Sunday 31 December 2017

NEW ZEALAND: Visit Christchurch And Swim With Dolphins In The Sea

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand with a population over 350,000, and the third largest city in New Zealand after Auckland and Wellington.

It is on the edge of the Canterbury plains and has direct flights to its efficient international airport.

Christchurch was established in 1850 by Anglican English settlers and this heritage shows in its fine older buildings, especially the neo-gothic buildings in the cultural precinct along Worcester Boulevard and Rolleston Ave.

The River Avon meanders through the central city and disrupts the otherwise regular rectangular layout of the city streets.

Christchurch is known as the Garden City, a well-deserved name. Looking from a few floors up, one is struck by the number of trees that grow like a forest throughout the suburbs.

The central business district is undergoing a major rebuild after earthquakes. All areas are now accessible and the city remains a major gateway to the rest of the South Island.

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 396,700 residents, making it New Zealand's third most-populous city behind Auckland and Wellington.

The Avon River flows through the centre of the city, with an urban park located along its banks.

At the request of the Deans brothers—whose farm was the earliest settlement in the area—the river was named after the River Avon in Scotland, which rises in the Ayrshire hills near to where their grandfather's farm was located.

Archaeological evidence has indicated that the Christchurch area was first settled by humans about 1250. Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand.

The Canterbury Association, which settled the Canterbury Plains, named the city after Christ Church, Oxford. The new settlement was laid out in a grid pattern centred on Cathedral Square.

During the 19th century there were few barriers to the rapid growth of the urban area, except for the Pacific to the east and the Port Hills to the south.

Agriculture is the historic mainstay of Christchurch's economy. The early presence of the University of Canterbury and the heritage of the city's academic institutions in association with local businesses has fostered a number of technology-based industries.

The city suffered a series of earthquakes between September 2010 and early 2012, with the most destructive of them occurring at 12.51 p.m. on Tuesday, 22 February 2011, in which 185 people were killed and thousands of buildings across the city collapsed or suffered severe damage.

By late 2013, 1,500 buildings in the city had been demolished, leading to an ongoing recovery and rebuilding project.

The name of Christchurch was agreed on at the first meeting of the Canterbury Association on 27 March 1848. It was suggested by founder John Robert Godley, whose alma mater was Christ Church, Oxford.

The Māori name Otautahi or the place of Tautahi was adopted in the 1930, originally it was the name of a specific site by the Avon River near present-day Kilmore Street.

The site was a seasonal dwelling of Ngai Tahu chief Te Potiki Tautahi, whose main home was Port Levy on Banks Peninsula. Prior to that the Ngai Tahu generally referred to the Christchurch area as Karaitiana, a transliteration of the English word Christian.

Archaeological evidence found in a cave at Redcliffs in 1876 has indicated that the Christchurch area was first settled by moa-hunting tribes about 1250 CE.

These first inhabitants were thought to have been followed by the Waitaha tribe, who are said to have migrated from the East coast of the North Island in the 16th century. Following tribal warfare, the Waitaha meaning made of three peoples were dispossessed by the Ngati Mamoe tribe.

They were in turn subjugated by the Ngai Tahu tribe, who remained in control until the arrival of European settlers.

Following the purchase of land at Putaringamotu by the Weller brothers, whalers of Otago and Sydney, a party of European settlers led by Herriott and McGillivray established themselves in what is now Christchurch, early in 1840.

Their abandoned holdings were taken over by the Deans brothers in 1843 who stayed. The First Four Ships were chartered by the Canterbury Association and brought the first 792 of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton Harbour.

These sailing vessels were the Randolph, Charlotte Jane, Sir George Seymour, and Cressy. The Charlotte Jane was the first to arrive on 16 December 1850. The Canterbury Pilgrims had aspirations of building a city around a cathedral and college, on the model of Christ Church in Oxford.

Christchurch has a history of involvement in Antarctic exploration–both Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton used the port of Lyttelton as a departure point for expeditions, and in the central city there is a statue of Scott sculpted by his widow, Kathleen Scott.

Within the city, the Canterbury Museum preserves and exhibits many historic artefacts and stories of Antarctic exploration.

On Saturday 4 September 2010, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Christchurch and the central Canterbury region at 4:35 am. Located near Darfield, west of the city at a depth of 10 kilometres, it caused widespread damage to the city and minor injuries, but no direct fatalities.

Nearly six months later on Tuesday 22 February 2011, a second earthquake measuring magnitude 6.3 struck the city at 12:51 pm. It was located closer to the city, near Lyttelton at a depth of 5 km (3 mi).

Although lower on the moment magnitude scale than the previous earthquake, the intensity and violence of the ground shaking was measured to be IX or Violent, among the strongest ever recorded globally in an urban area and in total 185 people were killed.

People from more than 20 countries were among the victims. The city's iconic ChristChurch Cathedral was severely damaged and lost its spire.

The collapse of the CTV Building resulted in the majority of fatalities. Widespread damage across Christchurch resulted in loss of homes, major buildings and infrastructure.

Significant liquefaction affected the eastern suburbs, and the total cost to insurers of rebuilding has been estimated at NZ$20–30 billion.

On 13 June 2011 Christchurch was hit by two more large aftershocks. A magnitude 5.6 quake at a depth of 9 km hit at 1:00 pm in the general location of Sumner, Christchurch.

This was followed by another quake at magnitude 6.3 with a depth of 6 km at 2:20 pm again in the general location of Sumner, Christchurch. There were no fatalities though it resulted in further liquefaction and building damage.

There were further earthquakes on 23 December 2011; the first, of magnitude 5.8 according to the US Geological Survey, 26 km north-east of the city at a depth of 4.7 km, at 13:58, followed by several aftershocks and another earthquake of magnitude 6.0 and similar location 80 minutes later, with more aftershocks expected.

St John Ambulance reported after the two quakes that there were minor injuries at homes and businesses but no serious injuries and few indications of building collapses at the time.

