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New Zealand is such a diverse and dynamic country that you must visit a variety of regions to truly get a taste of the wonder that awaits. Christchurch is a glorious location, full of great restaurants, beautiful beaches, and outstanding museums. The gardens and cultural centers are fantastic, and the greater Christchurch area stretches from the Southern Alps all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The wide array of outdoor activities is one of the best features of Christchurch; from kayaking and golf, to sailing and mountain biking, the Mainland has it all. This is the nickname given to the area surrounding the airport, and perhaps the most charming feature of Christchurch is that 20 percent of the surface land is devoted to nature reservations, recreation facilities, and public parks. This exemplifies the care and concern that the local government and the citizens have for their community. They are a close-knit and respectful bunch, and you will find that the inhabitants of Christchurch are friendly and will assist you in any way they can.
An interesting and amusing aspect of Christchurch is that it is a very English city, one that was once under the rule of England and seems to have stayed that way. The architecture in the city is distinctly southern English, with Victorian-style buildings and quaint little homes. The streets and stores are cute and homey, and the majority of the time you will feel like you are in a small town in the country. But during the summer, when the weather heats up and everyone heads to the beach, the city really livens up and becomes a hot vacation spot. The air is crisp, the water blue, and the amenities plentiful. 337,000 people live in Christchurch, making it the largest city in the South Island. With all its lush plant life, it is definitely no coincidence that it has been named the Garden City of New Zealand. Gorgeous flowers and trees line the streets, colorful parks are plentiful, and the square in the center of town is radiant with elegance and grace. Sections of Christchurch can become bitterly cold in the winter time, making the other three seasons more favorable times to visit. But no matter when you visit, you are sure to leave energized and inspired.
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships dock at the Port of Christchurch, located at Private Bag 501 in Lyttelton. The downtown region of Christchurch is located 12km from the port, and is easily accessible by taxi and bus service.
Christchurch has an efficient bus transportation system. You could easily use this bus system as your sole means of transportation while in the city. Contact the Bus and Metro Infoline (03/366-8855) for specific information. Christchurch is ahead of the times in the transportation department, and features complimentary, pollution-free electric shuttle service for your convenience. It travels between the casino, Victoria Square, Cathedral Square, and other main attractions. If you would prefer to take a taxi, contact Blue Star Taxis (03/379-9799) for a ride. Or simply explore the charming streets of Christchurch on foot!
Passengers are not allowed to walk out of the port area for security reasons, so the local port authority provides a shuttle between the passenger terminal and the i-SITE Information Centre at the center of Lyttelton. Those wishing to explore Lyttelton should stop into the i-SITE office to pick up maps with local walking tours and information on local attractions, galleries, cafes and restaurants. The i-SITE also boasts an Internet center and telephones.
Getting Around
From Lyttelton to Christchurch most cruise lines offer shuttle service to the center of Christchurch. From Lyttelton, independent travelers can take one of two public bus routes (numbers 35 and 28) to Christchurch. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes. Taxis are also available.
In Christchurch On Foot: Christchurch is an easy city to navigate on foot. Most attractions are an easy walk.
Bus: Metro bus service is available to most suburbs and outlying areas. A station can be found on Lichfield Street.
Tram: A historic tram runs a 1.6-mile loop throughout the City Centre, providing a fun way to get around. A two-day unlimited ticket costs about NZ $15 for adults. Please note that, depending on your destination, waling might be faster.
Taxis: There are various taxi companies, including Blue Star taxis, Christchurch Taxis and First Direct Taxis. All have meters, and most accept credit cards.

Things To See and Do
The International Antarctic Centre is located at 33 Orchard Rd. (03/353-7798) and is an extraordinary learning opportunity for the whole family. It is part zoo and part nature conservation site. The penguin colony is fantastic, and you can walk right along with them, observing their every move. You can pet leopard seals whose coats have all the markings of the jungle cats they're named for. The exhibits are housed in environments that are distinctly realistic, with chilly arctic rooms that can be no warmer than zero degrees! Everything seems incredibly true-to-life, and the audiovisual presentation is unbelievable. All the exhibits are 100 percent interactive, making this a wonderful hands-on experience for children and adults alike.
