The South Island's largest city, Christchurch has a population of more than 300,000. Also known as the Garden City, Christchurch is exactly that - a city full of gardens, plentiful park areas and dominated by trees.
Christchurch 's architecture has a very English flavour to it. The city is named after Oxford's Christ Church College, and is full of Gothic styled churches (made of grey and white stone). The Avon River winds its way leisurely through the city, providing plenty of spots where you can relax under a weeping willow tree and watch the day drift by.
Hagley Park (used for golf, tennis and other sports) includes the botanic gardens covers more than 160 hectares (400 acres). It is only a 10-minute stroll from the commercial centre of the city.
The metropolitan centre is dominated by the Cathedral Square - a large, square cobblestone area. Christchurch is very popular for its arts festivals, street entertainers and food stalls from dozens of different countries. There is a thriving Arts Centre, a modern City Art Gallery and many beautiful heritage buildings in the gothic style.
Beyond the city is Banks Peninsula which includes beautiful harbours and opportunities for walking and mountain biking, the Canterbury Plains, braided river systems and the Southern Alps.
A map of central Christchurch showing hotels and the conference venue can be downloaded here
Travel from Christchurch airport to central city
Christchurch International Airport is only 20 minutes drive from the central city. It is well served by taxi companies who will all charge around NZ$35 - $40 for the journey. Ask before you ride. You are not obliged to take the first taxi in the rank.
Reputable companies include Gold Band, Blue Star and Corporate Cabs. (The latter is more expensive than the others).Shuttle buses are available on shared cost basis and cost around $17 for the first person.There is a public bus service which costs around $7 but this does not drop off at hotels