A little bit about… Christchurch

One of the reasons I began this site is because I am in the process of planning an epic around-the-world trip of my own. I’ve been brainstorming a lot about where I might like to go, so I thought I would share some of my research with you!

When I was considering working abroad in New Zealand Christchurch was my first choice of location. Everything I’ve read describes it as an “English City.” I’m a serious Anglophile so I’m curious to see how the English atmosphere translates in this far corner of the world. Here’s what I’ve discovered:

image by nyaa_birdies_perch

image by nyaa_birdies_perch


Christchurch is located on the Southern Island of New Zealand in the Canterbury Area. The city is named after Christchurch College at Oxford. The river Avon runs through the town. Students often punt (link) down the river just like in Cambridge. I’m definitely seeing the English connections here…

Christchurch is not a very big city; it has only 350,000 people. It’s relative flatness and grid-like structure makes it easily navigatable on foot.

picture shot by Alex E. Proimos

picture shot by Alex E. Proimos


Christchurch is known as the Garden City because of its leafy streets. It’s a center for neo-gothic architecture and ideal for wandering aimlessly on foot (one of my favorite tourist activities).

Many of the main attractions are actually free including the great gothic Christchurch Cathedral and the pleasant Arts Centre. The Arts Centre has a great crafts market on the weekends.

Further out of town is another interesting and unique attraction: The International Antarctic Centre. It’s a bit pricey, but once inside you can experience a simulated arctic storm (jackets provided), have a snowball fight and feed the penguins!

image by geoftheref

image by geoftheref


Every source I’ve consulted about Christchurch has mentioned the “Wizard of New Zealand” a sassy street performer who hangs around downtown and will happily converse/harass you.

This fits in well with the seemingly laid back, university town vibe of Christchurch. As a student center it also boasts a young vibrant atmosphere and many bars where you can relax with a cheeky pint.

Christchurch is also a city of festivals. Curing the summer months there is the International Buskers Festival, the Christchurch Garden Festival and the charming sounding Festival of Romance leading up to Valentines Day.


What a pleasant sounding place!  Right now I’m thinking New Zealand is going to be my first destination abroad, so I will definitely be dropping in on this very English city.



Read More! I found out my info using: Let’s Go New Zealand, The Rough Guide to New Zealand, Wikitravel: New Zealand

This is the part where I ask for your help. Anyone been to Christchurch have any advice for me?


6 Responses to A little bit about… Christchurch

  1. Daniel September 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM #

    Happy to follow you along through the planning stages — as we are doing the same! I wonder if the Wizard of New Zealand is anything like the Naked Cowboy of Times Square? I like the Rough Guide series — I found that they had a great guide to China. I’ve used Lonely Planet for Southeast Asia. But for India and China preferred the Rough Guide series!

    • Kaz September 20, 2009 at 9:24 PM #


      always keen to encourage visitors to my hometown!

      The Wizard is very eccentric but a real icon of the city – entertaining to listen to for half an hour or so, just beware he might draw you into the conversation 🙂

      And i can highly recommend our local tourism organisation website for more info of all sorts about where to stay, what to do etc in Chch …

      have a wonderful time!


  2. Steph September 8, 2009 at 7:22 PM #

    Thanks! I’m a bit of a Lonely Planet devotee but I like rough guide too, I tend to alternate back and forth. These days I just go to the library and check out everything!

  3. Anna July 12, 2014 at 5:33 AM #

    Hey Steph, love the site! I can’t wait to get myself up and traveling so much more, and make it a bit of a more permanent lifestyle choice as mine.

    I’m just curious.. did you ever make it to Christchurch? It is my hometown! I am personally beginning to do my research around where I want to begin to go to, and it is pretty cool to see someone else who was in the same stages of planning and chose my little corner of the world 🙂

    It’s such a different city now post quakes.. (and I moved to Auckland immediately after they happened) but if you haven’t visited NZ already, and still plan to, I have so much advice I can give!

    • Steph July 12, 2014 at 7:46 AM #

      You know, I never did! I ended up going to China instead (long story). I would still really love to come to New Zealand, but I’m not sure when I will have the money to get down there.

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