The Canterbury Museum can be found on Rolleston Avenue (03/366-5000) and is a wonderful site that is surrounded by other great sightseeing destinations. The museum itself traces the history and exploration of the continents, specializing in Antarctica. One of the best features within the Canterbury Museum is the Natural History Discovery Centre, which is a must for everyone who is visiting Christchurch. Next to the museum are the meticulously-manicured Botanic Gardens (03/941-7590). The Christchurch Art Gallery (03/941-7300) is next to the museum as well, and it offers visitors a glimpse into spectacular New Zealand art exhibits.
There is so much to do in Christchurch that it leaves visitors literally spoilt for choice. Whether you are into the arts and cultural activities, events and festivals, shopping and eating out or museums and gardens it is all only minutes from 298 Westside Motor Lodge, one of the city's top motels.
The beautiful city of Christchurch is not only famous for its stunning gardens, but also for a plethora of things to do and see. Below attractions in Christchurch that shouldn't be overlooked during your stay at Westside Motel in Christchurch.
 International Antarctic Centre
Located just 17 minutes' drive from our motel and a short walk to Christchurch International Airport is the International Antarctic Centre.
Twice judged New Zealand's best attraction, the centre is a must see when visiting Christchurch. It is from here that most Antarctic missions are planned. A visit to this tourist attraction will educate and enthrall you about thehuman impact on Antarctica, the wildlife and plant systems and the continent's effect on the rest of the world.
Christchurch Gondola
When visiting a city for the first time, there is no better way to start your trip than to get the best view possible of the area you're going to be exploring. An elevated view of Christchurch and surrounding areas is there for the taking thanks to the 360 degree views on offer atop the Christchurch Gondola.
Located just 15 minutes from Christchurch's city centre and just a minutes' drive further from your Christchurch motel at 298 Riccarton Road, the Christchurch Gondola is open 7 days a week and offers breathtaking views of Christchurch's cityscape, as well as the Canterbury Plains, the beautiful Southern Alps and the dramatic hills of Banks Peninsula.
 Air Force Museum of New Zealand
Just 5 minutes’ drive from your Christchurch motel accommodation establishment is where you’ll find one of the world’s premier military aviation collections.
The Air Force Museum of New Zealand preserves the history of the Royal New Zealand Air Force for reasons of commemoration and inspiration as well as education and enjoyment. There are literally over 1 million collector items on display for visitors to Christchurch to see, including 28 classic aircraft, engines, assorted parts, medals, uniforms and weapons.
Canterbury Museum
Just a short walk from your motel accommodation is the world-renowned Canterbury Museum, featuring a number of outstanding Maori and European exhibits for visitors to Christchurch to discover.  this must-see museum is housed in a grand historic stone building, quite fittingly in Christchurch’s cultural precinct. It offers a fabulous insight into the natural history, heritage and culture of Christchurch and the entire Canterbury region.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Considered the jewel of the city, Christchurch Botanic Gardens is a must-see during your visit to Christchurch.
Literally just a hop, skip and jump from your motel on Riccarton Road, these gardens boast one of the most impressive collections of both native and exotic New Zealand plants, some of the tallest and largest trees in the country and a variety of other beautiful flora and fauna from around the world. Just over 1 million visitors grace their presence at this wonderful free attraction each year.
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre is a stunning multi-purpose building within the grounds of the gardens and features a function room for conferences and weddings, a café and gift shop. It is open daily from 8.30am – 5pm.
Throughout the year, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens hosts various great events including lectures about caring for native plants, the Autumn School Holiday Discovery Trail, the Autumn Art Programme and a talk about Scottish Gardens and Plant Explorers by one of the Botanic Gardens guides.
Quake City
Co-ordinated by Canterbury Museum, Quake City is a unique exhibition that was opened in 2013 to provide visitors to Christchurch with an engaging, informative and educational insight into Canterbury earthquakes that took place from 2010 – 2011.
The exhibition was opened to provide visitors and locals of the devastation, tragedies and opportunities that resulted from the earthquakes. Quake City features everything from shattered pieces of glass from Christchurch Cathedral to photos of emergency services teams during the aftermath. The exhibition also pays tribute to those in Christchurch that have been part of the whole recovery process.
Quake City is located on Cashel Street in the middle of the city centre and easily accessible from your Riccarton Road accommodation 298 Westside Motor Lodge. It costs $20 for adults and children accompanied by an adult are free. It is open from 10am – 5pm daily.
