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New Zealand

Experience Christchurch of today

Published in the Spring 2013 Issue of Canadian World Traveller
By Ruth Atherley

The city of Christchurch is in full swing with its exciting rebuild plan after the earthquakes it experienced a little over two years ago. The city and the surrounding region of Canterbury offer many things to do, places to stay and eat, and are absolutely ready to welcome visitors.

In true Kiwi form, the people of Christchurch are focusing on finding the silver lining and while remembering and honouring the past, they are embracing the future. The focus is now on creating a world-class city that engages both locals and visitors. A blueprint plan that concentrates on creating an accessible, world-class city that showcases all the fabulous activities, restaurants, accommodation and business opportunities that Christchurch has to offer has been developed and is in the process of being brought to life.

Experience Christchurch of today

While the people of Christchurch are looking forward, they realize that many visitors want to better understand what happened two years ago. Quake City is an interactive experience that outlines the science and the human interest elements behind the earthquakes. Punting on the Avon is one of the most popular activities in Christchurch and now visitors can take the tour through the “red zone” – now the rebuild zone. Here you can see the work being done and get an up-close view of the uncrushable Kiwi spirit that shines through as the city is recreated. In fact, each day many of the areas of the city are being reopened to the public and, as this happens, you can see the joy and pride in the faces of the people who call Christchurch home.

You can also check out the Cardboard Cathedral. This structure is being built to temporarily replace the historic Christchurch Cathedral, which was damaged during the earthquakes. Church services will be held in the Cardboard Cathedral, which is made of paper tubes coated with waterproof polyurethane, and is expected to open in June 2013 with seating for 700.

Shop and sip

For those interested in shopping, the Re:START mall is an area that offers some of the best New Zealand designers. Re:START may not be the first shipping container shopping mall in the world, but it is one of the most creative, appealing and – a priority in New Zealand – fun! Over 50 retailers are located right in the heart of the city, including great cafés, the perfect place to rest your weary feet after a morning of trying on designer duds and checking out the bright, vibrant and energetic area. There is also New Regent Street, which is a quaint street full of shops and boutiques – and, of course, cafés. After all, shopping and coffee were made for each other.

Discover the magic of the Canterbury region

While Christchurch is a fabulous city, visitors are also encouraged to venture out into the Canterbury region. And who better to show it to you than a fifth generation Canterburian – a real local. A local’s local, if you will. David Hiatt runs Canterbury Guiding Company, a specialized tour provider that offers excursions that you just can’t get anywhere else. He knows winemakers and cheese makers, farmers and artisans and, relevant to his guests’ interests, he makes magic happen. David and his team know every inch of the Canterbury region – the wineries, the restaurants, the trails, the farms and the people. If the guests want it, David can make it happen. One day it might be a behind-the-scenes chat and tasting with a cheese maker. The next day, it might be a balloon ride to view the mountains and sea or a wine tasting with the winemaker. One thing is for certain – David is the guy to take people to see the Canterbury that the residents know and love.

Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.ca) has direct non-stop flights from Vancouver to Auckland and offers flights from many other North American cities.

For more information about New Zealand, please visit: www.NewZealand.com.