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Christchurch is re-emerging as one of the New Zealands most exciting cities, according to a writer for the influential travel guide Lonely Planet.
Travel writer Brett Atkinson spent two weeks on the ground in Christchurch researching the city in the wake of the quakes and believes it still has much to offer visitors.
If youre heading to the South Island of New Zealand, definitely spend a few days in the city. Theres still plenty to do, and youll be supporting the new businesses inspiring Christchurchs renaissance, Mr Atkinson says in an online article.
The article notes that as the citys rebuild is carefully planned, the humble shipping container has emerged as a funky option to kick-start Christchurchs retail and hospitality sectors.
Bringing commercial life back to the fringe of the CBD, the Re:Start development showcases almost 30 retailers in a colourful labyrinth on Cashel Mall. Iconic Christchurch shops like Scorpio Books and Johnsons Grocery have been joined by New Zealands best designers; free wi-fi and robust coffee from alfresco cafes are other essential distractions.
Later at night the shipping container action shifts to bars like Revival - complete with its own Middle Eastern food truck and Cargo in Addington. Elsewhere in a rapidly changing city, you might see containers being used as hip street corner Thai restaurants or funky Japanese noodle bars.
The online article also notes that while much of the citys heritage architecture has been damaged by earthquakes, Christchurchs traditional English ambience is still in evidence.
Local students punt visitors languidly along the slow-moving Avon River, and the Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park remain some of New Zealands most impressive public spaces, the article says.
Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter says he is delighted that post-quake Christchurch has received such a strong endorsement.
We have been working hard to get the message out to people that Christchurch is still a destination they should consider visiting and to have an influential travel publication like Lonely Planet endorse that message is fantastic, Mr Hunter says.
The reality is that while the face of Christchurch has been changed forever as a result of the quakes, it is still a very special place and a beautiful gateway to the South Island.
The full text of Mr Atkinson's article can be found at: <<http://www.lonelyplanet.com/new-zealand/christchurch-and-canterbury/christchurch/travel-tips-and-articles/76957>>