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Located on the East coast, Christchurch is the South Island's largest city, and the third largest in New Zealand, after the capital, Wellington. Christchurch has endured in excess of 11,000 earthquakes that spanned more than 2 years, from September 2010 until late 2012. Small aftershocks are still recorded every few weeks. The city is still in recovery, and as at July 2013, there are still 100 inner-city buildings to be demolished. Thousands of homes were also destroyed and many streets have been damaged.
- On the eastern edge of the city is Pegasus Bay and the Pacific Ocean with safe swimming beaches and good surfing
- Kaikoura is 2 hours to the North
- Dunedin is 4-5 hours drive to the South
- The West Coast is 3 hours drive to the west over Arthurs Pass
There are over 1,100 hosts and Couch Surf locals in Christchurch and a growing community. Regular meetings are held every Wednesday evening. Other activities and social events are listed on the Christchurch group .
There is a shortage of backpacker hostels in Christchurch following the earthquakes of 2010/2011. - Search HostelWorld for the latest availability.
- Hitch-hiking - Online safety
- Maori people first inhabited the Canterbury area about a thousand years ago.
- These first inhabitants were moa-hunting tribes and these were followed by the Waitaha who are thought to have migrated from the east coast of the North Island in the 16th century. This migration was joined by the Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu and continued until about 1830.
- The first European landed in Canterbury in 1815, 45 years after Captain James Cook sighted what he named "Banks Island", later found to be a peninsula.
- In 1840 the first Europeans settled on the plains and whaling ships were operating out of Lyttelton by 1850.
- During 1850-1851 the first organised groups of English settlers, the founders of Christchurch, arrived on the 'first four ships' into Lyttelton Harbour.
- Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on July 31, 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand.
- In 1893, New Zealand women were the first in the world to win the right to vote. A memorial to Kate Sheppard, who led the Women's Suffrage movement, can been seen on Oxford Terrace, alongside the Avon River at the Worcester Street corner.
- Canterbury's economy was built on dairy and sheep products. Canterbury now has a diversified regional economy with growth across a range of sectors.
Christchurch has experienced over 11,000 earthquakes and aftershocks since 4th September 2010. The first earthquake of 7.1 magnitude struck at 4:35am on 4th September 2010 and a more devastating 6.3 magnitude quake struck at 12:51pm on 22nd February 2011. The February quake caused serious damage and 185 deaths, mainly in the central business district of the city. There was substantial damage to the eastern areas of the city. Over two years on, a lot of the central business district remains cordoned off. Around 900 buildings will be removed. As at June 2013, 135 buildings are still to be demolished. Liquefaction in the eastern suburbs caused major damage to infrastructure such as water supply, electricity, sewers and roads. Many former central city businesses and government offices, have relocated to the western suburbs of Christchurch of Addington, Riccarton, Papanui, and Hornby.
Most backpacker hostels located in the CBD are closed or destroyed. Some hostels are open on Bealey Avenue and Barbadoes Avenue. Search HostelWorld for the latest availability.
Some things to do in Christchurch
(feel free to add to the list)
- Take a stroll through the Botanic Gardens
- Visit the Antarctic Centre
- Mountain bike through Bottle Lake Forest
- Go swimming at New Brighton Beach
- Appreciate the art at Christchurch Art Gallery CLOSED until mid-2013
- Appreciate the art at Centre of Contemporary Arts Gallery (COCA) CLOSED until further notice
- Visit Canterbury Museum
- Stroll around the gardens in Halswell Quarry
- Feed the ducks on the Avon River
- Walk the Bridle Path over to the port town of Lyttelton
- Have a picnic in the gardens of Mona Vale
- Learn to ride a surfboard at New Brighton beach
- Walk out to the end of New Brighton pier on a stormy day with big waves.
- Visit Travis Wetland Heritage Park
- Walk the Port Hills-Crater Rim Walkway with great views of Lyttelton Harbour, Christchurch city, Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps.
