Welcome to a vibrant city in transition, coping creatively with the aftermath of NZ’s second-worst natural disaster. Traditionally the most English of NZ cities, Christchurch's heritage heart was all but hollowed out following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that left 186 people dead.
Punts still glide gently down the Avon River, and the Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park remain some of NZ’s finest public spaces. But in the empty lots and abandoned buildings left in the wake of the earthquakes, interesting art projects have sprung up, and clever, creative people are slowly starting to make things happen. Each new opening and restoration is greeted with enthusiasm by a grateful public, frustrated by the pace of the rebuild and eager to see what shape their future city will take.
If you're worried that your interest in post-earthquake Christchurch may seem in poor taste, don't be. Locals are genuinely keen to welcome sensitive visitors back to their city – and despite the heartache, they're the first to acknowledge how fascinating it all is.
Christchurch revival: why New Zealand's comeback city is a must-see for 2013
What a difference a year makes. Late last year, Lonely Planet was on the ground in Christchurch uncovering new restaurants, cafes, bars and attractions in the quake-damaged city...
Need to know
Free download: Lonely Planet's new Christchurch chapter
Since the quake of February last year, central Christchurch has changed drastically...
Return to Christchurch
More than a year after the devastating Christchurch earthquake of February 2011, the return of two Canterbury icons is again reinforcing the city as a New Zealand destination definitely worth visiting...