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Regional Information



Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is home to 381,800 residents,making it New Zealand's third most-populous urban area behind Auckland and Wellington.

The city was named by the Canterbury Association, which settled the surrounding province of Canterbury. Some early writers called the town Christ Church, but it was recorded as Christchurch in the minutes of the management committee of the association. Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand.

The river that flows through the centre of the city (its banks now largely forming an urban park) was named Avon at the request of the pioneering Deans brothers to commemorate the Scottish Avon, which rises in the Ayrshire hills near what was their grandfathers' farm and flows into the Clyde.

Known as the 'Garden City', Christchurch has many beautiful parks and gardens throughout the city.

Although some parts of Christchurch are still closed due to earthquake damage (mainly the CBD and some Eastern suburbs), most areas around the city are operating as normal and tourism businesses are open.

There are a number of attractions around Christchurch to visit, including:

  • Botanic Gardens
  • Canterbury Museum
  • International Antarctic Centre
  • Orana Wildlife Park
  • Willowbank Wildlife Park

Visitors to Christchurch can expect a high standard of cuisine wherever they go – restaurants and cafes make the most of the region's delicacies and local wines. Before or after lunch, take a leisurely journey down the Avon River in a punt.

Known internationally for its award winning gardens, Christchurch is also a place for events and festivals. Whatever the season, you'll find a non-stop programme of entertainment with events like the Festival of Romance, the International Buskers Festival, Winter carnival, and Showtime Canterbury.

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