Located at the heart of the South Island's Canterbury region – bound to the east by Pegasus Bay, flanked to the south by the volcanic slopes of Port Hills, and cut in half by Avon River – Christchurch is a place of natural splendour. Home to the award-winning Christchurch Botanic Gardens and its extraordinary collection of exotic and native plants Christchurch is known throughout New Zealand as Garden City.
Following a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the city is currently undergoing an innovative restoration. Focusing on a number of creative projects that emphasise sustainability, Christchurch is embracing its new future, and reinventing itself with modern buildings and bright urban events.
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The Canterbury region has a rich dining scene, which is particularly famous for outstanding wines and exceptionally fresh seafood. Local restaurateurs make the most of the region's incredible local produce and seasonal riches with continuously changing menus.
Christchurch's most extensive dining options can be found in South of Moorhouse (SoMo) in Addington and on Victoria Street in the CBD. SoMo has been hailed as Christchurch’s most dynamic and hip neighbourhood and is a great place for no-fuss, yet delicious eats. Victoria Street is a hotspot for international flavours and global cuisines.
Outside the city limits, The Selwyn Food & Wine Trail offers a great chance to indulge in local wines and restaurants amid picturesque surrounds – try regional specialities Pinot Noir or Riesling; while an hour’s drive south-east of the city, the quaint seaside village of Akaroa exudes distinct French and British cultural and historic dining experiences.
The Re:Start shopping precinct has been the most innovative retail project to follow the quakes. Located on Christchurch’s main street, Cashel Street, Re:Start is a pop-up community of retailers. Shipping containers house shops, cafes and banks – a temporary and creative solution that is quickly revitalising Christchurch’s retail life. Despite the wares on offer, Re:Start is a must-see attraction in itself – a resounding testament of the love and passion that Christchurch locals have for their city and its cultural aspects.
Unscathed by natural disasters, global retail giant, Westfield is Christchurch’s one-stop spot for all shopping needs. Located seven minutes drive from the CBD, Riccarton Westfield offers everything from clothes to home wares and souvenirs to groceries in under the one roof.
For a true Christchurch experience – only a 10 minute drive from the city centre – spend a morning pursuing the Christchurch Famers Markets. Held every Saturday morning, in the shadows on the charming Edwardian-style Riccarton House, the markets brim with laneways of makeshift stalls, selling everything from artisan breads to delectable cheeses and gourmet cupcakes.