Also a small peaceful seaside town in Dorset, England, dating from Saxon times. Christchurch sits on the edge of a very pretty harbour between two rivers, the Avon and the Stour, and was originally called Twynham: 'the town between two rivers'. The town gradually became known as Christchurch from the 11th century Norman priory on the town's highest hill beside the sea, once the only landmark building for miles. It's a picture-book town, very Olde England, with small twisty streets, oak-beamed shops and cottages and thousands of flower-filled hanging baskets. The rivers are clean and clear, with swans and transparent fish lazily drifting past manicured lawns that slope down to the water and up to a ruined castle on a hill by the priory. Behind the town, the edges of the New Forest: in front of it, the sea, with wide bays and perfect beaches curving out on either side.

It's not a place for nightlife (there isn't any, as far as I know) but for riding, fishing, sailing, painting and walking it's probably one of the best spots in the country. There are also several airfields in the vicinity, and an excellent local skiing centre. If you really must have evening entertainment there is a weeny Art Deco cinema, or you can head into Bournemouth, much bigger and livelier and a few miles further down the coast.

Christchurch is a city on the East coast of the South Island of a country called New Zealand, which is a little way East-South-East of Australia. By New Zealand standards it is reasonably highly populated city (around 500,000 residents).

The climate varies greatly from season to season, in the summer it is quite hot (regular daytime temperatures from 20 - 32 degrees C, sometimes reaching 40 degrees C) and quite dry. During the winter it is relatively cold (daytime temperatures -2 - 10 degrees C) with snow on mountain foothills and occasionally to sea level.

Christchurch is a very green city, with the central city built around a large well maintained park. It has a number of historic constructions, the most well known of which is the Cathedral in the center of the city.

Silly facts:

1. Christchurch has the highest youth suicide rate in the New Zealand, and New Zealand has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the western world.

2. Christchurch has had some terrible city planning in its time resulting in some nasty one-way street systems and hideous double-intersections. Public transport is not a strong point, even amidst increasing calls to lower the high air pollution content.

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