Hagley Park
Hagley Park features 165 hectares of wide open green spaces and mature woodlands, making it the go-to place to relax and unwind and suck in the fresh air during your trip to Christchurch. Hagley Park borders the Avon River and Christchurch Botanic Gardens, combining to make the most impressive park area in New Zealand. It has been at the heart of Christchurch since the 1850s, during which time it was set aside for recreation and enjoyment for locals.
Today, Hagley Park is the most popular place in Christchurch to walk, run and cycle. The park is divided into North and South Hagley Parks and features cycle tracks and pathways through and around the park. Hagley Park also features netball courts, a golf course as well as football and rugby pitches. The park also hosts circuses and open-air concerts throughout the year.
Mountain Biking Port Hills
The Port Hills of Christchurch attracts thousands of locals and visitors every year and is largely regarded as the best place to enjoy panoramic views of Christchurch by day and night.What will be a surprise to many New Zealand and overseas visitors is that this range of hills is also the go-to location for avid mountain biking enthusiasts. Situated just 10 minutes’ drive from your motel accommodation at Westside Motor Lodge, Port Hills offers an endless network of tracks and views that reach from the Pacific Ocean to the Southern Alps.
The Port Hills are an eroded remnant of the Lyttleton Volcano which erupted millions of years ago. The tracks on Port Hills feature tussock grasslands and rugged rocky outcrops and provide a wonderful opportunity for cyclists to get away from Christchurch city and amongst a stunning natural environment.
During 2015 construction will begin on a $25 million, 358 hectare Adventure Park in the Port Hills. It will include more than 100km of downhill mountain bike routes, a 1.8km chairlift for people and bikes, a 2km zip line through forest, a mountain coaster and a restaurant and bar that will seat up to 180 people.
Punting on the Avon River
One of the oldest and still most popular things to do in Christchurch is punting down the tranquil Avon River in Christchurch.
Just a short walk from your Riccarton Road motel is an Avon River Punting Tour company that will slowly propel you down the river on a handcrafted, flat-bottomed boat, poled along by an experienced punter.
Punting on the Avon River is seen as the perfect family or group activity and an eco-friendly way to relax and experience Christchurch’s surrounds from another perspective. You have the choice of heading through Christchurch Botanic Gardens and witnessing Christchurch’s flora and fauna at its best, or the alternative route that takes you through the heart of the city.
If you plan to stay in Christchurch for at least a couple of days, it’s highly recommended that you take the 1 hour and 20 minute drive to experience the alluring French character of the little town called Akaroa. Situated on the south-eastern side of the deep, sheltered Akaroa Harbour, the township of Akaroa features colonial architecture, galleries, craft stores and cafes.
Once you arrive in Akaroa there is plenty to do. You can take 4WD trips to Flea Bay which is home to the largest little penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Alternatively you can indulge in some sea kayaking amongst spectacular surroundings or even take a harbour nature cruise. There are also cycle tours and a wonderful range of walking tracks. There are plenty of other things to do in Akaroa as well.
Adrenalin Forest
For visitors to Christchurch with a thirst for excitement, a rush or a challenge, be sure to check out Christchurch’s Adrenalin Forest.
Located just 20 minutes from Christchurch city centre, it is an adventure park that allows you to fly, jump, swing and scream through tree tops as part of 2km long obstacle course. There are 7 different courses that range from 1 metre – 20 metres off the ground. Challenges increase in difficulty the higher you get. There are bridges, nets to cross, barrels, swings and flying foxes. Adrenalin Forest provides a great test of confidence and is affordable fun for the whole family. It is listed as #24 of 131 activities to do in Christchurch.

For surfing, the best beach in Christchurch is Taylor's Mistake. Be sure to exercise caution, because the waves are menacing. The homes on the shore, called baches, are cute little domiciles that demand a look. From the top of the cliffs the view is exquisite, and the trail from Taylor's Mistake to Boulder Bay is a great walk. Perhaps the all-around most popular beach in Christchurch is Sumner, an excellent spot for swimming, playing volleyball, or just hanging out. The beach atmosphere is relaxing, and the water conditions are splendid. Cafes and bars line the street, and there is plenty to do around Sumner other than lay on the shore. The recent building of the New Brighton Pier has made New Brighton Beach , a local favorite.
