Canoeing on the Avon in Botanical Gardens Christchurch, New Zealand (Alissa Kempler)

Pontooning on the Avon in Christchurch, New Zealand (Alissa Kempler)


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What to do in Christchurch

Visitors often use Christchurch as a basecamp for South Island adventures, but nature takes center stage even within the city limits. Acres of parkland, botanic gardens, wildlife preserves, and the Avon River lure attention from the surrounding mountains. To the south, Banks Peninsula boasts two natural harbors, the seaside village of Akaroa, and 22-mile Banks Peninsula Track, the first privately owned hiking route in the country. A series of powerful earthquakes hit the city in 2010 and 2011, and the Kiwis used that opportunity to further the city’s relationship with Mother Nature. New buildings top out at seven stories, the central business district was reduced in size, and new streets are more pedestrian-friendly, making it even easier to wander the city’s grid of squares, gardens, and resurrected architecture.

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