WARNING: Christchurch was hit on 22nd February by a earthquake with a 6.3 magnitude. Services and utilities are temporarily fixed but parts of the city center are still cordoned off. The airport is open and there are regular flights to and from Christchurch. Check the tourism board page what places are closed and which hotels have already re-opened.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand with a 2006 population of over 350,000, making it the second largest city in the country after Auckland. It is on the edge of the Canterbury plains and is a major stepping off point for touring the South Island.