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Nestled along the south-eastern coast of New Zealand, Christchurch is one of the most naturally beautiful cities in the world. Surrounded by beaches and mountains, it is a haven for nature-lovers and the ideal base for adventures across the South Island.
Hike across the Southern Alps, test your nerve with a bungee jump or a sky dive, or swim with wild dolphins in the South Pacific Ocean.
The city itself is full of culture, and Canterbury Museum is a must-visit, while the Orana Wildlife Park and Botanical Gardens are the ideal places to discover New Zealand's unique flora and fauna.
If you are flying from London to Christchurch, you might be surprised at the similarities to another English place - Cambridge. From the cobbled streets and coffee shops to the punts along the river, it is familiar yet foreign at the same time.
Christchurch International Airport is located just 12 kilometres from the city centre, and it welcomes visitors from across the world, including a range of flights from London to Christchurch. Getting from the airport to the city is easy, with regular buses and shuttles every day of the week.
Travellers on flights from London to Christchurch usually travel via Air New Zealand and British Airways - the national carriers of both countries. Alternatively, Christchurch International Airport is serviced by European carriers such as Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic, and US-based airlines like United Airlines and American Airlines also have tickets to Christchurch available.
Cheap flights from London to Christchurch are available via a number of indirect routes into Christchurch. Emirates and Etihad both fly into the city from a variety of Middle Eastern destinations, while Singapore Airlines and Qantas travel to New Zealand from Asia and Australia.
Christchurch is no stranger to tourists, so there is a huge range of accommodation available for budgets of every type. Christchurch's hostels are extremely popular with backpackers, with prices starting at around £15 per bunk. If you're looking to splurge, try one of the five-star spas in the upmarket neighbourhood of Riccarton, or venture a little further out to an eco-retreat Canterbury countryside.
There isn't really a bad time to visit Christchurch. The city is in full bloom in the springtime (September - November), with bright flowers and blossoms everywhere, and in the summer (December - February), the beaches are warm and inviting. Autumn buzzes with the arrival of the students, and winter is calm, cool and prone to snowfall.
However, the most popular times to visit Christchurch are summer and winter, when visitors can take full advantage of the outdoor pursuits on offer - hiking, sailing, swimming and skiing. The Southern Alps are just a short drive away, and offer some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the Southern Hemisphere. Thrill-seekers should check out the nearby Tasman Glacier - the biggest glacier in the country - which sits at the foot of Mount Cook and can only be accessed by boat.
In summer, make the most of the New Zealand sunshine by touring the vineyards of Canterbury as they prepare for the autumn harvest. Or simply head to the beach and spend your day sunbathing and swimming with penguins and dolphins!
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