Christchurch Airport was briefly closed. There were power and water outages at New Brighton and severe damage to the Parklands region, including roads and footpaths.

Christchurch was again rattled awake on 2 January 2012; the first; a magnitude 5.1 struck at 01:27 followed five minutes later by a magnitude 4.2 aftershock; a second larger earthquake struck at 05:45 with a magnitude of 5.5.

This caused power outages to the eastern suburbs of Parklands, New Brighton, Shirley, Dallington, Burwood, Spencerville and Richmond; this affected around 10,000 homes.

4,558 earthquakes were recorded in the Canterbury region above a magnitude 3.0, from 4 September 2010 to 3 September 2014.

Following the earthquakes over 1500 buildings in the city had been demolished or partly demolished by September 2013.

The city has been experiencing rapid growth following the earthquakes, with the central city rebuild, which is outlined in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, starting to ramp up.

Massive growth in the residential sector, with around 50,000 new houses expected to be constructed in the Greater Christchurch area by 2028, as outlined in the Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP).

On 13 February 2017, two bush fires started on the Port Hills. These merged over the next two days and the single very large wild fire extended down both sides of the Port Hill almost reaching Governors Bay in the south-west, and the Westmorland, Kennedys Bush, and Dyers Pass Road almost down to the Sign of the Takahe.

Eleven houses were destroyed by fire, over one thousand residents were evacuated from their homes, and over 2,076 hectares (5,130 acres) of land has been burned.

Christchurch lies in Canterbury, near the centre of the east coast of the South Island, east of the Canterbury Plains. It is located near the southern end of Pegasus Bay, and is bounded to the east by the Pacific Ocean coast and the estuary of the Avon and Heathcote Rivers.

To the south and south-east the urban portion of the city is limited by the volcanic slopes of the Port Hills separating it from Banks Peninsula. To the north the city is bounded by the braided Waimakariri River.

Christchurch is one of only eight pairs of cities in the world that have near-exact antipodal cities. Half of these antipodal pairs are in New Zealand and Spain/Morocco–with A Coruña, Spain as Christchurch's antipode.

Christchurch is one of a group of only four cities in the world to have been carefully planned following the same layout of a central city square, four complementing city squares surrounding it and a parklands area that embrace the city centre.

The first city built with this pattern was Philadelphia. Later came Savannah and Adelaide, before Christchurch.

Christchurch has one of the highest-quality water supplies in the world, with its water rated among the purest and cleanest in the world.

Untreated, naturally filtered water is sourced, via more than 50 pumping stations surrounding the city, from aquifers emanating from the foothills of the Southern Alps.

At the city's centre is Cathedral Square, surrounding the now-earthquake-damaged – landmark Anglican cathedral, Christ Church.

The area around this square and within the Four Avenues of Christchurch namely Bealey Avenue, Fitzgerald Avenue, Moorhouse Avenue and Deans Avenue is considered to be the central business district (CBD) of the city.

The central city also has a number of residential areas, including Inner City East, Inner City West, Avon Loop, Moa Neighbourhood and Victoria, but many of the residential buildings in the CBD were demolished following the February 2011 earthquakes.

Cathedral Square is located at the crossing of two major central streets, Colombo Street and Worcester Street.

Cathedral Square, the heart of the city, hosted attractions such as the Wizard of New Zealand, Ian Brackenbury Channell, and evangelist Ray Comfort, regular market days, free standing food and coffee carts, an aquarium, pubs and restaurants and the city's chief tourist information centre.

It is expected that activities in Cathedral Square will increase as the rebuild progresses. The Wizard of New Zealand now operates from New Regent Street.

The central city also includes the pedestrianised sections of Cashel and High streets commonly known pre-earthquakes as City Mall. Refurbished in 2008/09 the mall featured especially designed seating, flower and garden boxes, more trees, paving, and an extension to the central city tram route.

The tram route extension was nearly complete when the February 2011 earthquake struck. Following the earthquakes, most buildings in Cashel Mall were demolished. A shopping area called Re:START opened on Cashel Street adjacent to Ballantyne's Department Store in October 2011.

The Re:START mall is made of colourful shipping containers that have been converted to house retail stores. The Bridge of Remembrance commemorating war dead stands at the western end of the mall, was repaired rededicated on Anzac Day, Monday 25 April 2016.

The Cultural Precinct provided a backdrop to a vibrant scene of ever-changing arts, cultural, and heritage attractions within an area of less than one square kilometre. The Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum and the Art Gallery are located in the Cultural Precinct.

The majority of the activities were free and a printable map was provided. There areas are slowly being reopened follow earthquake repair and strengthening work.

In 2010, the Christchurch City Council released - A City For People Action Plan - a programme of work through to 2022 to improve public spaces within the central city to entice more inner city residents and visitors.

A primary action was to reduce the impact of motorised private vehicles and increase the comfort of pedestrians and cyclists. The plan was based on a report prepared for the council by renowned Danish design firm Gehl Architects.

Since the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake Wellington architect Ian Athfield has been selected to re-plan, although many varied suggestions have been promoted for rebuilding the central city.

The Central City, which was fully closed off following 22 February earthquake, opened in stages and was fully reopened in June 2013. There are still some streets closed off due to earthquake damage, infrastructure repair work, and damaged buildings.

The area administered by the Christchurch City Council has a population of 381,500 making it the second-largest in New Zealand, and the largest city in the South Island.

The Christchurch urban area at 396,700 is the third-largest in the country by population, after Auckland and Wellington. The urban area differs from the city by including Kaiapoi in the Waimakariri District and Prebbleton in the Selwyn District, while excluding most of the Banks Peninsula.

Approximately 62% of the South Island's Pacific Islander community reside in Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury region, equalling approximately 11,500 people. People of Samoan descent comprise about half the Pacific Islander population.

There are also smaller communities of Cook Islanders, Fijians, Niueans, Tokelauans and Tongans residing in the city.

The agricultural industry has always been the economic core of Christchurch. The city has long had industry based on the surrounding farming country, part of the original package New Zealand was sold to immigrants as.

