Located in the beautiful Canterbury region of the South Island, Christchurch is a city where the old and the new intertwine. New Zealand's second largest city by area, Christchurch is often referred to as the "Gateway to the South Island" due to the convenience of traveling from Christchurch to other parts of the island. The city sits on the eastern coast a short drive from ski resorts, whitewater rafting rivers, vineyards, mountain bike trails, and the awe-inspiring Southern Alps in the Canterbury backcountry.
Christchurch is the oldest established city in New Zealand, officially recognized by Royal Charter in 1856, forty-one years after the arrival of the first European settlers to the area. Prior to the Europeans, the Canterbury area was home to the Waitaha, an early Maori tribe.
Christchurch is a city of contrast, setting neo-gothic style buildings from the 19th century beside modern constructions, all surrounding the beautiful parks and gardens within the city. Known internationally as "the Garden City," Christchurch includes numerous green spaces, including Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens, and Victoria Square, and the city hosts two floral festivals every year in February and March.