nestled on the Canterbury plains accessible in just five minutes from the downtown via bus, car, or bicycle. If you do not have that much time to explore the native forest of the country, this is the best place to be where the round trail takes you from under the rising kahikatea trees as well as along the small ferns, climbers, trees, water flows, and shrubs. And yes, before you leave, do also explore the oldest house of the city nearby – the Dean’s Cottage that was made in 1843.
Not many of us know that an exciting attraction is at the airport itself – International Antarctic Centre that offers an excellent Antarctic experience via its vast exhibits, penguins, polar weather, science missions, and Hagglund All-Terrain Vehicle trip for $20. The admission fee excluding the trip money is $55 per adult and $36 per child. From the airport, if you wish, you can directly drive for 10 minutes to the Orana Wildlife Park – the country’s largest wildlife sanctuary housing the extinct animals of the planet. Less of cages and fences and more of natural habitats and boundaries seem to entertain one and all for $14 per adult and $6 per child. Herein, do not miss the Lion Encounter that is only for 20 people per day who are over 1.4 m in height.
Food is reasonably offered by the Ginko (Chinese), Perry’s Café, and Osaka (Japanese), while accommodations are cheap at All Seasons and Hotel SO for $69.