Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand with a population of around 350,000, making it the second largest city in the country after Auckland.
It is on the edge of the Canterbury plains and is a major stepping off point for touring the South Island.
Christchurch was established in 1850 by English settlers. Its English heritage shows in the older buildings, especially the Anglican Cathedral in the Square in the very center of the city.
The River Avon flows through the central city and disrupts the regular rectangular layout of the city streets.
Christchurch is known as the Garden City, a well-deserved name. Looking from a few floors up, one is struck by the number of trees that grow like a forest throughout the suburbs.
International tourism, especially foreign-student education for the Asian market, is a growing sector of the Christchurch economy, as is electronics and software development. Because of this there is a high concentration of cyber-cafes here, particularly in the Asian tourist-friendly areas around the Square.