The first thing you'll notice about Christchurch is how green it is. It is a large flat city that is filled with parks, trees and an abundance of nature. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the third largest in New Zealand. With a population of nearly 400,000 it has everything you need combined with a relaxed pace of life. Dry hot summers mean it is the perfect city to live in if you like the outdoors and the cold sometimes snowy winters mean that you have a great opportunity to enjoy winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding.
Christchurch's reputation for having a world class education system, great healthcare and a safe environment make it a popular destination for families. Although it suffered a large earthquake in 2011 it has largely recovered and the tragedy has created a greater sense of community in the city. It has also inspired the birth of the popular Re-start container mall shopping centre. Re-start is the go to place for shopping and eating in Christchurch. In the weekend you will also find food trucks and a wonderful market there that you can explore.
If you want to go exploring in the weekend you must try out some of the amazing farmers markets that surround Christchurch. As well as the large Riccarton market in the city, if you are willing to travel a little further there are some brilliant authentic markets a short drive away, at Lyttelton, Waipara Valley and Akaroa.
Akaroa is a must see when staying in Christchurch. An easy 90 minute drive from central Christchurch it is New Zealand’s only French settlement. Throbbing with culture and history it's a must do for any trip to Christchurch. Head there to enjoy a spot of French cuisine before enjoying a stroll along the harbor. You might even spot a penguin or dolphin as they are often found swimming in the picturesque harbor.
Christchurch is a large flat city, this combined with its hot dry summer weather, means it has become a popular city for cyclists. Wide open roads mean cycling is a safe fun way to explore. If you have young children you might enjoy a bike ride around Christchurch’s beautiful botanic gardens in Hagley park or spend the day picnicing and exploring. There are solar powered "Catepillars" that you can take a tour on or visit the playground and paddling pool to cool down on a hot summer afternoon.
A must do if you have children is the Margaret Mahy family playground. It is unlike any other playground in New Zealand and is fun for any age. Located in the center of the city it has sand play, water canons, flying foxes, climbing walls and a giant 4 meter wide slide. The best part is that it is free!!!
A visit to this South Island hub is a must. Explore, relax and enjoy all that Christchurch has to offer.