Christchurch is the biggest city on the South Island of New Zealand with a lot of history and personality. It is a must do for anyone looking to learn a little more about New Zealand and to witness the affects a natural disaster can have on a modern day city.
Since the earthquakes in 2010/11 the city has slowly began rebuilding. New shops, bar and restaurants are popping up all over the place, however one the most amazing things to happen since the disaster is how the city has transformed thanks to some very talented street artists. The city has been turned in one big colourful mural and has become a world centre for street art. Most of the city maps that you’ll find around town or in your hotel will include a tour of these artworks, otherwise follow this link to a map showcasing all the murals. http://christchurchstreetart.co.nz . If you want to enhance your experience even more then make sure you jump onboard one of the vintage trams for a tour of the city. These trams are very cool and have been operating electronically in Christchurch since the early 19th century.
There are also lots of other free things to do around the city that are a great way to spend an afternoon. Highlights include the Canterbury Museum and the Christchurch Art gallery. The Museum is a great way to learn about the Māori culture and English settlement in Christchurch. See our detailed guide about the Museum here. The Canterbury is also located next to the Botanical Gardens which is also a beautiful place to walk around and escape the dust and sound of drills. If you have a car or willing to pay for a taxi then there is also the Orana Wildlife Park and the International Antartica Centre located just outside of town to explore.
There is also some great places to shop and eat around the CBD including New Regent Street. Full of character and cute little cafes and shops, this pedestrian mall is one of the top tourist attractions in town. The Spanish Mission architecture is really funky and is a great spot to grab a coffee. Otherwise head over the Container Mall, formerly known as Re:START; a temporary shopping centre built from shipping containers. This modern centre boast some quirky independent shops and food outlets in a really cool setting. The Bridge of Remembrance is also located nearby which is another must see if you are in Christchurch. It was built to honour the soldiers who died at war and is one of the most beautiful and impressive memorials we’ve ever seen.
We stayed in Christchurch for three nights when we first arrived in NZ and was the perfect place to learn about the country we plan on calling home for the foreseeable future. Aside from the obvious history of the city and deadly earthquakes, the city boasts a lot of spirit and pride. There is a great mix of old and modern architecture and lots of free activities.
We stayed at Breakfree on Cashel Street just minutes away from the central CBD and was the perfect budget location to explore this city on foot.