Located on New Zealand’s South Island, the city of Christchurch and its surrounding suburbs make up one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas. It is the second-largest city in New Zealand after Auckland with a population of nearly 380,000 people.
Flights to Christchurch arrive at Christchurch International Airport (CHC). The airport is located a little more than seven miles from the center of the city in the suburb of Harewood. Direct international flights to Christchurch International Airport are available from more than ten countries via twelve different airlines. Popular flights include Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Christchurch and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Christchurch.
Founded in 1856 by the British, Christchurch is the oldest incorporated city in New Zealand, but the location where the city now stands was home to a number of indigenous groups of Maori people dating back to 1000 CE, including the Waitaha and Ngati Mamoe. The city is named for Christ Church Cathedral in England.
Many of the leisure travelers who book plane tickets to Christchurch come to the region in order to vacation at ski resorts located in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. The area is a popular destination for Japanese tourists. Travelers who arrive on flights to Christchurch will find that much of the signage at Christchurch International Airport and in the city is written in Japanese as well as in English.
Tourist attractions within Christchurch itself include the city’s many parks, gardens, and open green spaces. Nicknamed “The Garden City,” Christchurch is home to Hagley Park, a 407-acre green space in the center of the city that was established in 1855. The 30-acre Christchurch Botanic Gardens, founded in 1863, is home to a wide variety of plants, flowers, and trees and is also located near the city center.
Business travelers who book flights to Christchurch often work in heavy industry, manufacturing, or in the technology sector. The city is home to companies that produce steel for commercial construction and infrastructure such as bridges and dams.
Christchurch’s tech sector consists of electronics manufacturers, software companies, and several startups founded by alumni of the University of Canterbury’s College of Engineering and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.
For many years, the city of Christchurch also served as an important base for scientists engaged in Antarctic exploration, including the world’s most famous Antarctic explorers, Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, who used the city as a base and as a departure point for their ships. Visitors to Christchurch who are interested in learning more about the city’s history as an Antarctic base will find exhibits at the city’s Canterbury Museum and at the International Antarctic Centre, located in the Christchurch suburb of Harewood.
From 2010 through 2012, Christchurch suffered a series of earthquakes that destroyed several of its historic and contemporary buildings and resulted in a number of fatalities. Since 2012, the city has been steadily rebuilding its infrastructure and has seen substantial population growth.
Several professional sports teams are based in Christchurch. Among them is the rugby team, the Crusaders; the Canterbury Kings men’s cricket team; and the Canterbury Cavaliers hockey team, which plays in the country’s National Hockey League. The city is also home to professional football (soccer), basketball, and netball teams.
Students from other parts of New Zealand and Oceania often book cheap flights to Christchurch in order to study at one of the city’s colleges, universities, or secondary schools, of which there are several. Many of the city’s secondary schools are boarding schools in the style of traditional schools in England. Some of these schools were founded by the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church in the 19th century and have since become integrated into Christchurch’s public education system.
Among the city’s universities is the public University of Canterbury, which was founded in 1873 and is the second-oldest university in the country after the University of Otago, in Otago, New Zealand.