Pick up your hire car at Christchurch airport and explore this most English of New Zealand's cities.
"We’ve got it all. If you want historical or arty stuff you can find it in town. If you want beaches or adrenalin kicks you can find them just outside of it. What else is there?”
Christchurch at once manages to retain a traditional small-town charm and, as New Zealand's second-largest city, an energetic and vibrant scene.
Lively. It offers an eclectic mix of outdoor and indoor pursuits, and has bags of historic charm and buzzing cosmopolitanism.
Friendly, adventurous, sporty and outgoing, the residents of Christchurch are a hospitable bunch, who pride themselves on the natural beauty of their "Garden City".
Christchurch is a seasonal town, which means the summers really are summers: they last for months rather than a disappointing long weekend.
Four words: Hokey Pokey ice-cream. It's rich vanilla mixed with crunchy nuggets of honeycomb. Try it - you'll think you've died and gone to heaven.
Christchurch-born soprano Hayley Westenra is one of the biggest-selling classical artists in the world.
Officially recognised as a city by royal charter on 31 July 1856, Christchurch is the oldest metropolis in New Zealand.
"Everywhere there is an understated elegance that speaks of times gone by and promises a future where anything is possible." - www.christchurch.org.nz
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This houses an impressive collection of historic and contemporary art works. Its opulent and eye-catching metal-and-glass exterior is worth the trip alone.
In the gallery's underground car park or on Gloucester Street.
Christchurch's English roots come into focus when you see its beautiful Anglican cathedral. Dominating the city's stately square, it has a stunning Gothic interior. A climb up the bell tower offers unbeatable panoramic views.
The council operates a number of city-centre parking buildings and there's metered parking available on nearby streets.
This interactive science and technology centre is great for families and big kids alike. Try astronaut training on the "human gyroscope" or a game of glow-in-the-dark mini-golf.
Free on-site parking is available.
New Zealand's most popular visitor attraction brings the inhospitable Antarctic to life through outdoor adventure trails, rides in all-terrain vehicles, penguin encounters and simulated storms.
There's an on-site pay-and-display car park.
These beautiful gardens feature sweeping lawns, shimmering ponds, tree-lined walkways and an abundance of exquisite flora. A perfect spot to seek some tranquillity.
There are car parks in nearby Armagh Street and Riccarton Avenue.
Need a fix of unspoilt nature? Take a trip south-east of Christchurch to this magnificent coastal lake, the biggest in the region of Canterbury and the fifth largest in New Zealand.
Head south on the Halswell Road, then take Tai Tupo Road and continue south to Greenpark Huts. It's a 40-minute drive.
Motor north to the Hurunui district for a dose of sun, sea, sand and "surfcasting", a form of hardcore, beach-based fishing that makes for a unique viewing experience.
Take the Main North Road out of the city on to the Christchurch Northern Motorway. Stay on it for six miles, then get back on to the Christchurch Northern Motorway. After eight miles, take Ashworths Road for three miles and head north. It's a half-hour drive.
If you're looking for perfect photo opportunities, try this traditional Maori region, first sighted by Captain Cook in 1769. It has volcanic landscapes, verdant green hills and quaint harbour towns.
It's a 50-minute drive. Head south-west for four miles through the town of Halswell on Halswell Road and then take Tai Tapu Road for four miles. Drive along Christchurch Akaron Road for 35 miles, then follow Okains Bay Road for three miles and Summit Road for one mile.
This ski resort is an hour-and-a-half's drive west of Christchurch. Home to the highest mountain peak in New Zealand and with awesome, rugged aesthetics, it's ideal for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Take West Coast Road for 20 miles, then follow Bangor Road for five miles, Wairiri Road for five miles, Windwhistle Road for six miles, Raikiki Gorge Road for four miles and Arundel Waikiki Gorge Road for six miles.
" In the city, there's hardly any traffic and signs are clearly visible - so it's easy to drive around. But do look out for pedestrians because they not only cross the road in a straight line, but also diagonally, from corner to corner. Hiring a car is good if you want to explore attractions outside Christchurch that can't be reached easily by public transport, like Orana Wildlife Park. There are not always barriers at the edges of mountain roads, so take the turnings slowly and stick to the right side. "