PGG Wrightson, New Zealand's leading agribusiness, is based in Christchurch. Its local roots go back to Pyne Gould Guinness, an old stock and station agency serving the South Island.

Other agribusinesses in Christchurch have included malting, seed development and dressing, wool and meat processing, and small biotechnology operations using by-products from meat works.

Dairying has grown strongly in the surrounding areas with high world prices for milk products and the use of irrigation to lift grass growth on dry land. With its higher labour use this has helped stop declines in rural population.

Many cropping and sheep farms have been converted to dairying. Conversions have been by agribusiness companies as well as by farmers, many of whom have moved south from North Island dairying strongholds such as Taranaki and the Waikato.

Cropping has always been important in the surrounding countryside. Wheat and barley and various strains of clover and other grasses for seed exporting have been the main crops.

These have all created processing businesses in Christchurch. In recent years, regional agriculture has diversified, with a thriving wine industry springing up at Waipara, and beginnings of new horticulture industries such as olive production and processing.

Deer farming has led to new processing using antlers for Asian medicine and aphrodisiacs. The high quality local wine in particular has increased the appeal of Canterbury and Christchurch to tourists.

Christchurch is the second largest manufacturing centre in New Zealand behind Auckland, the sector being the second largest contributor to the local economy, with firms such as Anderson's making steel work for bridges, tunnels, and hydro-electric dams in the early days of infrastructure work.

Now manufacturing is mainly of light products and the key market is Australia, with firms such as those pioneered by the Stewart family among the larger employers.

Before clothing manufacture largely moved to Asia, Christchurch was the centre of the New Zealand clothing industry, with firms such as LWR Industries. The firms that remain mostly design and market, and manufacture in Asia.

The city also had five footwear manufacturers, but these have been replaced by imports.

In the last few decades, technology-based industries have sprung up in Christchurch. Angus Tait founded Tait Electronics, a mobile-radio manufacturer, and other firms spun off from this, such as Dennis Chapman's Swichtec.

In software, Cantabrian Gil Simpson founded a company that made LINC and Jade programming languages and a management buyout spawned local firm Wynyard Group.

There have also been spin-offs from the electrical department of the University of Canterbury engineering school. These included Pulse Data, which became Human Ware, making reading devices and computers for blind people and those with limited vision and CES Communications encryption.

The Pulse Data founders had moved from the Canterbury University engineering school to work for Wormald Inc. when they set up Pulse Data through a Management buyout of their division.

In recent times, the University of Canterbury engineering school and computer science department play an important role in supplying staff and research for the technology industries, and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology provides a flow of trained technicians and engineers.

Locally and nationally, the IT sector is known not for its size,the third largest in New Zealand, but for producing innovative and entrepreneurial solutions, products and concepts.

Tourism is also a significant factor of the local economy. The close proximity of the ski fields and other attractions of the Southern Alps, and hotels, a casino, and an airport that meet international standards make Christchurch a stopover destination for many tourists.

The city is popular with Japanese tourists, with signage around Cathedral Square in Japanese.

The International Antarctic Centre provides both base facilities and a museum and visitor centre focused upon current Antarctic activities.

The United States Navy and latterly the United States Air National Guard, augmented by the New Zealand and Australian air forces, use Christchurch Airport as take-off for the main supply route to McMurdo and Scott Bases in Antarctica.

The Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) in Christchurch, had more than 140,000 pieces of extreme cold weather (ECW) gear for issue to nearly 2,000 US Antarctic Program (USAP) participants in the 2007–08 season.

Christchurch is served by Christchurch International Airport and by buses,local and long-distance and trains. The local bus service, known as Metro, is provided by Environment Canterbury. The car, however, remains the dominant form of transport in the city, as with the rest of New Zealand.

Christchurch has an extensive bus network with bus routes serving most areas of the city and satellite towns. Nearly all bus routes travelled through the central city Bus Exchange before the earthquake.

Due to reduced passenger numbers since the earthquakes, especially in the central city, the bus network was reorganised to direct more localised services to hubs, such as major shopping centres, where they connect to the central station via core bus routes.

Before the 2011 earthquakes, in addition to normal bus services, Christchurch also had a pioneering zero-fare hybrid bus service, the Shuttle, in the inner city. The service has been suspended following the earthquakes and it is unclear whether it will resume again in the future.

Bus services are also available leaving Christchurch, daily passenger bus services operates between Dunedin and Christchurch on the State Highway 1.

Historically, Christchurch has been known as New Zealand's cycling city and currently still attracts about 7% of commuters cycling. The central city has very flat terrain and the Christchurch City Council has established a network of cycle lanes and paths, such as the Railway Cycleway.

Post-quake public consultation on rebuilding the city expressed a strong desire for a more sustainable transport system, particularly greater use of cycling again, and this has been reflected in the Council's strategic transport plan.

Christchurch International Airport is a major transit airport for international and domestic travellers.

There are international services to and from Australia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, Singapore, Thailand and United Arab Emirates.

There are frequent daily flights to and from most New Zealand airports mainly domestic, with direct flights to and from Auckland, Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson, Queenstown, Rotorua, Wellington and many more destinations.

Domestic airlines that serve Christchurch are Air New Zealand, and Jetstar Airways.

Flights to and from McMurdo Station in Antarctica use the airport. This is one of the few international airports in the world where military and civilian aircraft regularly share the same runways.

There is a regular public bus service to the city centre. The 20-30 minute trip costs $8 when paying in cash and $2.50 when paying with a Metrocard and the buses operate half-hourly during the week and at least hourly on weekends.

Buses to and from stops just outside the airport cost $3.50 when paying in cash so these are an easy way to save money at the expense of a short walk. A door to door shuttle bus service to all parts of Christchurch is available for about $25 for the first person, $4 per subsequent person.

Taxi stands about $45 to the city centre and rental car parks are also close to the terminal building.

The Christchurch City Council has committed NZ$68.5 million to build a network of modern cycleways over the next five years.

