Christchurch is New Zealand's third largest city and the biggest city in the South Island. Dubbed the 'Garden City' its urban area contains beautiful parks that surround the Avon River.

The city has the distinction of being the most English looking city outside of England. English style architecture sits on streets with famous English names such as Oxford Terrace or Cambridge Terrace. There is an extensive system of parks in the city which are famous for their significant plantings of native English trees. This English theme seems ironic then when you consider that Christchurch is the furthest city in the world from England. (New Zealand Time (NZT) is 12 hours ahead of GMT).

Unfortunately, much of the old city and architecture were damaged or destroyed from a series of devastating earthquakes that shook the city in 2010 and 2011. Today restoration of the city is underway and thankfully some of the older buildings have been saved. However, what will rise out of the devastation will be a more modern city, but with better planning and big green spaces. The landmark Christ Church cathedral lies in a ruined state and its future is uncertain.

A must see attraction in the city centre is ReStart, an outdoor mall where the shops are made from shipping containers. The idea for this mall was a stroke of genius as it was able to be built quickly after the February 2011 quake and also able to survive the constant aftershocks while it was under construction. This mall helped keep the CBD alive when most of it was closed to the public.

Other city attractions include: the stunning Botanic Gardens and nearby Canterbury Museum. Sumner, a beach suburb is also worth visiting. Besides a nice beach, you can see a huge cliff face with quake damaged housing hanging off the cliff edge which gives you an idea of the devastating event this city had to endure.

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