Christchurch (Lyttleton) Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city. Sprawling out across the Canterbury Plains, Christchurch was incorporated as a city in 1862. It was named after the Oxford College attended by John Robert Godley, leader of the settlers arriving in the first four ships to Christchurch. Visitors find Christchurch a charming city, modelled in the English style. The River Avon meanders through the city and its banks provide a popular lunchtime retreat. Cathedral Square is a place to relax and take in the proportions of the stone-built Cathedral, or listen to the eccentric Wizard entertain the lunchtime crowd.
Christchurch is said to be the most English city outside England, and it certainly clings to the trappings of its heritage, the cricket club (established 1851), the rowing club (1864) and lawn tennis (1881). The streets are named after 14 dioceses of the Anglican Communion. It is, of course, a university city, which has a backdrop of the Southern Alps and long ocean beaches are only a short drive away. The Port Hills are well worth a visit, for the dramatic views they give of the surrounding areas. The Port of Lyttelton and Akaroa, the only French settlements in the country are also close by.