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:
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.
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!
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.