Also called the Garden City, Christchurch has more than just one reason to attract expats. With its fantastic position between the countryside and the ocean, creative vibe, and comfortable atmosphere, Christchurch offers many advantages to all those who are planning to move to this city.
It’s a place that embraces a lifestyle of education and dynamic business, amazing cuisines, and is very rich when it comes to culture and arts. Centered in a region with a genuinely diverse geographical environment, it’s an idyllic city that many expats would like to call their home. Let’s check out what it has on offer!
Population & Demographics
With a population of more than 400,000 people, Christchurch is the third largest city of New Zealand, ranking behind only Auckland and Wellington. This also makes Christchurch the largest city on the South Island, which isn’t a huge achievement since Dunedin, the next most populous city on the South Island, is home to just 100,000 people.
Christchurch has experienced a rapidly growing population in the last couple of decades. The 300,000 mark was hit in the mid-1990s. Due to the recent earthquake, a short decline in population took place in the early 2010s. However, Christchurch is now following a plan to quickly rebuild what was damaged, and, as a result, the population is on the increase once again.
When it comes to the ethnic profile, the city has residents that have moved to it from all sides of the planet. Unsurprisingly, the largest percentage is held by the people of New Zealand European origin – there are more than 280,000 of them. When it comes to expats, most of them were originally born in the United Kingdom, followed by residents of Chinese descent. There is also a significant number of expats that came from Australia, Philippines, South Korea, South Africa, India, and Samoa.
Only a relatively small population of New Zealand has a limited purchasing power on the world market, as the country heavily relies on imports. Once we combine this with a 15% national tax that is levied on all purchases and the somewhat weak currency, we can easily see why it can be quite pricey to live in New Zealand.
However, once compared to its domestic counterparts, Christchurch’s cost of living isn’t that high. This is especially noticeable when it comes to renting prices, which are almost 10% lower than Auckland’s. For example, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city center stands at around $1,350.
When it comes to healthcare, Christchurch is overseen by the Canterbury DHB (District Health Board), whose role is to provide healthcare to the whole Canterbury Region (26,881 square kilometers). It is divided between six territorial authorities and is responsible for about 12% of the country’s population, or half a million residents.
The Christchurch Hospital, located on Riccarton Avenue, is the largest institution of this type on the entire South Island. It provides a full range of acute, emergency, outpatient and elective services, and treats more than 80,000 patients on an annual basis. Moreover, its campus is home to the Christchurch School of Medicine.
As we said, the city is following a major rebuilding plan to fix the damages caused by the recent earthquake. Due to this, there is a massive demand for workers in the construction sector – engineers, project managers, quantity surveyors, plasterers, and carpenters are all on the shortage list.
However, that doesn’t mean that the other employment sectors aren’t experiencing a boom as well. Businesses such as the wine industry, meat processing, cropping, and dairy farming are still essential for Christchurch’s economy. The technology industry is also on the rise, as there’s a high demand for structural engineers, graphic designers, as well as Java and .NET developers.
A vast majority of Christchurch is situated on flat terrain, which makes the city a real paradise for the cycling enthusiasts. This, combined with ample bicycle storage options and a high amount of cycleways, makes cycling one of the most viable forms of transport. However, there are also many other transportation options available, such as taxis, buses, and the tram.
The tram provides the residents with a scenic way to travel around the Garden City. Stopping at 17 places, it takes the passengers on a one-way loop around the city center. As it operates every 20 minutes, the tram is an excellent choice when you need to get somewhere quickly.
The city’s bus service, on the other hand, is both the most extensive and the cheapest way to travel around Christchurch. It covers all of the region’s suburbs, together with most attractions, and is, therefore, a great choice for tourists. The taxis, although not the most cost-effective option, also serve all areas of the city and are always there when you need them.
Those who need to get beyond the city can do so with their cars – Akaroa and Hanmer Springs are only a short distance away.
Schools & Universities
When it comes to New Zealand’s education system, the country prides itself on providing education that is both fair and responsive. The education system consists of schools that are state-owned, private, or state-integrated (partially funded).
The Garden City and its surrounding areas are home to over 150 schools, and these are a place of learning for more than 50,000 kids. In Christchurch, the school-age begins at 5-6 years of age, and each kid is required to be registered at a school of parent’s choice before their 6th birthday.
Most of the schools are zoned, which means that the majority of them have an encompassing radius as their “catchment’” zone. In other words, every child that lives within a particular “catchment” radius is automatically offered a place at that specific school.
The city’s English public school have a worldwide reputation and quintessentially English names, like St Thomas of Canterbury College, Christ’s College, and St Bede’s College. These traditional institutions offer quality education and cost around $14,000 per year.
Christchurch’s higher education institutions also deserve mention. The most famous of them are Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Lincoln University, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, as well as the University of Canterbury.
When it comes to outdoor activities, the residents of Christchurch have many options before them. With more than 15 golf courses, 700 city parks, and the proximity of Canterbury Plains and the Banks Peninsula, the city is an exciting playground that has something to offer to each of its residents.
