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Christchurch

Christchurch City - "The Garden City" - has a truly relaxed pace and heritage heart (the Arts Centre’s neo-gothic architecture and central Cathedral Square), sophistication (a labyrinth of laneways and world-class dining on your doorstep), and a sense of adventure (surf beaches and mountain bike tracks within 15 minutes of the city centre).
 
Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury region has an Ocean to Alps backdrop - spectacular Pacific coastline, snow-capped mountains to the west and the hidden bays of an ancient volcanic peninsula to the south.

It is one of the only places in the world where, within two hours of an international airport, you can ski at a world class alpine resort, play golf, bungy jump, go rafting, mountain biking, wind surfing, whale watching and visit world-class vineyards and gardens.

Regional highlights include New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki Mount Cook, the picturesque bays and seaside villages of Banks Peninsula, whale watching in the leading eco-tourism destination of Kaikoura, relaxing in the hot pools of Hanmer Springs and hiking in Arthurs Pass National Park.
 
MY TRAVEL AGENT'S suggested things to do in Christchurch:
 
1.  EXPLORE THE CITY BY TRAM CAR
 
Christchurch's heritage trams are a great way to experience the heritage and charm that makes Christchurch special, with an informative and entertaining commentary.  The tramway offers a quality inner city tour experience that combines the heritage of the trams, attractions and historic buildings with the culture of the Garden City.  The trams follow a 2.5 kilometre loop around central Christchurch taking in some interesting sites. These include Cathedral Square, Southern Encounter Aquarium, The Arts Centre, Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, Punting on the Avon, Victoria Square, and New Regent Street. 
 
2.  SHOP FOR A BARGAIN AT CATHEDRAL SQUARE MARKET
 
The Cathedral Square Market is located in the heart of the city, Cathedral Square. An outdoor market with stalls offering handcrafted and imported goods such as New Zealand wood-ware, handknitting, jewellery, pounamu, paua, bone carvings, possum fashions, sheepskins, clothing, healthcare products, sunglasses, t-shirts and much more. Grab something to eat at one of the food vendors and enjoy the atmosphere which makes the Square unique.
 
3.  GO PUNTING ON THE AVON RIVER
 
Sit back, relax and just drift along through parks and gardens, under shady trees and enjoy the tranquillity of your own punting journey on the Avon River. Each punt is custom-built, fully upholstered and comes complete with its own boatperson to do all the work. All you have to do is enjoy the ride.
 
4.  VISIT THE BOTANICAL GARDENS
 
Christchurch's reputation as the Garden City is truly reflected in the Botanic Gardens.  Undoubtedly the finest collection of exotic and indigenous plants found anywhere in New Zealand, the Gardens provide spectacular displays all year round.  You can't help but be impressed with the large majestic trees and sweeping lawns providing a wonderful backdrop to our feature gardens including rock, water, rose and herb gardens.
 
5.  TAKE A TRAIN RIDE
 
Travelling around New Zealand by train means seeing it all. From the Overlander to the world famous TranzAlpine, your train is sleek, comfortable and relaxing.  From Christchurch, experience two spectacular South Island unique train rides including the TranzAlpine, rated one of the top six journeys in the world. Travels daily from Christchurch to Greymouth on the West Coast through the massive Southern Alps.  Also, the TranzCoastal travels daily between Christchurch to the pretty port of Picton where it connects with the InterIslander. The journey travels along the rugged Pacific Ocean on one side and the steep mountains on the other. Stop at Kaikoura for a day or more and enjoy amazing activities such as whale watching.
 
6.  VIEW THE ALPINE SCENERY OF AORAKI/MT. COOK
 
This national park is home to the highest mountains and the largest glaciers in New Zealand. It has 19 peaks more than 3000 metres high, including Aoraki/Mount Cook which is a sky-scraping 3754 metres tall. The road to the park runs along the Tasman Valley beside Lake Pukaki, which is fabulously blue due to the glacier-ground rock particles that are suspended in its waters. At the end of the valley you'll find Mount Cook village and the most amazing alpine scenery you can imagine.
 
6.  TRY YOUR LUCK AT THE CASINO
 
When you're ready for indoor adventure, treat yourself to a visit to Christchurch Casino!  They offer twenty four hour gaming entertainment to visitors to Christchurch. The casino has 428 gaming machines and a wide variety of Table Games including Blackjack, American Roulette, Mini Baccarat, Midi Baccarat, Tai Sai, Money Wheel and Caribbean Stud Poker as well as The Racing Game and Live Keno.

 
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