The South Island's largest city, Christchurch is perfect as a pleasant jumping-off point for the mountains, ocean beaches, rivers, lakes and wide-open spaces less than an hour from the city centre. But Christchurch is more than just a springboard.
Scratch a bit deeper and you'll find an enviable cultural landscape, which runs from the traditional to the highly innovative, and includes an excellent food scene. It may well be known as the most English of New Zealand cities, but today it's more Toronto than Tunbridge Wells.
The city is set in an archetypal New Zealand setting of rural sheep-strewn fields stretching towards rugged alpine mountains. Over 150 years ago, Christchurch was planned as the perfect High Anglican town. Now, under its tranquil, anachronistic exterior, Christchurch is a thriving, modern city.
Facts for the traveller
Off the beaten track