There is a functioning Christchurch tramway system in Christchurch, but as a tourist attraction; its loop is restricted to a circuit of the central city.

The trams were originally introduced in 1905 as a form of public transport, and ceased operating in 1954, but returned to the inner city as a tourist attraction in 1995.

Following the February 2011 earthquake, the system was damaged and within the cordoned off Red Zone of the central city.

The tramway reopened in November 2013 on a limited route, with plans to extend the tram route in 2014, first to reopen the complete pre-earthquake circuit, and then to open the extension travelling through the Re:Start Mall and High Street, which was being constructed when the 2011 earthquake struck.

There is a cable car system called the Christchurch Gondola which operates as a tourist attraction, providing transport from the Heathcote Valley to the top of Mount Cavendish in the city's south-east.

Rail services, both long-distance and commuter, used to focus on the former railway station on Moorhouse avenue. Commuter trains were progressively cancelled in the 1960s and 1970s. The last such service, between Christchurch and Rangiora, ceased in 1976.

After the reduction in services a new Christchurch railway station was established at Addington Junction.

The Main North Line railway travels northwards via Kaikoura to Picton and is served by the TranzCoastal passenger train, while the Main South Line heads to Invercargill via Dunedin and was used by the Southerner until its cancellation in 2002.

The most famous train to depart Christchurch is the TranzAlpine, which travels along the Main South Line to Rolleston and then turns onto the Midland Line, passes through the Southern Alps via the Otira Tunnel, and terminates in Greymouth on the West Coast.

This trip is often regarded as one of the ten great train journeys in the world for the amazing scenery through which it passes. The TranzAlpine service is primarily a tourist service and carries no significant commuter traffic.

The Christchurch International Airport serves as the major base for the New Zealand, Italian and United States Antarctic programs. Airport parking is available near the Airport.

State Highway One passes around the western edge of the city, past the airport. This is the main north/south arterial road in New Zealand. State Highway 73 goes to the west, over Arthur's Pass and on to the west coast. From SH73 you can also access Mount Hutt and other regional skifields.

There are daily bus services north to and from Picton, south to and from Dunedin and west to and from Queenstown, the West Coast at Greymouth and Hokitika and Mt Cook.

InterCity provide multiple daily connections to destinations throughout the South Island. Tickets start from $1 + booking fee and can be purchased online, over the phone or throughout the country at numerous agents including the i-site network.

Sightseeing tour operator GreatSights New Zealand has daily sightseeing tours to Mt Cook, Queenstown, and around the Christchurch and Canterbury region.

There are also a number of smaller shuttle operators who operate from Christchurch., a budget no frills bus operator.Atomic Shuttles a local operator with services from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass.

West Coast Shuttle Departs from the central Bus Station Platform 'L' Litchfield St at 2.15pm with services to Greymouth via Arthur's pass,pick up at Christchurch airport 2.45. Arrive Arthur's Pass 4.45 and Greymouth 6.15.

The TranzAlpine can take you between Christchurch and Greymouth, from the east coast of New Zealand the west. This scenic train journey can be done as a day trip. The train departs from Christchurch daily at 08:15.

During your trip you’ll see the the fields of the Canterbury Plains, followed by spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. The train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth.

The railway station is in Addington adjacent to the large Tower Junction shopping centre and has limited facilities.

Christchurch is mostly flat, so many people get around on bicycles. Bicycle lanes have been added to many streets to promote cycling.

Navigation by car or bicycle is generally simple due to the grid layout, but watch out for one-way streets and bus-and-taxi-only intersections in the central city. Parking in the city uses a pay and display system.

You can pay with coins, credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Amex) or with a mobile phone text message the latter two attract a 50c surcharge, then display the ticket with the expiry time visible on the curbside dash.

Public bus services, cover the whole city and the areas of interest for a visitor that may lie outside the central city, such as Sumner and New Brighton Beaches, Lyttelton, Gondola, etc.

In some areas buses may be infrequent, particularly on the weekends when there may only be one or two buses per hour. The standard fare is $3.50 cash or $2.50, $5 maximum charge per day, $10 minimum initial purchase with a MetroCard smart card.

The restored Christchurch Tramway runs in a smaller loop around the inner city.

Christchurch is a distinctly English city, however it contains various European elements, with strong Gothic Revival architecture. As early settlers of New Zealand, Māori culture is also prevalent in the city.

It features many public open spaces and parks, river beds and cafes and restaurants situated in the city centre and surrounding suburbs.

While historically most cinemas were grouped around Cathedral Square, only two cinemas remain there. The Regent complex was rebuilt as Regent on Worcester in 1996. In 2009 Metro Cinemas opened in Worcester Street with three screens.

Only one of the first generation of suburban cinemas, the Hollywood in Sumner, remains open. The largest multiplexes were the Hoyts 8 in the old railway station on Moorhouse Avenue and Reading Cinemas in the Palms shopping centre in Shirley.

Hoyts in Riccarton opened in 2005 with one of its screens for a time holding the record for the largest in New Zealand.

The Rialto Cinemas on Moorhouse avenue specialised in international films and art house productions. The Rialto also hosted the majority of the city's various film festivals and was home to the local film society. The Rialto was closed following the February 2011 earthquake.

The Christchurch Arts Centre includes two art house cinemas, Cloisters and The Academy, screening a wide selection of contemporary, classic and foreign language films.

The Canterbury Film Society is active in the city.

The matricidal Peter Jackson film Heavenly Creatures (1994), starring Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet, was set in Christchurch.
The large number of public parks and well-developed residential gardens with many trees has given Christchurch the name of The Garden City.

Hagley Park and the 30-hectare (75 acre) Christchurch Botanic Gardens, founded in 1863, are in the central city, with Hagley Park being a site for sports such as golf, cricket, netball, and rugby, and for open-air concerts by local bands and orchestras.

To the north of the city is the Willowbank wildlife park. Travis Wetland, an ecological restoration programme to create a wetland, is to the east of the city centre in the suburb of Burwood.

