Besides being known as the 'Garden City' because of its parks and gardens, Christchurch is also famous for being the world's main gateway to the Antarctic.
Being a cosmopolitan city, the soul of the city lies in the Cathedral Sqaure and is best explored by getting on board a historical beautifully decorated tram that takes you on a journey making stops at the Worcester Bridge, Art Gallery, Clock Tower, Hagley Park, New Regent Street and not forgetting the Botanic Gardens and Mona Vale Homestead. Stop at the International Antarctica Centre to experience a ‘mock’ blizzard with temperatures dropping to minus 20 degrees Celsius. You can opt to ride in an all-terrain Antarctic Hagglund snowmobile.
1. Lake Tekapo - to view the stunning turquoise blue hue of the lake 2. Good Shepherd Church - host to thousands of weddings 3. Lake Pukaki - for shots of the incredible South Alps Range
What's really great:
Mt Cook on a cloudy day
1. Leaving Christchurch to see New Zealand’s highest mountain known as MOUNT COOK or AORAKI (in Maori it means the Cloud Piercer), which stands at 3,754 metres. At the alpine village, I checked into Hermitage Hotel and got a room with a balcony view of Mt Cook. Imagine waking up in the morning to a sight of a majestic towering mountain. It simply took my breath away! 2. Hiking to the base of Mt Tasman for glacier viewing. The murky lake is framed with the backdrop of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps. 3. Going on a magical scenic flight over the powerfully emotive landscapes of Mt Cook, the famous Franz Josef Glacier combined with a thrilling snow landing – an experience you will always remember.
In a mock blizzard at the Antarctic Centre
1.The Kiwi Wildlife Experience Centre - to catch kiwis in a mock habitat.
2. The Gondola Restaurant - for stunning views of Christchurch.
3. The Christchurch Cathedral Climb to the tower to view the city centre.
1. The Hermitage (Mt Cook) - for incredible views of Mt Cook
2. The Copthrone Hotel - just smacked in the Cathedral Square giving easy access to many shops and cafes.
I truly recommend the Panorama Restaurant at The Hermitage (Mt Cook). The fine cuisine is a class of its own, and do remember to opt for the 4 course dinner with drinks rather than the usual buffet dinner. If you are divinely delighted, don't forget to purchase their very own cookbook!