Christchurch is the principal city and international gateway for overseas travellers to the South Island. Known as the "Garden City", Christchurch enjoy a very English heritage. The first settlers in Christchurch arrived in four ships from England in 1850. Many of the historic buildings, sites and parks created in their name.
Cathedral Square is the main focus in central Christchurch and designed by renowned English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott in the gothic revival style. Building commenced in 1864 and was not completed for another 40 years. For a small fee, climb up the tower in Cathedral Square, for spectacular vistas across the city and the Southern Alps.
Another significant feature of Christchurch is the Avon River, meandering around the city, and Hagley Park. Located in the Park and included in a loop of the Avon River are the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Work commenced on Christchurch Botanic Gardens in 1863, in celebration of the marriage of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to Prince Albert Edward, eldest son of Queen Victoria. Visit the Rose Garden, the New Zealand Garden and Herb Garden. In spring, the whole Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park are alive with blossom.