Christchurch, New Zealand


South Island
North Island


Our trip to New Zealand started in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island and the seat of the Canterbury Region. Christchurch is the hub of an agricultural and wine-growing region and a gateway city for Antarctic exploration. Since our visit, we have been saddened by seeing Christchurch  afflicted with two destructive earthquakes and a terrorist attack.

The Greater Christchurch area covers the Banks Peninsula southeast of Christchurch and the lowland areas of the Waimakariri and Selywn district, in a 50 km radius of central Christchurch.

Cathedral Square is the physical and symbolic hub of Christchurch, a  city of 380,000. Many festivals take place in this square including the Buskers' festival in January. Sadly, this area has not fully recovered from the damage of the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Now closed due to earthquake damage, the Arts Center is in the original site of Canterbury University College. We found most interesting the preserved lab and classroom of Ernest Rutherford, the Nobel prize winning discoverer of the atomic nucleus.

The Christchurch Art Gallery,Te Puna o Waiwhetu,  reopened in 2015. It features rotating exhibits and 5000 items of artistic and historic significance.

Canterbury Museum includes colonial, Māori and natural history sections, Antarctic exploration display, and visiting exhibitions.

Canterbury Museum also features dioramas of the various ecosystems of New Zealand.


Canterbury is rich with examples of Victorian architecture, particularly the Gothic Revival style.

Punting on the River Avon, verdant gardens and Victorian architecture give Christchurch a distinct "Merry Old England" flavour.

Within 20 minutes of Christchurch are a number of beaches which Canterburnians frequent on weekends and holidays. This is New Brighton Beach on the West Coast.

Akaroa is an attractive harbour situated in a volcanic crater within Banks Peninsula. It was historically a French fishing settlement, but now a center for dolphin and penguin viewing.

Robert Scott led two expeditions to the South Pole, dying in Antarctica in 1912.

Horatio Nelson was commander of naval victories in the Napoleonic wars.

At Banks Peninsula War Memorial people gather on April 25 on Anzac Day to honour Australian and New Zealanders lost in wars. 

There are many architectural tributes to the significant people and events in New Zealand history. These include the Bridge of Remembrance, the New Zealand World Peace Bell, and tributes to Captain James Cook, William Moorhouse,John Robert Godley, Henry James Nicholas and Queen Victoria.

Birdlings Flat pebble beach is rich in gemstones, particularly agates which are collected for making jewellery.

In Northern Otago, are the limestone concretions called the Moeraki Boulders. According to Māori legend they are the flotsam of an ancient wrecked canoe that formed the South Island of New Zealand.

The beaches near Oamaru and Timarua are home to colonies of seals, blue penguins and the rare yellow-eyed penguins.

Dunedin, at the head of the Otago Harbour, is known for its Scottish and Māori heritage, its Victorian and Edwardian architecture and its vibrant student population. (Mr Thinktank, Wikimedia Commons)

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This site was last updated 01/13/21