- Watch sand artist Peter Donnelly create an amazing work on the beach below the New Brighton Pier , .
- Take a bus out to Sumner and walk along the Esplanade. Have a coffee in a funky cafe or an ice cream while watching the surfers at Scarborough beach.
- Go climbing at the YMCA climbing wall at 12 Hereford Street in the central city.
- Walk the Scarborough Track/Taylors Mistake Walk from Scarborough beach, Sumner
- Walk Mt Vernon Farm Track up the valley past the pylons for a stunning view of Mt Vernon
- Talk a relaxing stroll through Riccarton Bush - a quiet oasis of native forest in the city. Picnic in the Kahikatea Grove.
- Visit the Riccarton Market on a Sunday morning
- Hire a canoe from Antigua Boat Shed and paddle the Avon River through the Botanic Gardens
- World Buskers' Festival - January each year
Bars & Night Venues
Smash Palace CBD Monday Room Baretta The Darkroom Winnies City King of Snake CRUZ The Brewery Fox and Ferret The Craic Aikmans Winnies Ferrymead Cargo Dux Live
- Dux Live, 363 Lincoln Road (behind the Mobil Station), Addington, Christchurch 8024
- Pierside, 3 Brighton Mall, New Brighton, Christchurch 8061
- Wunderbar, 19 London Street, Lyttelton. Located in the harbourside village of Lyttelton. Another great live venue for kiwi musicians, also hold regular poetry nights.
- darkroom, 336 St Asaph Street, Christchuch
- Revival Bar, 94 Victoria Street, Christchuch
- The Roxx Climbing Centre Corner Waltham Road and Byron Street. Over 100 top rope and lead climb routes; dedicated bouldering area with marked problems.
- YMCA climbing wall, 12 Hereford Street, central city.
- One hour of access is around $2 at most paid internet cafes.
- There are free Wifi hotspots around the city on a number of Telecom telephone street boxes.
Most Christchurch Libraries offer free internet via wifi or bring your computer. Free wifi is also available at Riccarton Hoyts movie theatre, and many cafes, coffee shops and bars.
- MetroInfo - Bus timetables and routes.
Cash Fare - Single Trip $3.20 - Includes one free transfer within 2 hours
Metrocard - Single Trip $2.30 - Includes unlimited free transfers for the first 2 hours
All Day Travel Pass (with Metro Card) - $4.60 is the maximum you pay per day for as many trips as you like
- Cycling is a great way to get around, as the city is flat. There are biking lanes on most of the main arterial roads. There are mountain biking tracks on the nearby Port Hills, McLeans Island near the airport and Bottle Lake Forest, which commences at North Beach. Most city Metro buses, have bike racks to carry cycles. This is handy in inclement weather or to get to Lyttelton, where cycling is not allowed through the tunnel.
Christchurch has a temperate climate. In summer temperatures range from 15 - 35 degrees Celsius but most commonly between 20 - 25 degrees during the daytime and around 9 - 15 at night. Winter temperatures are above freezing except when there are early morning frosts when it can be down to -5. It snows in Christchurch only once or twice each winter.
Forecasts are available from:
Banks Peninsula, or Horomaka, is a large peninsula on the East of Christchurch city. It features sheltered bays, sandy beaches, bush clad valleys, rocky coastline and high, wild hills. Boating, Maori history, tramping and hiking, wineries, cheese factory, and the harbourside French village of Akaroa, are some of the key Peninsula attractions. Akaroa is a beautiful town 1.5 hours drive from Christchurch. The peninsula has some significant Maori history, including the massacre at Akaroa which focused on Onawe Peninsula.
- The Peninsula is of volcanic origin - Lyttelton Harbour and Akaroa Harbour are old craters. The peninsula has a rugged coastline with many deep bays and two large harbours.
- Located by the beach in Birdlings Flat is Wharehapuku art studio and gallery owned and operated by local CS host Ian Robertson. Birdlings Flat is a small oceanside community just off the highway to Akaroa from Christchurch - just before Little River.