Christchurch, bordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean, is a city located on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is a beautiful place that is internationally known as ‘The Garden City’. The city is home to over 700 large parks and public gardens and also hosts two large floral festivals each year. The Botanic Garden is one of the city’s main attractions. It is New Zealand's largest inner-city park and is located on an area of approximately 30 hectares. Christchurch is a multicultural city that has a sizeable Muslim population; those of which immigrated from several Asian countries as well as Middle Eastern and African ones. Therefore, for Muslims visiting Christchurch, the city does offer quite a number of Muslim-friendly facilities.
A must-visit when in Christchurch is the Orana Wildlife Park; which is an open-range zoo and the only one of its kind in New Zealand. The park is set on 80 acres and is located a mere 15 minutes from the Christchurch Airport. Visitors get the unique opportunity to observe and get up-close and personal with over 400 animals, reptiles and birds brought in from Africa, Australia, Asia and the United States as well as ones that are native to New Zealand. The park is also home to a walk–through aviary that is one of the largest in New Zealand and holds a variety of native endangered birds. Those visiting the park will be able to catch a glimpse of native endangered wildlife, such as kiwi, tuatara and kea. The park also has scheduled animal feeds, guided tours, a farmyard experience and much more. It definitely has something for the entire family and it truly is the ultimate wild life adventure!
Another popular activity among tourists is visiting areas that were affected by the earthquake. This activity is known as ‘Earthquake Tourism’ and there are tours that visitors can take to see the areas that were affected, both inside and outside the "red zone". Another way to find out more about the Christchurch and Canterbury earthquakes is to visit the Quake City Exhibition, co-ordinated by Canterbury Museum. It is a unique multi-sensory attraction that aims to inform and educate visitors on the earthquake, and the community that stood strong came together in the time of need.
For those looking for adventure, Christchurch has opportunities for bungee jumping, rafting, mountain biking, hot-air ballooning, wind surfing, jetboating and so much more!
The main airport that serves Christchurch is the Christchurch International Airport which is located in Harewood; a suburb 12 kilometres from Christchurch’s city centre. It is the second busiest airport in New Zealand as well as its first international airport. It is easy for visitors to find buses that service the airport as well as taxi companies.
Muslim travellers will find that Christchurch has some fantastic Muslim-friendly food stores, eateries, cafés, restaurants, confectioners and food courts. Most of the following restaurants are Muslim owned, buy meat from halal-certified butchers, serve vegetarian food or are Halal-certified. Taste of Bengal, Casbah – A Taste of Morocco, Mediterranean Taste, It’s Indi, Nomads Ethnic Foods, Taste of Bengal, Nando’s Currytime and Thai Talay are a few of the many Halal restaurants located in and around Christchurch.
There are a few mosques in Christchurch that serve the Muslim community, as well as Muslim tourists. Masjid al Noor - Canterbury Islamic Centre is one of them. There are also several others located in local universities and colleges, such as; Lincoln University, University of Canterbury – Christchurch, Hagley Community College, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) - Central Campus. Almost all of these offer prayer rooms and other Muslim-friendly facilities for males and females.