My flight from the Gold Coast airport (just south of Brisbane) to Christchurch New Zealand was a shockingly cheap 90 USD! I love a good seat sale! I landed in Christchurch in the late evening and met with new friend Chantal of the Renne Lauzon family whom I would be staying with for the next few days. I had arrived in New Zealand just as autumn was passing by and winter was blowing its cool breeze across many a sheep herd. For the next month I would travel across the entire country with the famous tour company Kiwi Experience.
Christchurch was established in 1850 by English settlers. Its English heritage shows in the older buildings, especially the Anglican Cathedral in The Square in the very center of the city. The River Avon flows through the center of town and disrupts the regular rectangular layout of the city streets.
Known as The Garden City, a well deserved name…one can not help but feel the presence of the countries British roots. Christchurch is also a hub for New Zealand’s foreign-student education for the Asian market. English-as-a-second-language schools can be found in abundance and in the tourist areas I even felt a bit out of place as I was outnumbered by Asians. I chatted with a few of them who were from Korea and we chirped in my broken Korean together.
I really enjoyed walking along the River Avon through the cities Botanical Gardens. I also spent a great deal of time poking my head in and out of the Arts Centre, a gothic stonework of a former University campus converted into a complex of over 40 specialty art and craft businesses and performance venues.
Christchurch is the largest city on the south island and is an excellent and relaxing spot to start your Kiwi holiday.