Christchurch Tourist Attractions
Christchurch, the largest town on the South Island and its economic and cultural center, lies on the east coast, not far from the Banks Peninsula, in whose natural harbor of Lyttleton the first settlers landed in the 19th C. The city extends over an almost treeless plain that is bounded on the southeast by the hills, rising to some 400 m, between the city and Lyttleton Harbour.
In summer an unpleasant hot, dry wind from the northwest often blows for days at a time.With its spacious parks, its numerous sports grounds and well-tended gardens - amounting altogether to more than 30 sq.km of green space - Christchurch has become known as the Garden City. The city's architecture and atmosphere lead many visitors to declare that it is the most British of New Zealand's towns. Its situation in an extensive plain has allowed its planners to lay it out on a rectangular grid with broad main streets. Only the winding course of the Avon River and the diagonal line of the High Street and Victoria Street disturb the regularity of its plan.The main sights of Christchurch can be seen in a 3-hour walk. The first stage begins in Cathedral Square and leads past the Regent Theatre and over the Avon Bridge, with the Scott Memorial and the visitor center. Then along Cambridge Terrace, passing the Bridge of Remembrance, to the Botanic Gardens, with the Arts Centre and the Canterbury Museum.From the Canterbury Museum the second stage leads past Christ's College to Hagley Park and along Armagh Street to Cranmer Square, with two former schools, the Girls' High School and the Normal School. At the end of Chester Street is the city's oldest stone church, the Methodist Church (1864). At the south end of Durham Street, where it reaches the Avon, are the Provincial Government Buildings. On the far side of the bridge are Victoria Square and the modern Town Hall.From Victoria Square the third stage continues along Oxford Terrace, skirting the Avon, to Madras Street, and south along this to Latimer Square. From there Worcester Street runs back to Cathedral Square.Christchurch, New Zealand's second-largest city, was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011. The effects were severe, with long lasting effects on the city. Activity in the downtown area was restricted following the quake. Many of the tourist attractions were damaged and closed.
Provincial Council Buildings (closed)
The neo-Gothic Provincial Council Buildings (by Benjamin Mountfort, 1859-65) to the northeast of the cathedral, beyond the little Avon River, are among the finest buildings in the city. There was originally a wooden building centerd on a courtyard, a stone extension and tower being added later. The showpiece of the current buildings is the ornate neo-Gothic Council Chamber, with wall mosaics, stained-glass windows, massive and richly decorated barrel vaults and galleries for spectators and the press (completed in 1965). In 1924 an annex was built in Armagh Street.The Provincial Council Buildings remain closed after significant damage from the earthquake on February 22, 2011.
Cathedral Square has long been the main hub of the city, and home to the famous Christchurch Cathedral and other impressive late 19th and early 20th C buildings.
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament (closed)
The Cathedral was closed after the Canterbury earthquake on September 4th, 2010. The Christchurch earthquake in February 2011 caused the two bell towers to collapse at the front of the building and destabilised the dome. Part of the building is to be demolished while the Cathedral's future is decided.The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is the finest neo-Renaissance church in New Zealand. The cathedral (1901-05), with a high dome over the crossing, was designed by FW Petre and was much admired by George Bernard Shaw.
Boating on the Avon
Christchurch Club (closed)
Christchurch Club remains closed after significant damage from the earthquake on February 22, 2011. The Clubhouse is operating on an interim basis from Huntley Lodge, 67 Yaldhurst Road, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch.In Latimer Square, to the east of the cathedral, is the Christchurch Club (by Benjamin Mountfort, 1861), an imposing wooden building in Italian Renaissance style. This was the meeting place of the wool barons and owners of the great sheep farms. The writer Samuel Butler was also a member, though he complained that his fellow-members could talk of nothing but money and sheep.
Christ's College, to the north of the Canterbury Museum, was established soon after the foundation of Christchurch as a boys' secondary school in the tradition of the British grammar school. The earliest buildings date from 1857. The Big School (1863), designed by Superintendent FitzGerald, is the oldest school building still in use in New Zealand. The New Classrooms (1886) were designed by Benjamin Mountfort, the Dining Hall on the street front, the Hare Library with the clock and Jacob's House (1915-25) by Cecil Wood.
The statue fell from its place of honour during the February 2011 earthquake and the legs were broken off.Opposite the visitor center is a memorial honoring Robert Falcon Scott, who set out from Christchurch in 1912 on the expedition that took him to the South Pole after Roald Amundsen, and to his death on the return journey. The memorial, erected in 1917, was the work of his widow Kathleen (Lady Kennett), a sculptor.
St Michael and All Angels
To the west of the cathedral, is the church of St Michael and All Angels (by WF Crisp, 1872), the oldest surviving Anglican wooden church. It has a beautiful interior and fine stained glass. The free-standing bell tower (1861) was designed by Benjamin Mountfort.The 1872 Bevington three-manual pipe organ was damaged during the February 2011 earthquake. It was removed for repairs and renovation.
Centre of Contemporary Art (formerly Canterbury Society of Arts Gallery) (closed)
The gallery specializes in modern art. There is a showroom with works for sale.In 1996 the name was changed from Canterbury Society of Arts Gallery to The Centre of Contemporary Art (COCA).COCA remains closed after significant damage from the earthquake on February 22, 2011 and its subsequent aftershocks.
Mona Vale (closed)
Northwest of Hagley Park, on the banks of the Avon, is the mansion of Mona Vale (1905), set in a 4ha park planted with mature trees.The housed is leased as a restaurant and function center.Mona Vale remains closed after significant damage from the earthquake on February 22, 2011
Regent Theatre (closed)
The Regent Theatre remains closed after significant damage from the earthquake on February 22, 2011.The Edwardian-style Regent Theatre was built in 1905 as the Royal Exchange Building. It was converted into a cinema in 1930.
Theatre Royal (closed)
Theatre Royal remains closed after significant damage from the earthquake on February 22, 2011 and its subsequent aftershocks.The Edwardian-style Theatre Royal in nearby Gloucester Street was built in 1908 to the design of the Luttrell brothers. It has a very handsome auditorium.
The Christchurch Gondola takes passengers 500 metres above sea level. From the top there is a 360° view over Pegasus Bay and the Pacific Ocean to Kaikoura and across the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps.
Christchurch International Airport
Victoria Clock Tower
Northwest of the Town Hall is a clock tower that was originally intended for the Provincial Council Buildings but turned out to be too heavy for their roof. It was moved to its present site on a massive stone plinth in 1930.
Beyond the visitor center is the Women's Memorial, the city's newest bronze memorial, erected in 1993 on the 100th anniversary of the confirmation of women's right to vote.
Bridge of Remembrance
Further south is the Bridge of Remembrance, built in 1923 as a memorial to the New Zealanders who fell in the first world war.
State Trinity Centre
Behind the cathedral is the State Trinity Centre, originally a church (by Benjamin Mountfort, 1874) and now used for lectures and meetings.
In Victoria Square are a green-patinated bronze statue of Queen Victoria (1903) and another of Captain Cook (1932).
Town Hall (closed)
The Town Hall remains closed after significant damage from the earthquake on February 22, 2011.Northeast of the Provincial Council Buildings, in Victoria Square, is the eye-catching modern town hall (1972). This attractive and imposing building was designed by the Christchurch architects Warren and Mahoney. Within the complex are an auditorium seating 2000 and a restaurant.
Rugby, Cricket and Sport Museum
Map of Christchurch Attractions