The sea-lovers will be pleased to know that the city is also close to a couple of stunning beaches. These include the Corsair Bay, Taylor’s Mistake, New Brighton Beach, Woodend Beach, and Waikuku Beach. Most of them are safe for activities such as swimming, walking, surfing, and playing various beach sports. Some of them even have unique tracks that allow visitors to engage in wildlife spotting.
In our opinion, one of the most interesting Christchurch outdoor activities is the 4WD tour. It’s a perfect adventure for those who’d like to travel through rough (but very photogenic) landscapes around the city with rugged, all-terrain vehicles. In the same manner, the jetboating tours around Waimakariri (only 20 minutes north of the city) allow one to navigate through some of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes.
However, even a simple walk through the city can be very awarding. The town is dotted with many parks, gardens, and markets, and there is always something to see or do. When in doubt, pack a picnic and enjoy the colorful surroundings of Christchurch parks, which are among the most beautiful in New Zealand.
Shows, Festivals & Nightlife
Although “Garden City” is undoubtedly Christchurch’s most well-known nickname, it could also be called the Festival City. The residents of the town have built a reputation as enthusiastic organizers of some truly outstanding festivals, filled with shows, exhibitions, concerts and much more.
One of the city’s most-attended festivals is the South Island Wine and Food Festival. Taking place in North Hagley Park, it’s an annual occasion that hosts more than 40 wineries from the country. This allows the visitors to sample the wide variety of interesting wines that originate from Otago to Marlborough and everywhere in between.
Another exciting event is the World Buskers Festival. It’s an occasion that attracts street performers from all over the planet and gives them a perfect opportunity to have their skills appreciated by thousands of visitors. Other world-famous Christchurch festivals include the Great Kiwi Beer Festival, Nostalgia Festival, Christchurch Lantern Festival, as well as the Festival of Colors.
On the other hand, those seeking dynamic nightlife will be pleased to find that the Garden City is filled with clubs, bars, and restaurants that suit all moods and occasions. As the largest city on the South Island, Christchurch is very vibrant during the night – places where you can eat, drink, and dance are very easy to find.
The city’s most well-known nightclub is probably the Deja Vu Nightclub, located at Allen Street. Providing a worldly nightlife experience, the Deja Vu boasts nine VIP booths and hosts famous DJs on every Friday and Saturday. Another place worth mentioning is Chic, situated on Manchester Street (Christchurch Central). It’s a place that combines a nightclub, a bar, and a restaurant into a single venue and is a must-visit if you like well-rounded night outings.
Other bars and clubs worth visiting are the Club 604, Rockpool Bar, CRUZ, Dirty Land, The Last Word, and the Mickey Finn’s Irish Pub.
It’s a well-known fact that the cheapest way to save money on food is to simply go to a supermarket and cook your own meals. However, walking down the streets of Christchurch and smelling the food coming from diners and restaurants is sometimes just too tempting. When it comes to gastronomy, the city is a real melting pot – there’s something for everyone.
Few places in Christchurch are as exotic as King of Snake, a restaurant/bar located on Victoria Street. The interior looks like something out of a movie, although it’s the food that takes the limelight – dishes such as roasted duck with mandarin sauce are what make this eatery so popular among the city’s residents.
Another popular restaurant is the Twenty Seven Steps, located on New Regent Street. Reservations are highly recommended here since the place is typically filled to the brim. The restaurant showcases the very best of what the country can offer when it comes to seafood, lamb, and beef departments.
Other Christchurch eateries worth paying a visit to are the Lotus-Heart Vegetarian Restaurant, Fiddlesticks, Pedro’s House of Lamb, Bacon Brothers, St Germain, Chillingworth Road, Nobanno, O.G.B., as well as Zen Sushi and Dumplings.
Shipping to Christchurch
The oldest and the second-largest city of New Zealand is one of the country’s most wondrous places. Surrounded by natural beauty, family-friendly, and providing excellent career opportunities, it is a popular destination for settlers and tourists alike. Although it was rocked by a devastating earthquake in 2011, the city is still attracting many migrants, and its population number is on the rise once again.
If you’re planning to move to this city from another country, you’re probably researching the ways in which you could quickly and efficiently move your belongings to New Zealand. This is where we come in – the New Zealand Van Lines is the country’s No.1 relocation service. With more than 30 years of experience in this business, our company is your best choice when it comes to moving to Christchurch. We can assist you with each step of the entire process – packing, loading, transporting, importing, and unloading your possessions to your new home in the Garden City.
Knowing that no move is the same, we offer our clients a couple of different options when it comes to moving their effects to New Zealand. Depending on how quickly they want to move to Christchurch, our clients can choose between sea freight (sole-use container / shared container) and air freight. Our FIDI-accredited international packers can also pack your stuff for you, using only the latest packing materials and equipment to do so.
With one of our experienced moving consultants, your move to the largest city of the South Island can quickly turn into a hassle-free process. Our team is reliable, trained, and very experienced, which is precisely why they were chosen to help move none other but Royal New Zealand Ballet. With New Zealand Van Lines, you’re in safe hands – just give us a call and let us save you from the hassle of moving to another country.