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Stay in Christchurch or outside?

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We are traveling for a first time trip to New Zealand. We are planning to arrive in Christchurch and then make our way over to Queenstown. We are hoping to see Mt Cook area and also the Milford sound/Fjiordland area. Not sure if we could make it up to Kaikoura due to time. We have been trying to decide if we should stay in Christchurch. It seems like some reviews have said that many areas are still under construction. I'm having a hard time finding scenic areas to stay in town. Any ideas suggestions? Also suggestions for areas outside of Christchurch? Must see and do?

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