Christchurch had its own regional television station Canterbury Television. CTV was first formed in 1991 and ceased broadcasting on 16 December 2016. It aired both local, national and international content, including DW-TV and Al-jazeera World.

Since 19 December 2016 CTV has operated as a web-based platform under the Star Media brand.

VTV, a Korean TV channel airs in Christchurch also Auckland. It offers English content about Korea, from arirang World, and Korean-speaking content in SBS. This channel broadcasts many of the latest dramas airing in Korea.

The city's main television transmitter is located atop Sugarloaf, in the Port Hills due south of the city centre, and broadcasts all major national television channels as well as the two local channels.

All television channels in Christchurch have been broadcast in digital since analogue switch-off on 28 April 2013.

Christchurch has one full-time professional theatre, the Court Theatre, founded in 1971. Originally based in the Christchurch Arts Centre, the Court Theatre has been located in the suburb of Addington in temporary accommodation following the 2011 earthquakes.

Alongside the Court, the co-operative and experimental Free Theatre Christchurch was established in 1979 and based in the Arts Centre from 1982.

There is also an active recreational theatre scene with community based theatre companies, such as the Christchurch Repertory Society,Elmwood Players,Riccarton Players, and Canterbury Children's Theatre, producing many quality shows.

The Ngaio Marsh Theatre, located at the University of Canterbury, hosts a range of student drama groups, as well as other theatre groups. The Isaac Theatre Royal was originally opened in 1863, and has since been rebuilt four times, most recently following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

The Isaac Theatre Royal reopened to the public on 17 November 2014.

The city is known for its many live acts, has a professional symphony orchestra, and is the base of professional opera company, Southern Opera.Christchurch is a home for the experimental music scene of New Zealand. The town is the home to such bands as The Bats, The Narcs, Shocking Pinks and Bailter Space.

There are usually buskers around the town square and Christchurch also hosts the World Buskers Festival in January each year.

Singer and songwriter Hayley Westenra launched her international career by busking in Christchurch. Soon she was signed to Universal Music Group New Zealand, then later to Decca Label Group in London, England, where she now bases her career.

Christchurch also has a Metal scene, with metal acts playing in various locations around the central city.

Some of New Zealand's acts such as Shapeshifter, Ladi6, Tiki Taane and Truth are from Christchurch. Promoters, Venues and clubs such as Bassfreaks.

The Bedford and Dux Live regularly have international and New Zealand acts within the Drum and Bass scene performing live in Christchurch, along with dance parties, raves and gigs all featuring NZ and local Drum and Bass DJs, with often two or three happening on a single night or weekend.

In 2010 UK Dubstep DJ Doctor P with Crushington was playing at The Bedford, while simultaneously Concord Dawn featuring Trei and Bulletproof was playing at Ministry.Independent Christchurch based radio station Pulzar FM is one of the few radio stations in New Zealand that plays Drum and Bass during the day.

In recent developments, hip hop has effectively landed in Christchurch. In 2000, First Aotearoa Hip Hop Summit was held there. And in 2003, Christchurch's own Scribe released his debut album in New Zealand and has received five times platinum in that country, in addition to achieving two number one singles.

The Horncastle Arena is New Zealand's second largest permanent multipurpose arena, seating between 5000 and 8000, depending on configuration. It is home of the Canterbury Tactix netball side. It was the venue for the 1999 World Netball championships and has been host to many concerts in recent years.

The Christchurch Town Hall auditorium with 2500 seats, opened 1972 was the first major auditorium design by architects Warren and Mahoney and acoustician Marshall Day. It is still recognised as a model example of concert-hall design with an excellent modern pipe organ.

The town hall is currently closed for repair after the significant damage caused by the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Christchurch also has a casino, and there are also a wide range of live music venues some short-lived, others with decades of history. Classical music concerts are held at the Christchurch Music Centre.

In late 2014 it was announced that a 284 million dollar project was underway to build a convention centre located on the block defined by Armagh Street, Oxford Terrace, Worcester Street and Colombo Street.

Gloucester Street will become part of the Centre itself, but will allow for retail use and public access. The convention centre will be able to host several events at the same time; starting with space for up to 2,000 people, this will complement facilities in Auckland and Queenstown.

The scheduled opening of the convention centre is uncertain.

Sport Teams in Christchurch:

- Crusaders, formerly the Canterbury Crusaders, are a rugby union team based in Christchurch that compete in the Super Rugby competition.

- Canterbury Rugby Football Union, which governs rugby union in Christchurch and the surrounding region, fields a team that represents the city in the ITM Cup.

- Canterbury Kings are Christchurch's men's cricket team in New Zealand's State Championship while the Canterbury Magicians play in the counterpart women's tournament

- Canterbury Cavaliers and Cats play in the National Hockey League (NHL)

- Canterbury Tactix play in the national ANZ Premiership, after the trans-Tasman ANZ Championship netball league finished in 2016. Prior to 2008, the Canterbury Flames played in the national netball league, competing for the National Bank Cup.

- Canterbury United play in the New Zealand Football Championship.

- Canterbury Rams play in the National Basketball League.

- Canterbury Red Devils play in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League (NZIHL).

In addition, Christchurch Football Club, an amateur rugby union club, was founded in 1863, believed to be the oldest club of any code in New Zealand.

Addington Raceway at Addington has been a venue for harness racing since 1899. Racing is conducted by the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club and it is regarded as the premier venue for the sport in New Zealand.

Alpine Ice is an ice skating rink home to the Canterbury Red Devils. It has hosted many national and international Ice Hockey tournaments, figure skating and speed skating events.

The rink is home to Ice Sports in Canterbury, in turn hosting numerous Ice Sports Clubs including the Canterbury Ice Hockey Association.

English Park in St Albans is the home venue for the Christchurch United Soccer team that plays in the national league.

Christchurch has more than a dozen golf courses, and has hosted the PGA Tour of Australasia/Nationwide Tour co-sanctioned Clearwater Classic/NZ PGA Championship at Clearwater Resort since 2002.

