The ‘Garden City' of Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand and the gateway to the Canterbury region and other parts of the South Island. It has long been regarded as the country's most English city, with neo-gothic architecture, a winding river, punting students and weeping willows making it a most enchanting city.
While its charming colonial centre was damaged in an earthquake in 2011, a rebuilding project took place and the beauty of the area wasn't diminished.
The international airport remains the arrival point for most South Island visitors and, from here, it is easy to venture out to the unaffected Banks Peninsula. Perhaps make for Mount Cook on a self-drive or explore the many highlights of the central South Island.