Located on the east coast of the South Island, Christchurch – just like the rest of New Zealand – is a city of contrasts.
Internationally famed ‘The Garden City’, Christchurch’s well-established expansive parks and public gardens owe much to the planning and foresight of the city’s founding fathers.
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.
There is something different to see and do within one or two hours’drive of Christchurch, in any direction.
To the east lie the open ocean and Banks Peninsula, featuring sheltered bays, sandy beaches, bush clad valleys, rocky coastline and high, wild places. Boating, tramping, a visit to the wineries and the French settlers’ harbourside village of Akaroa are key peninsula attractions.
To the west, past fertile plains and braided rivers, are forested foothills and lakes. Beyond them lie the tallest mountains in Australasia, the Southern Alps, strung out parallel to the coastline. Mountain passes with delightful alpine villages break the almost impenetrable divide and deliver the traveller to the west coast. There is a choice of western routes and plenty of ski areas on the way.
A journey north reveals green rolling hills, forests and long, empty beaches, with the whale-watching centre of Kaikoura about 2 hours’ drive away, whilst an excursion to the south passes through farmland and crosses two more of Canterbury’s pristine rivers, ideal for fishing in, whitewater rafting or kayaking down. Mt Hutt, the premier commercial ski area close to the city, lies to the south west. A day off-piste here gives opportunity for jet boating, fishing, horse riding or a round of golf.
Clearly visitors are spoilt for choice and residents have a superb outdoor lifestyle at their doorsteps.
- Latitude: 43° ° Mins, 48 Secs South
- Longitude: 172° 37 Mins, 13 Secs East.
- East Coast, South Island, New Zealand
- Area: Christchurch City: 45,240 Hectares
(Source: Statistics New Zealand)
- NZ resident population: 4,262,072
- Population of Chch: 348,435
- Mean Daily Maximum: Jan 22.5 °C, July 11.3 °C
- Mean Temperature: 12.1°C
- Mean Daily Minimum: Jan 12.2°C, July 1.9°C
- Mean Annual Maximum: 32°C
- Mean Annual Minimum: -4°C
- Mean average bright sunshine: 2,100 hours per annum
- Average rain days: 1mm or more; 85 per annum
- Average annual rainfall: 648 mm