The South Islands largest city, Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, historic buildings house a lively arts community and restored trams make it easy for visitors to get around. The first four ships arrived from England to settle Christchurch in 1850, and their legacy lives on in the citys grand heritage buildings and stately parks. Visit historic sites, museums and art galleries, and enjoy the highly developed restaurant scene. For an unforgettable scenic experience, travel up the Christchurch gondola or go punting on the Avon River.
n 22nd February 2011, an earthquake struck Christchurch causing widespead damage to buildings and infrastructure in the city. As a result the city centre has been severely affected and accommodation and tours to the city centre are not expected to return to normal until March 2012 at the earliest. Accommodation and tours on the outskirts of the city, with the exception of the township of Lyttleton, which was the epicentre of the earthquake are operating as normal.