Walk anywhere in central Christchurch and you’ll be met with a number of Instagram-worthy moments. After being devastated by the massive Feb 22, 2011 earthquake, the city has been embellished by a contrasting juxtaposition of modern art installations amid the architectural fixtures that continue to sustain its English charm. These 10 photogenic spots aptly showcase this remarkable transformation.
New Regent Street
New Regent Street is a colourful, open-space pedestrian mall that has been adorning central Christchurch since the 1930s. Once named New Zealand’s most beautiful street, this narrow commercial area is known for its vibrant Spanish Mission-style architecture and lovely boutique shops, cafes and eateries. If you’re getting shutter-happy, make sure to time your picture to coincide with the arrival of the tourist tram: New Regent Street is one of the key stops on its route.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
You’ll often hear Christchurch being referred to as New Zealand’s
Garden City, a moniker that stems from the sheer diversity of parks and gardens
all around it. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens in particular were founded in 1863 with the planting of an English oak tree in commemoration of the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Besides featuring a massive collection of seasonal plants from New Zealand and abroad, the Botanic Gardens are dotted with picturesque sculptures and art installations.
Originally established by two boat builders in 1882, the Antigua Boat Sheds allow Christchurch’s locals and visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beautiful Avon River. From the very start, this has been the place to hire out boats and sail across the clear waterways. These days there’s also a cafe on-site, a bike hire service and the Boat Sheds are also the departure point for one of the city’s famous River Punting
Mona Vale is a public park in the suburb of Fendalton. Its iconic homestead, which was originally known as Karewa, was built for the Managing Director of Canterbury Frozen Meats, Frederick Waymouth, in 1899-1900. Waymouth sold the house to Annie Townend in 1905 and she renamed it Mona Vale after her mother’s abode in Tasmania. Townend added a gate house to the premises, which, alongside the homestead itself, currently holds New Zealand Heritage
status. In modern times, the Mona Vale house has been re-purposed as a cafe, while its English gardens are a popular venue for events and weddings.
is, historically, the physical and symbolic heart of Christchurch. Until the 2011 earthquake, this was where many major events and festivals were held. The area had to be closed off for a couple of years, but it has slowly been regaining its place as a strong community fixture since reopening. Its famous Chalice sculpture is still standing strong, and the fencing around the Christchurch Cathedral
offers an embellishing touch to the damaged structure as the rebuilding powers through.
Building, Cathedral, Church
The Transitional Cardboard Cathedral in Latimer Square is the temporary home of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch while the Christchurch Cathedral is being restored. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed this remarkable structure, which is composed of a series of 60-centimetre (24 inch)-diameter cardboard tubes, polycarbon roofing, triangular stained glass windows and eight shipping containers along its walls. The cathedral is used for church services as well as local events.
185 White Chairs
The 185 White Chairs is an art installation that pays tribute to the lives lost in the February 2011 earthquake. This solemn memorial was originally envisaged as a temporary installation, but its popularity has been such that there’s currently plans to make it permanent. Many of the chairs were donated by the victims’ families and loved ones. These were originally placed on the site of the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church but have remained in their current site, just around the corner from the Cardboard Cathedral, since October 2012.
The Bridge of Remembrance
A stone bridge with a large, ornate archway that crosses the Avon River at edge of Cashel Mall. As its name suggests, the Bridge of Remembrance was erected as a war memorial – initially in honour of the soldiers who battled in the First World War, but later to also mark the efforts of those who participated in the Second World War as well as the conflicts in Borneo, Malaya, Korea and Vietnam. The bridge was temporary closed for earthquake strengthening in 2012, but has since returned to its former glory.
Sumner Beach is one of Christchurch’s most popular beaches
. On a sunny summer’s day you’ll typically see locals and visitors alike strolling along the picturesque promenade, chilling out by the white sands or swimming and surfing in the mild waters. If you’re travelling with family, make sure to visit on a low tide so you can explore Cave Rock. This unusual volcanic formation has, for many years, served as a natural playground for local children.
The Port Hills connect Christchurch to the neighbouring port town of Lyttelton
. Many people visit it to get a solid hiking and cycling
fix; others prefer to get to the top through a scenic gondola ride. Whichever option you choose, the journey will gift you plenty of stunning views of Christchurch – there’ll be plenty of opportunities to capture that ultimate landscape snapshot.