Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand with a population of over 350,000. It is located on the edge of the Canterbury Plains and is a major stepping off point for touring the South Island.
Christchurch was established in 1850 by English settlers. Its English heritage shows in the older buildings, especially the Anglican Cathedral in the Square in the very center of the city. The River Avon flows through the central city and disrupts the regular rectangular layout of the city streets.
Christchurch is known as the Garden City, a well-deserved name. Looking from a few floors up, one is struck by the number of trees that grow like a forest throughout the suburbs.
International tourism is a growing sector of the Christchurch economy, as are electronics and software development. Christchurch has the busiest program of annual festivals of any New Zealand city, making for a lively experience almost any time of year.