|Subject: Re: Flying to New Zealand|
Carrie & Fellow Ziners:
John's offered some Auckland area suggestions, and I'd like to (belatedly) add some for Christchurch. As I'm sure you've read, Christchurch feels very English, although in most of England you don't have as a backdrop a snow-capped mountain range! There are lots of opportunities for dining alfresco, particularly along the Avon River where punters ply their trade.
You can probably get a reasonable overview of Christchurch in one day. In addition to the International Antarctic Centre at Christchurch Airport (interesting even though you'll be experiencing the real thing), highlights include Christchurch Cathedral and Cathedral Square, the Canterbury Museum highlighting New Zealand's fauna and flora, and the Botanic Gardens just on the edge of downtown. If I had one recommendation for a second day, it would be a trip on the TranzAlpine Railway from Christchurch to Greymouth and back (http://www.tranzscenic.co.nz/services/alpine.aspx). It's an all day trip, departing around 8:00 and returning around 18:00, with brief scenic stops along the way. You get a close up view of the Southern Alps and have a chance to experience the South Island's varied topography. I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel right on Victoria Square, and recommend the location. I got a good weekend rate, but there are lots of other lodgings nearby the probably have better rates. Hope this helps.
Greg Davis Arlington, VA