Hagley Oval has been used on-and-off as a venue for local, national and international cricket matches for decades, and in 2013 it was announced that a new cricket venue will be built on the site.

Horncastle Arena in Addington, Christchurch. Hosted the 1999 Netball World Championships and continues to host international basketball and netball games.

Lancaster Park formerly Jade Stadium & AMI Stadium was Christchurch's premier outdoor sporting ground, which played host to rugby union in the winter months and cricket in the summer months. It was home to the Crusaders Super Rugby and Canterbury Air New Zealand Cup rugby teams.

It was also used by the New Zealand national cricket team and occasionally hosted a New Zealand Warriors rugby league match. Is had a capacity of around 40,000 people for sporting fixtures, and around 50,000 for concerts. Damaged during the 2011 February earthquake, the facility's future is uncertain.

Malvern Park in St Albans hosts inter-high school competition matches as well as minor league matches. Also training grounds for the Canterbury Crusaders.

Nunweek Park in Bishopdale is the main hockey venue in the city. Porritt Park in Avonside was the main venue until the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, when it was damaged by liquefaction.

Queen Elizabeth II Park was built for the 1974 British Commonwealth Games, which Christchurch hosted. It is used primarily as an athletics park, but also contains a newly upgraded swimming pool complex. It has hosted major concerts from bands such as AC/DC and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The facility has been demolished due to damage sustained in the 22 February earthquake.

Christchurch Cathedral ruins built between 1864 and 1904 in Cathedral Square and its replacement Cardboard Cathedral, at 234 Hereford Street, an easy walk North West of its beloved forebear. There is no public car parking at the Cathedral.

Arts Centre, Worcester Boulevard. Gothic Revival stonework of former University campus. This area was damaged during the 22 Feb 2011 earthquake.

While reconstruction work is taking place these buildings are closed to the general public and will be for several years.

However, the beauty and historical significance of these building can still be appreciated by viewing them from surrounding streets such as Worcester Boulevard and Hereford Street and the excellent Canterbury Cheesemongers still operates from a modern building within its precincts.

Christchurch Art Gallery, Worcester Boulevard and Montreal St,one block east of Botanic Gardens. W 10:00-21:00. Spectacular facility opened in 2003, the largest in the South Island, with over 5000 items and visiting exhibitions.

Air Force Museum, former Wigram Airfield, Main South Road. 10:00-17:00 daily. Opened in 1987 before the closure of the Christchurch RNZAF base, this museum has full-size replicas of fighting planes and dramatizes the history of New Zealand's Air Force from World War I to Vietnam and beyond. $15, $5 child.

Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave, car park entrance Armagh St. Gates open 07:00 until one hour before sunset. 30 hectares of exotic and indigenous plants and trees wrapped in a loop of the picturesque Avon River and linking to the 160-hectare Hagley Park.

These put the Garden in the Garden City, and the combined total with Hagley Park makes them the second largest inner city park in the world after New York's Central Park.

Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Ave at end of Worcester Blvd (adjoining Botanic Gardens), +64 3 366- 5000. 09:00-17:30 daily summer, 09:00-17:00 winter. Includes colonial, Maori and natural history sections, Antarctic exploration display, and visiting exhibitions. Admission free to main exhibits (but donation appreciated), $2 for Discovery children's section.

Ferrymead Heritage Park, Ferrymead Park Dr,Ferry Rd east from city, or take the 30 Sumner bus from the Bus Exchange and to the Heathcote River Bridge, then first right down Bridle Path Rd. 10:00-16:30 daily.

A recreated Edwardian township and museum with horse and carriage daily, tram - weekends and school/public holidays and train - first and third Sunday rides. Due to the voluntary nature of the historical societies managing Ferrymead, not all attractions may be running at all times.

Special events are often held and the park has been used to film the TV One reality show Colonial House. Admission price is based on whether trams/trains are operating or not, and include unlimited rides if available. $10, $5 child with trams/trains; $6, $3 child without.

International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Airport. 09:00-17:30. A world-class Antarctic experience with simulated polar weather, Hagglund All-Terrain Vehicle ride, penguins, extensive exhibits about Antarctic science missions, cafe and gift shop. $55, $36 child. Xpress Pass for $39 adult.

Prices cheaper on website by around $6. Unlimited Hagglund all day rides $20, Penguin Backstage Pass $20, $15 child. free shuttle picks up at Rolleston and Worcester.

Orana Wildlife Park, McLeans Island Rd 10 min drive W of airport. 10:00-17:00 daily, last entrance 16:30. New Zealand's largest wildlife sanctuary and conservation project featuring endangered animals from around the world.

The park's design minimises fences and cages in favor of natural boundaries and habitats. Lion Encounter, limited 20 tickets per day, participants must be above 1.4 metres in height.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, 60 Hussey Rd, off Gardiners Rd. A smaller park than Orana, with a focus on New Zealand species including kiwi in a natural environment.

Yaldhurst Museum, Main West Rd near the airport, first right past Yaldhurst Hotel. 10:00-17:00 daily, 17:00-21:00 by arrangement for groups of 10 or more. Mostly interesting for its collection of over 150 classic and vintage vehicles. $15, $5 child.

Riccarton Bush. The last remaining forest remnant on the Canterbury plains is in Christchurch city. If your time is limited in NZ, this is a great way to experience an example of the country's native forests.

The circular track passes under tall Kahikatea trees, and there is a diversity of small trees, shrubs, climbers and ferns. Christchurch's oldest house, Dean's Cottage built 1843 is adjacent. Five minutes drive from central city and easily accessible by bus.

Earthquake Tourism Tours of affected sites are available. Visitors can also make their own way to sites of significance such as Christchurch Cathedral, viewed from Gloucester/Colombo St; the Catholic Basilica - South Barbadoes St, just north of Moorhouse Ave and the Cardboard Cathedral - Barbadoes/Hereford. Memorial sites include the 185 white chair memorial Barbadoes/Cashel and the site of the CTV building Barbadoes/Cashel.

