One of our favourite tours to run is the Discover Christchurch city tour, where one of our friendly and fun guides shares facts and history about our great city while you admire the view from one of our restored double-decker buses. Christchurch sightseeing has never been more fun!
One of the comments we hear a lot, especially from locals, is how much new information they learned about the city. There are plenty of interesting stories to tell about Christchurch (which is one of the reasons we think everyone should check out our Discover Christchurch tour).
Here are just a few interesting facts about Christchurch that might inspire you to dig a little deeper into the city’s history:
New Zealand’s Biggest Urban Park
It only takes a quick glance at the map to figure out that Hagley Park is Christchurch’s biggest park. Created in 1855, the 164.6-hectare park has long been an important part of life in Christchurch. It serves as a venue for recreation, relaxation and outdoor events, as well as a major tourist attraction. But did you know that the park is also a heavy hitter nationally? It’s the biggest city park in the country.
There are only a dozen pairs of cities that are almost exactly on the opposite end of the earth from each other—Christchurch is one of these. If you were to start in Christchurch and dig straight through the centre of the earth, you’d wind up in A Coruna, Spain.
Gateway to the Antarctic
Ever since the Scott and Shackleton set off on their Discovery Expedition in 1901, Christchurch has been the world’s gateway to Antarctica. Evidence of the relationship between the Garden City and the world’s most desolate continent are visible: New Zealand, the US and Italy all have Antarctic research offices here, a statue of Scott (made by his widow) stands downtown, artefacts from early explorations are on display at the Canterbury Museum, and, of course, the Antarctic Centre is a major tourist attraction.
New Zealand’s Oldest City
Did you know that Christchurch was the first official city in New Zealand? It was registered as a city on the 31st of July, 1856, beating runner-up Nelson by two years.
Best in Travel 2013
Probably the least surprising fact of all: according to Lonely Planet, Christchurch is one of the world’s best ten cities to visit in 2013. According to the venerable travel guide publisher, “New Zealand’s ‘Garden City’ is rising from the rubble created by devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 with a breathtaking mix of spirit, determination and flair.” Checking out the city’s pop-up mall and gap filler projects is highly recommended and is an interesting contrast with the heritage sites still standing.