Christchurch

Overview

Population: 389,700

Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

10 NZ$ = £5.91 £1 = 1.77 NZ$

Time Zone: GMT +13

7th – 10th Nov

So after depositing our luggage we went off out to dinner at Engineers Bar with Callum and Danielle. It had been 8 years since Kate had last seen Callum so there was plenty to catch up on. We sampled a few beers and small plates and were dropped off back at our hostel via a short detour up a nearby hill to try and see some fireworks. They did not appear however the night views were petty good.

The next day we had a rather late start, in part due to the two hours of time difference added on to the three between Sinapore and Melbourne. Once up and about we went across the road to a local sandwich shop called Subway.

The river Avon runs through Christchurch and from our hostel we had a short stroll to join the path along its banks. The path takes you right into the heart of Christchurch’s CBD and we had a helpful pamphlet to inform us of the sights to look out for.

The first thing we were told to look out for was a sculpture made from twisted girders from the Twin Towers, donated to Christchurch Fire Department by their counterparts in New York and arranged on the river with a reflection garden.

Next to this is a giant kids playground. We didn’t try out the apparatus but there was a coffee van that was great fun. on from thete was Regent Street, an art deco style, multicoloured street of souvenir shops and cafes.

At the far end was a sculpture that made up one part of a much larger sculpture walk that had been arranged for the weeks surrounding our time in Christchurch, so we took a break from the river tour and saw a few sculptures ss well as what appeared to be more permanent steet art.

Some temporary trees
Semi-permanent melty penguins

During our sculpture tour we happened across a few buildings damaged in the 2010 or 2011 earthquakes that took the lives of (???) people. The most famous building to represent these tragedies is the cathedral. Badly damaged in the quake it is currently stuck in limbo between demolition and repair.

The centre of the city has had a huge turnaround in the last five years however it remains a city of building sites and traffic cones. One place that has embraced this and given the residents somewhere a bit different to shop is the Re:Start Mall.

After all the many tours we rejoined the river and followed it to the botanic gardens.

Another fine example of lots of different plants. The grounds were very pretty and there were even a couple of the sculptures from the temporary city-wide exhibit dotted around the gardens.

On our way back to the hostel from the gardens we took a short detour to find one of two Anthony Gormley pieces in the exhibition.

Once back at the hostel we got some infredients in from the local shop, made ourselves some pasta and chatted with our fellow guests. We were given lots of advice on what to see and where to go, largely that we needed much more time than we had.

The next day we had a lot of planning to do for the upcoming weeks. We found ourselves a 5 day free motorhome relocation deal for the 19th and looked into renting a car and what to see/where to stay. We went out to a car rental shop because the cheapest rental we found was with a local rental company but their website was a bit confusing. We walked in and asked if they had any cars for the following day. The guy looked at me and said “Nothing!” I repeated his one word answer as a question and he repeated it back as another happy exclamation. We explained we were flexible and so the guy asked his colleague who repeated the same sentiment. When I repeated my question emphasising the next day part he still did not think they had anything then either. Turned out they had a car the next day. Whilst we were there an American chap walked in and asked for a car in a few weeks time and was given the same answer of “Nothing!” until it was finally understood he didn’t want it that day. They just seemed so proud that they had nothing to offer anyone that day.

After that palaver we went for a drink at the nextdoor pub on our way back to the hostel. We finished our admin and washed our clothes and stayed in for tea and drinks with our friends at the hostel. It was that evening that Trump was announced as president elect and the Californians in attendence were not in high spirits.

The next morning we checked out of our hostel and wandered to a rather trendy nearby brunch spot called Under The Red Verandah.

After I had my fill of eggs and potatoes and other brunchy foodstuffs we walked to a big supermarket a bit further out. It was only once we arrived there that we decided it was unwise to buy anything because we’d have to carry it all the way to the car and could just drive back and get it. So instead we walked to pick up our ride for the upcoming 9 days, our beautiful beige Nissan Tiida.

The hostel

The Old Countryhouse was our introduction to a hostel in one of the original backpacker havens. Situated a 5 minute walk outside the CBD it was in a kind of quiet, kind of rough bit of town. But there was a Subway and a supermarket just out the front door so it worked for us. The dorm we stayed in had some long term guests in, one of whom had spread the entire contents of their backpack accross the floor. The rest were ok. It was one of the most sociable hostels we’d stayed in which was nice and the huge dog helped a lot.

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