Activities to go for in Christchurch:

The Summit Road, drive it or bike it or take a bus then walk it. The road and the Crater Rim Walkway traverses the crest of the Port Hills, which separate Christchurch from Lyttelton Harbour.

Breathtaking views over Christchurch, the Southern Alps, Pegasus Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula, often all from the same vantage point. Lots of sheep on the walkways, some of which traverse working farms. It is not possible to drive along all of Summit Road because it is closed due to earthquake damage.

Lyttelton,the port over the hill from the city, is accessible by car/bus through the tunnel. Although only 15 km (9 mi) from the central city, it feels like another world entirely, with its cafes bars shops and locals, its ever-busy port, its stunning hilly backdrop and beautiful harbour.

Punting on the Avon, punts depart from Antigua Boatsheds, Glide down the river in Cambridge University style with a uniformed boatsman.

Antigua Boatsheds, 2 Cambridge Ter. Boat hire from historic British boatsheds for a hands-on water experience. 09:30-17:30 daily summer, 09:30-16:30 winter.

Christchurch Casino, 30 Victoria Street. Open 24 hours except 25 Dec, Good Friday, ANZAC Day. Dress code jeans now allowed. You get a free meal breakfast, lunch or dinner if it is your birthday, booking essential, e.g. by phone.

Christchurch Gondola, base station 10 Bridle Path Rd, take 28 Lyttelton Bus from the Bus Exchange. Ride in the enclosed gondola car up to the summit of the Port Hills then view the Heritage Time Tunnel, take an outdoor nature walk, or eat at the cafe.

Adventure Ride, Guided off-road motorcycle tours. 10 days. All tours include an experienced guide, transport from Christchurch, motorcycle or ATV rental, fuel, insurance, riding gear, lunch and support vehicle.Overnight tours also include twin share accommodation and all meals. 5-10 day tours require a minimum of two riders.

Southern White Water, Guided rafting fishing or hunting tours. Day trip $135 per person. All tours include an experienced guide, transport to and from Christchurch, fuel, wet weather gear, lunch. Overnight tours 1-5 days trips, also include camping accommodation and all meals.

Christchurch has the busiest program of annual festivals of any New Zealand city.

Summertimes runs from December through to late February and includes a number of major free events in Hagley Park, which attract audiences of up to 100,000. It consists of music, arts, culture and sporting events.

The World Buskers Festival. Runs for two weeks in January and usually features about 30 comedy, street, and circus acts from around the globe.

The Festival of Romance lasts for 10 days leading up to Valentines day and includes a range of romantic activities.

The Christchurch Garden Festival takes place in March.

Kidsfest is on during the midwinter school holiday.

The Christchurch Arts Festival is the largest arts festival on South Island and takes place every second year in mid winter.

Carnival Week is centered around a number of events taking place in November - Guy Fawkes' night, a major public firework display at New Brighton Pier, the two New Zealand Cup trotting and galloping horse racing meetings, and the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral show, which is the largest in the country.

Carols by Candlelight is a longstanding tradition on Christmas Eve, now held in Victoria Square.

Shopping Tours

Ballantynes, corner of Colombo and Cashel. The major upmarket department store. Open seven days.

Locals tend to shop at the many suburban malls, the largest of which are Westfield Riccarton, Northlands and The Palms in Shirley.

The Warehouse. Common throughout New Zealand, and with several stores in Christchurch, these big red stores contain a variety of bottom-end products including clothing, tools, camping equipment, toys, music, etc. Their motto is where everyone gets a bargain, most things are made in China, and prices are cheap.

Riccarton Rotary Market. Su 09:00-14:00 - wet or fine. Selling all sorts of things from plants, fruit and vegetables to kiwi souvenirs and cheap Asian wares. Has performances, bouncy castles and food.

Christchurch Farmers Market. Meet the growers, farmers, brewers and other artisan producers. A lively affair which takes place every Saturday morning between 09:00 and 12:00 on the grounds of Riccarton House.

Wine And Dine

Buy from a local supermarket, the yellow coloured Pak'n'Save is cheapest. New World has greater product variety, but do not focus on having extremely cheap specials.

Fruit and vegetable shops offer locally grown high quality produce for prices often much cheaper than supermarkets. The Funky Pumpkin is one.

Perry's Cafe, 145 Madras St, opposite Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology. M-F 08:00-17:00. Surprisingly good cafeteria-style food with touches of cafe class, gets crowded around lunchtime. $5-7.

Dux Dine, 28 Riccarton Rd, This is the award-winning successor restaurant to the famous Dux de Lux venue that was smashed in the earthquake but a good 2000m east, across Hagley Park.Offering Good sea food and vegetarian options you will find no meat on their menu.

Strawberry Fare, 19 Bealey Ave, Hagley Park end, on Calton Mill Cnr, in the heart of Christchurch, Strawberry Fare carries an extensive menu of modern interpreted New Zealand dishes as well as many dessert dishes to die for. Reservations are required M-F 07:00-late, Sa-Su 08:30-late.

Under the Red Verandah, 502 Worcester St. Closed M. Under the Red Verandah offers a range of food incorporating fair trade coffee, free range eggs and gluten free baked goods.

At Tony's, 85 Riccarton Road, +64 3 341 6608. Good Teppanyaki with special all you can eat deals Tu-Th.

Christchurch's Asian district is mainly in the Riccarton/Upper Riccarton area.

Chinese: Church Corner is often considered Christchurch's unofficial Chinatown. It offers many shops, for example, Chinese supermarkets, all kinds of Asian restaurants and more.

Korean: There are many Korean restaurants in the unofficial Chinatown area, and down in the shopping precient near Westfield Riccarton. KOSCO, a Korean supermarket, has several branches in Christchurch, including one in Riccarton.

Bog Irish Pub. Located in The Speights Ale House, 263 Bealey Ave.

