Christchurch has emerged revitalized following the earthquake that devastated much of the Canterbury region in February 2011. The destruction of several landmark historic buildings, such as the Christchurch Cathedral, has led to the development of new city plans, a bold public art programme and innovative use of space, such as the Re:START mall, a shopping mall made from shipping containers! The rebuild is an ongoing process and a tour of key spots around the central city provides a first-hand glimpse of the earthquake’s effects and demonstrates how this iconic city is getting back on its feet.
Christchurch’s historical charm and atmosphere has seen it often compared with England. It is also known as New Zealand’s Garden City, with many beautiful gardens open to explore and the surrounding regions have much to offer visitors too. The beachside village of Sumner is a popular stop, while you can enjoy panoramic views of Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps from the Port Hills. There are also many adventure activities in the Canterbury region – travel through the Canterbury Plains to the Waimakariri Gorge and River for a jet boat ride through white water rapids, then take a rugged 4WD journey to connect with a section of the original stagecoach route, where you’ll board the TranzAlpine railway for one of the world's top train journeys on a spectacular scenic ride back to Christchurch.
Christchurch is also the ideal departure point for many other South Island sightseeing adventures such as Mount Cook, Queenstown or Dunedin.