|The most visible landmark in Christchurch is Christchurch Cathedral and the Square. This is an angelical cathedral which was finished in 1904 and is in the centre of the city. The cathedral is open for viewing daily and there is further information about it in the city visitor centre in the old post office building.
Outside, the Square is a good place to people-watch and listen, or ignore, the various public speakers and preachers!
Exhibits within the Canterbury Museum give an interesting look at both Maori and colonial history, as well as natural history and an Antarctic exploration display, though for an even more impressive Antarctic display, visit the International Antarctic Centre. This has many exhibits about science missions to the Antarctic along with a simulated Antarctic experience complete with polar weather and a ride on an all-terrain vehicle! You can also see penguins here, though if you’re interested in animals there are several other attractions in Christchurch where you can see some.
The Orana Wildlife Park is the largest wildlife sanctuary and conservation project in New Zealand and features endangered species from around the world, whereas the smaller Willowbank Wildlife Reserve concentrates on native species including the kiwi.
For more kiwi viewing, try the Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House in the Cathedral Square where there is viewing of nocturnal brown kiwis in addition to a walk-through aquarium with native fish and sea-life.
To see more species which are indigenous to New Zealand, the Botanic Gardens has over 30 hectares of indigenous as well as exotic plants. This, and the neighbouring Hagley Park, is a very pleasant setting on the Avon River. Talking of the Avon River, you can enjoy a ride along this is an old fashioned English punt!
Christchurch is separated from Lyttleton Harbour by the Port Hills and you can go up the Port Hills be a variety of means, including the Christchurch Gondola. This gondola, which you can reach by shuttle bus from Cathedral Square, takes you up to the summit. There are wonderful views from here of Christchurch, as well as the Southern Alps and Lyttleton Harbour. In addition you can view the Heritage Time Tunnel and enjoy nature walks.
Lyttleton itself is an attractive port town which is worth taking a visit to. It is very different to Christchurch and if you’re there on a Saturday go to the Lyttleton Farmers Market which is a great place to stock up on some local fresh produce, honeys, cheeses and home-baking amongst other things.