Outdoor Sports
The golfing in Christchurch is fantastic, and there are over forty golf courses in the vicinity. Christchurch Golf Club's (45 Horseshoe Lake Rd., 03/385-9506) well-kept fairways stretch for sixty acres. The landscape is picturesque, and the playing conditions are outstanding. If you are interested in kayaking in some ferocious white-water, contact Bivouac Outdoor (03/366-3197).
Eating Out
Christchurch offers a wide array of culinary options, from affordable ethnic eateries to elegant dining experiences. Many restaurants and cafes pride themselves on using local and seasonal ingredients; try the fresh New Zealand seafood or spring lamb. And, on market days at the Arts Centre, be sure to sample the many ethnic food stalls, offering everything from Spanish paella and German sausages to hand-tossed pizza and homemade sweets.  The Mythai is located at 84 Hereford St. (03/365-1295) and features spectacular Thai food and an energetic ambiance. The pork, beef, lamb, and chicken are all excellent. Canterbury Tales, found at the Crowne Plaza on the corner of Durham and Kilmore Streets (03/365-7799), serves top notch New Zealand cuisine
The Botanical Gardens offers two dining options: The Curator's House (Rolleston Ave./Cashel Street, from 10 a.m. daily) uses fresh, regional ingredients for a diverse menu with a Spanish/Tapas influence. The more casual Garden Café offers light lunches and afternoon tea.
The Antigua Boatshed Cafe enjoys a romantic riverside location and is open for breakfast and lunch. In addition to the dine-in menu, the cafe will be happy to pack picnic hampers for guests to enjoy lunch on the river.
Fiddlesticks bar and grill, located at 48 Worcester Boulevard, offers fresh local fare in a relaxing atmosphere. Watch people stroll by as you dine, or have a seat outside in the courtyard near a roaring fire.
Tiffany's, at 95 Oxford Terrace, offers a slightly more upscale dining experience at a moderate price point. You'll find items like caprese salad, beef carpaccio, king salmon, Canterbury duck, and truffle and potato mash on the menu, among various other items, including a selection of desserts
The city has a number of suburban malls. Westfield Riccarton (tel. 03/348-4119; www.westfield.co.nz/riccarton) has more than 200 shops over two levels; the bus stops right outside the door. Northlands Mall, in Papanui (tel. 03/352-6535; www.northlands.co.nz), has 135 stores. The Palms, in Shirley (tel. 03/385-3067; www.thepalms.co.nz), has more than 110 stores, a big entertainment complex, and good bus services. The recently revamped Merivale Mall (tel. 03/355-9692; www.merivalemall.co.nz) is smaller with around 40 stores, but features a pricier range of designer shops and boutiques. All malls are open daily.
The Arts Centre Market offers a good range of quirky and quality items. Stallholders sell everything from hand-knitted, 100% New Zealand wool, garments to jewelry, clothing, housewares, candles, toys, and handcrafted soaps. Because of the earthquakes this market is now staged at the Ferrymead Heritage Park.
Riccarton Rotary Market (tel. 03/339-0011; www.riccartonmarket.co.nz), which you’ll find Sundays from 8am at Riccarton Racecourse, on Racecourse Road, Upper Riccarton, is supposedly New Zealand’s biggest outdoor market and attracts over 300 vendors. Arrive early to get the best bargains. The goods are predominantly secondhand, but there are some good buys in sheepskin products and crafts. You’ll need to sift through everything as there’s a lot of junk, but it’s a good cultural study.
Christchurch’s inner city shopping precincts have been severely impacted by the earthquakes. The suburb of Sydenham is due to be rebuilt first and some retailers are open in temporary premises in Cashel Mall. More will come onstream as the new city develops. Top-quality New Zealand arts, crafts, and jewelry can be found at Form Gallery, in the new Christchurch Art Gallery (tel. 03/377-1211; www.form.co.nz).
Made in New Zealand
Head for Untouched World, 155 Roydvale Ave. (tel. 03/357-9399; www.untouchedworld.com), where you’ll find a stunning range of top-quality, New Zealand-made wool garments. It has a delightful setting with a top-end restaurant and native garden.
J. Ballantyne & Co., at City Mall and Colombo Street (tel. 03/379-7400), is still seen as the department store in Christchurch. It has been operating with distinctive style for over 100 years and its Contemporary Lounge is a good spot for top international clothing and accessories brands that can’t be found elsewhere on the South Island.

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