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Take a trip to Christchurch, New Zealand

Known as the Garden City, Christchurch is the largest urban area on New Zealand's South Island. Traditionally considered the most English of the country's cities, Christchurch is located on the east coast, where it acts as a major stepping off point for touring the South Island. With expansive parks and public gardens, as well as the stately Anglican cathedral, restored laneways and squares and an emerging multicultural scene, visitors to the city often find that there is much to discover.

The city

Christchurch was officially named by the Canterbury Association on March 27th, 1848, after John Robert Godley suggested the city be named after his old university Christ Church, Oxford.

Built on the River Avon, the Maori name for the city is Otautahi (the place of Tautahi), named after chief Te Potiki Tautahi who lived in the area, although the city was called Karaitiana by the Maori until the 1930s.

With its bountiful gardens, expansive parks, architectural charms and central squares, the city has developed a reputation as one of the must-sees of New Zealand. In fact, the city's wide array of open spaces and flowering plants led to it being named Overall Winner of Major Cities in the Nations in Bloom International Competition, making it the Garden City of the World.

Getting around

Designed using a simple grid format, Christchurch is usually easy to navigate. The garden city is mostly flat, ensuring that many people take advantage of the temperate climate and use bicycles to get around.

The bus service serves the city through the enclosed airport-style Bus Exchange on the corner of Colombo and Lichfield Streets, while the free diesel-electric yellow Shuttle orbits the inner-city area every ten minutes.

Another option for getting around the city is the restored Christchurch Tramway, which runs in a smaller loop around the inner city, while the Best Attractions Shuttle links the city's major attractions such as the International Antarctic Centre, the gondola and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.

In the city and outside it

According to Christine Prince, chief executive of Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism, visitors to the city can enjoy riverside and laneway bars, cafes and shopping, while those who want to escape the countryside will find mountains, lakes, coasts and the plains are within an hour or two of Christchurch.

A city of festivals

Christchurch prides itself as being a cultural city and there is no shortage of festivals taking place throughout the year to ensure it lives up to its name.

The Eureka Trust World Buskers Festival, taking place this year from January 21st to January 31st, attracts street artists from all over the world, including musicians, jugglers, comedians and acrobats.

Christchurch's Arts Festival, the South Island's largest arts event, features plays, musicians, dance shows and artistic performances and takes place every second year in July and August.

During the summer months of December to March, the city hosts the Garden City SummerTimes which includes events celebrating a wide range of cultures, including the Chinese Lantern Festival and Waitangi Day.

Sporting events

Known for its love of rugby, New Zealand offers plenty of events and activities for sports lovers.

The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Championship is set to return to Christchurch again this year, between Thursday 21st and Sunday 24th of January, while the city will also host three top international teams during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. England, Australia and Argentina will respectively be based at QEII, Rugby Park and Christ's College in the South Island city during the tournament.ADNFCR-2328-ID-19539006-ADNFCR

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