Aikmans Bistro & Bar, an upscale drinking spot in the trendy Merivale area. 154 Aikmans Rd, Merivale.

Speights Ale House Tower Junction. A relaxed atmosphere bar, a great place for meals. Tower Junction Mega Centre, 55 Clarence St, Riccarton.

The Watershed Restaurant & Bar. Overlooking the waterfront in Ferrymead. 12/23 Humphrey's Drive, Ferrymead.

The Craic Irish Bar, 84 Riccarton Rd.

Accomodatios in Christchurch

Backpackers are safe, clean, cheap and cheerful. The cheapest option is a share/dorm room usually costing around $28 per night. Most offer single rooms, twin and double rooms and shared rooms. The standard of backpackers is very good in New Zealand.

Motels are a notch up. Low end around $79 per night. There are also many good quality B&Bs in Christchurch and surrounding district.

Dorset House Backpackers, 1 Dorset St. checkin: From 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Charming hostel accommodation in an 1871 heritage home, top-rated. Fully renovated in 2012. Free Wi-Fi, car-parking, spacious rooms, no bunks, all beds fully made.

Set among flower gardens and 50m from Hagley Park. On the airport bus route. Double, twin, multi-share, single and family rooms available. Secure on-line bookings available.

Jailhouse Accommodation, 338 Lincoln Rd, checkout: 10:00. Newly renovated heritage backpacker accommodation with a colourful history - the former Addington Prison. The Jailhouse has single, double, twin, dorm and family rooms available. Wi-Fi and free parking.

The Old Countryhouse Backpackers, 437, Gloucester St, Linwood. checkin: 13:30; checkout: 10:00. Up-market facilities at budget prices. Backpacker prices for hotel grade mattresses and linen, spotlessly clean hostel facilities, guest telephone with FREE local calls, W-i-Fi, Spa Sanctuary with spa pool & sauna. $42-210.

219 on Johns Motel & Holiday Park, 219 Johns Road, Northwood. checkin: From 2pm; checkout: 10am. Qualmark 4 Star Christchurch holiday park offering a choice of low cost, self catering accommodation just 10 mins from the airport. Motels, chalets, cabins and van / camping sites. Pet friendly, free airport transfers & vehicle storage.

AAA Northlands Motel, 232 Main North Rd, Northcote. Close to Northlands Mall and QE2 Park. A Host Accommodation Group member. $95-130.

Addington Court Motel, Cnr Lincoln Rd and Twigger St, Addington. Close to Addington Raceway, A&P Showgrounds and Westpac Trust Stadium. A Host Accommodation Group member. $135-270.

Airport Christchurch Motel, 55 Roydvale Ave, Burnside, just off SH1 at the Airport Roundabout. Take first L on Memorial Ave going towards the city. 4 minutes drive to the airport, but not on any flight path. A Host Accommodation Group member. $135-225.

Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park & Motels, 39 Meadow Street, Papanui. checkout: 10:00. Motels, cabins and tent site facilities. 5 minutes walk to Northlands Shopping Centre, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, cinema and bus stop. 10 minutes drive to Christchurch Airport and 5km to city centre.

City Central Motel Apartments, 252 Barbadoes St, Central. 5 minutes walk to Litchfield St restaurants and 7 minutes walk to Cathedral Square. A Host Accommodation Group member. $115-235.

Classique Lodge Motel, 290 Blenheim Rd, Riccarton. 5 minutes to Westfield Riccarton Shopping Mall. A Host Accommodation Group member. $90-150 (2 people).

Eliza's Manor Boutique Hotel, 82 Bealey Ave, Central. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 10:30. This heritage boutique hotel is comprised of 8 ensuite rooms and is a smoke-free environment. Eliza's Manor is also located close to city centre and public transportation. $245-345 Double including breakfast.

Heartland Hotel Cotswold, 88-96 Papanui Rd, Merivale.

Milano Motor Lodge, 87 Papanui Rd, Papanui. 5 minutes walk to Hagley Park or Merivale Shopping Mall, 2-3 minutes walk to restaurants. A Host Accommodation Group member. $125-240.

Orpington House Bed and Breakfast, 3 Marion Pl, Lincoln, Canterbury. This B&B only has one bedroom and is located 20 minutes drive outside of Christchurch city.

For travellers who want to stay a month or longer, there are a number of furnished flats for rent advertised in the papers. A local company called Urban Rooms has a number of furnished rentals specifically for travelers, ranging from rooms in a shared house to self-contained flats with garages.

Red Door Cottage, 115 Merivale La Merivale. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. Self-catering for up to 4. Close to City Centre, public transport, restaurants, shopping. Sky TV, free Wi-Fi, rate includes continental breakfast first day. King & Queen beds, warm and private, with off-street parking. $130-150.

Valley View Cottage, 101 Hillsborough Tce, St.Martins. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:30. Self-catering for maximum of 3 - Private, relaxing and peaceful, on lower slopes of Hills with views to City. Sky TV, free Wi-Fi, rate includes continental breakfast provisions for first day. Queen bed, warm and cosy with off-street parking. $105-115.

Brenzplace. Live with friendly People from around the world. Hereford st. Houses: Fully furnished, free Wifi, gym, pool table, table tennis, large lawn area with fruit trees and vegetable garden.

Christchurch has a problem with smog during the winter. Although conditions have improved over the years due to the intervention of the city council, take care venturing out on calm frosty evenings if you have a breathing-related medical condition.

Violent crime is relatively rare.

Christchurch had major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Aftershocks have decreased and are now rarely felt.

What you can do in Christchurch

Akaroa is beautiful, quaint and packed with good eateries. Try the Swim with the Dolphins in the sea trip.

Arthur's Pass National Park for a bush getaway, a fantastic train journey or via the historic Alpine highway by coach or self drive.

Hanmer Springs to soak in the hot pools

Kaikoura for crayfish and whale watching

Waipara The newest wine region, specializing in some of New Zealand's finest wines

Tourism Observer


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Sam Anderson said...
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