After feeling the devastation of earthquakes and aftershocks over the past couple of years, Christchurch has risen from the rubble to be named in Lonely Planet‘s Top 10 Cities for 2013.

I am personally thrilled to hear this news as this is a city that is flourishing despite its’ difficult circumstances.

I had the honour to take part in a familiarisation trip (hosted by the Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau) after the first 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit in September 2010. Whilst I expected to see a lot of debris and damage, I didn’t expect to see so many smiling faces. I was touched by the welcoming and gentle nature of the people who call Christchurch home. Quite simply, the charm of Christchurch captured my heart.

Now, the city is emerging bigger and better. Old is mixed with new, castles and  container precincts are coming together, and a sense of rejuvenation is present. Honeymooners and travellers – you will not be disappointed if you venture to our neighbour’s land!

Some of my favourite places include: Terrace Downs Resort – this golf resort is mystical and beautiful; The George – boutique luxury at its best; and She Chocolat – high tea at a chocolaterie anyone?