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The Arts Centre - Christchurch
When in Christchurch , make sure you take time to check out the Arts Centre - one of New Zealand 's most significant historic and cultural attractions.
Once the site of the University of Canterbury , today these 23 heritage buildings are an awesome venue for arts, shopping and entertainment. More than 40 studios, galleries and specialty shops are open seven days, along with numerous theatres, cinemas, cafes, restaurants and bars.
In the Artists Quarter, you can meet artists from potters to quiltmakers to weavers and buy directly from them, which is pretty cool as you can meet the person who actually created your item. The Galleries have everything from cutting-edge contemporary works, New Zealand object art and sculpture to traditional Maori and Pacific art and craft. Every weekend, an art and craft market features more than 80 stalls selling New Zealand-made products, and an international food fair offers exciting tastes from around the world, while you enjoy entertainment by buskers on the boulevard.
While you're checking out the centre, don't miss Rutherford 's Den - a unique multi-media visitor experience. Rutherford's Den celebrates the life and work of New Zealand 's most famous scientist - Ernest, Lord Rutherford - the man who split the atom. You can even stand in the space where Rutherford conducted some of his early experiments, and sit in the original lecture theatre where he took some of his classes
"an art and craft market features more than 80 stalls selling New Zealand-made products"
Also worth checking out is the Townsend Observatory, where you can view the moon, planets and stars in the southern sky as you've never seen them before! The fully restored Townsend telescope is housed in the Townsend Observatory adjacent to the Southern Quad.
There's also a Ghost Walk where you can accompany the infamous Dr Aloysius Mort on a night time journey into the hidden corners and shadowy history of Christchurch 's Gothic Arts Centre.
The Arts Centre was the original site of the University of Canterbury , and Christchurch Girls' and Boys' High Schools. There's plenty of history to be discovered, and you can follow a self-guided history trail to discover more about the architecture and personalities associated with this historic site. There are also free tours available from the Arts Centre Information in the Clock Tower - so plenty to see and do to fill a day or two!
The Arts Centre can be found at 2 Worcester Boulevard , Christchurch .
It is open seven days from 10am until late. The shops are open from 10am until 5pm.
Rachel stayed at Stonehurst Backpackers, 241 Gloucester Street , Christchurch , just two blocks from the city centre, with 24 hour reception. For more info call 03 379 4620 or Freephone: 0508 STONED (0508 786 633) or visit www.stonehurst.co.nz