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Māori oral history and archaeological evidence suggests that people first inhabited the Canterbury area about a thousand years ago. These first inhabitants were moa-hunting tribes and this migration continued until about 1830. The first European landed in Canterbury in 1815 and Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it the oldest city in New Zealand. Many of the city's original Gothic buildings dated from this period. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and one of the world’s most unique destinations. Bordered by the Port Hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps as a majestic backdrop, allowing for a huge array of experiences all within just a few hours’ drive. Known traditionally as “The Garden City”, the serene Avon River flows through the centre of the city (its banks now largely forming an urban park), and through the award winning Christchurch Botanic Gardens which are 150 years old this year. The gardens feature one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand, and are home to one of Christchurch’s most iconic activities, Punting on the Avon. More recently however, Christchurch has been rebuilding and revitalizing itself following the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and making way for some of the most innovative and creative projects in the world. With a huge emphasis on sustainable and envionmental issues, Christchurch is embracing it’s new future, and is excited about the possibilities of having a chance to reinvent itself with modern buildings and bright urban events. This is a chance to visit a city on the brink of reimagining itself with world class technology and innovation alongside history and heritage. It is important not to forget about Christchurch’s backyard of Canterbury. You can ski at a world-class alpine resort, play golf, bungy jump, raft, mountain bike, hot-air balloon, wind surf, whale watch and visit internationally-acclaimed wineries and gardens – all within a short drive of the city. And that is just the beginning!
New Zealand’s garden city, and capital of the South Island, acts as the perfect gateway to discovering some of the country’s most spectacular scenery and National Parks. There is also plenty to explore in the city itself, with acres of parks and gardens, stunning Gothic architecture and a wide choice of restaurants and bars.
From the Pacific Ocean, ancient volcanic peninsula and wondrous marine life, across patchwork plains, home to adrenalin pumping activities, lush vineyards and braided rivers rising to pristine glacial lakes and the majestic Southern Alps presided over by Aoraki / Mount Cook. You will find something special in Canterbury. Most destinations are possible in a day trip from Christchurch but Canterbury is best enjoyed as a multi-day trip, with time spent in each unique destination.
Once known mainly for its superb lamb, Canterbury and Christchurch are now gaining a reputation for a wide range of food and wine. Local meat produce includes venison, emu and ostrich. There is fresh seafood readily available including scallops, crayfish and Mount Cook Salmon, all which are recommended. Canterbury is also a large wine producing region, specialising in Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
There is no shortage of great cafés in Christchurch and the inner city is bustling with good options where to have relaxing breaks with a cup of coffee or tea. Many new outlets have emerged alongside old favourites, many of which are used as social hubs for the Christchurch locals.
Visitors to this evolving city are spoiled for choice! From refurbished shipping containers to casino and music venues, Christchurch has a great range of bars and an exciting nightlife. Enjoy a quite cocktail or dance the night away, you will for sure find your favourite place in the CBD or in the surrounding suburbs.
Pedestrianised streets, outdoor markets and indoor shopping malls mean Christchurch is an ideal shopping destination, where you can find everything from traditional New Zealand arts and crafts to the latest designer fashions. Innovative and modern shopping hubs such as Re:Start, The Tannery and The Colombo are Christchuch's main shopping centres. The cobbled street of New Regent is also home to a great mix of boutique shops. Individual shopping highlights include Ballantyne’s Department Store at Re:Start Mall. This historic store dates from 1854, and is still a popular one-stop shopping destination for designer fashions and luxury goods. The Artisan Market is a weekly highlight held every Sunday at Riccarton Bush, you'll find a range of jewellery, arts, crafts and culinary delights. The large, indoor shopping malls are located in the city suburbs, and are all connected with the Orbiter and Metro bus services. Westfield Mall, in Riccarton, is the largest mall in the South Island with 200 stores, and Merivale Mall is home to a range of excellent boutique shops with high-quality jewellery and gifts.
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