NZ Trip: Christchurch, New Zealand

June 21, 2023
Christchurch
Accommodation

‘The Parque’ – our accommodation at Christchurch.

CHRISTCHURCH – Days 1 to 3

Our journey began on Friday 12 May 2023. Lots of last minute packing, getting cleaning and tidying and things done around the house, and lots of waiting around! You see, our flight was delayed several times! We decided to leave home for the airport later than planned, but we’d done everything and were ready, so lots of sitting around at home and then once at the airport, where the flight was delayed again, more sitting around at the airport.  We were originally meant to land at Christchurch around 12:05 am NZ time (they’re 2 hours ahead of us here) but we ended up landing there around 3:30am NZ time! We didn’t get to our accommodation until around 4:00am’ish and to bed later than that!

So we’ll call Saturday 13 May our Day 1. We were pretty darn tired on Day 1 but super excited. Our accommodation was fabulous. We had a modern and clean room with everything you’d need and the bed was super comfy which is always a good thing. The shower was fabulous too! We stayed at The Parque, a boutique hotel located in a beautiful street and only a short walk to the city centre (see photo above and within gallery under Day 1). It was also very close to cafes and restaurants and convenience stores, etc. Our travel agent selected this accommodation for a couple of reasons 1) it had 24 hr check-in which is what we needed due to our flight arrival time, and 2) it was close to most things and we needed that too because at this point we had no rental car. It also had a tiny kitchenette – a microwave, tea and coffee making facilities, a small fridge, and a little table with two chairs for us to eat at – which was helpful because we were staying there for three nights and not likely to want to eat out every night. Admittedly though – the first night didn’t count considering the hour we arrived!

How does 24 hr check-in work I hear you ask? Well, there is no reception at The Parque. On the day of our arrival we were sent a code. We then entered this code into a keypad at the front entrance to get in when we arrived. It also gave us access to our room. Obviously, just access to those two areas – entry to the building and to our room – for the duration of our stay.

SATURDAY 13 MAY – DAY 1

After such a late night or should I say ‘early morning’ to bed, it was a slow start today. We found a nearby cafe where we had ‘brunch’. Then we went for a walk towards the city centre to explore. We came upon ‘Quake City‘ which was on our to do list for Christchurch so decided to do it then and there! Quake City is an exhibition of displays and stories from when the earthquake shook Christchurch and Canterbury more than a decade ago. You can also learn about the science behind earthquakes and there’s lots of interactivity too. It was very interesting but also very emotional. Some of the stories I watched from people who experienced the earthquake and shared their stories did bring me to tears, so I’d suggest taking a handkerchief or some tissues if you are anything like me.

After Quake City we kept walking towards the city. We saw the Victoria Street Clock Tower, the Christchurch Cathedral – still surrounded with scaffolding as it is still being rebuilt following the earthquake damage. The timeline we saw says that stabilisation was completed in February 2023 but final rebuild completion is stated as ‘the end of 2027’, so still a way to go yet.  We walked around the city and saw a lot of things which I’ll show in a photo collage below rather than list them all out.  For dinner we walked from our accommodation to the nearby Carlton Hotel where I had trouble keeping my eyes open by that stage. It was very busy, crowded and noisy! There was a football game on that night! I recall having a delicious roasted vegetable stack sprinkled with some crumbled feta cheese.

SUNDAY 14 MAY – DAY 2

This morning we headed for the Avon River, and more specifically, the Antigua Boatsheds. We were going Punting on the Avon! First though, we had breakfast at the Boat Shed Cafe. The Punting on the Avon was so enjoyable! You basically climb in and you’re sitting on the floor. You have a lovely merino wool blanket to place over your legs to keep yourself toasty and warm. The young man who is our ‘punter’ was great – really informative commentary and lots of laughs and jokes thrown in for good measure. I really enjoyed it and it is most certainly worthwhile doing if you visit Christchurch. It’s fairly quick – around 30 minutes!

Next we went exploring more around the city and had morning tea somewhere (I can’t remember where) and then decided we’d better go do the Christchurch Gondola before we ran out of time. This meant catching a bus as it’s a fair way outside of Christchurch City at Heathcote Valley. This was definitely worth the effort. It provided some amazing views and much more education on the geography and geological history to Christchurch. When you get to the top of Mt Cavendish you’re at ‘The Summit Station’ and that includes the Red Rock Cafe, Christchurch Discovery Ride (a fun way to learn about the history of the region), and a gift shop. We did it all – the Discovery Ride, bought a few things from the Gift Shop and had lunch at the cafe. You get some incredible views of Lyttelton Harbour (Whakaraupō) from up at The Summit Station and there’s some little walking tracks up there (we didn’t do these as it was blowing a gale that day). Then you jump back on the Gondola and head back down to the base station in Heathcote Valley.

We returned to the city and decided to jump on the Christchurch Tram for a tour of the city – jumping off wherever takes our fancy. We jumped off at the Botanic Gardens and spent some time there but after walking around the gardens for a while, I could feel myself wearing out. We had still not recovered from our very late night/early morning. So we jumped back on the tram and got off at the stop closest to make our walk back to our accommodation the shortest. We picked up a frozen meal each from a supermarket and we had a quiet night in, zapping our dinner in the microwave. Early start tomorrow!

NOTE that before we left home we had purchased a CHRISTCHURCH PASS – which included tickets for 1) Punting on the Avon, 2) the Christchurch Gondola, and 3) the Christchurch Tram.

Christchurch

Antigua Boatsheds

Christchurch

Sun through the trees, Christchurch Botanic Gardens

MONDAY 15 MAY – DAY 3

We were up bright and early today as we had a taxi arriving to take us to Christchurch Railway Station to catch the TransAlpine train across the island to Greymouth. I’ll save this story for the next NZ holiday post.

Christchurch Sketches

The plan at this stage is to follow up each of my NZ holiday posts with an ART CHAT post with my sketches from that same location. I’m not sure of what days I will post these yet so it’s a case of watch this space at the moment.

UPDATE: You can see my sketches that relate to this post HERE.

Ciao for now,

Linking up with Denyse Whelan’s ‘Wednesday’s Words and Pics

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13 Comments

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 June 21, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks for the memories, Min. We visited the South Island way back in about 2002 and did a very similar driving holiday to the one you did. That was way before the earthquake in Christchurch. I remember punting on the river and pretending I was in Cambridge, England. Such a gentle city and we did the tram ride too. I’m so pleased you enjoyed your holiday as you certainly deserved some time away. x

    • Reply Min June 23, 2023 at 7:30 am

      Thanks Sue – 2002 is a while ago now. How time flies! I thought Christchurch was beautiful with the Avon river weaving through it and all the ducks and swans etc. I loved the ‘english’ experience of punting on the Avon. I also enjoyed the commentary and learning. It was a fabulous holiday. xo

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee June 21, 2023 at 6:22 pm

    OMG! I would love to do the punting, that’s so Bananas!! The English really stamped their habits all over us (and other colonised countries) didn’t they?
    My freind’s son was working in one of the office buildings that got a lot of damamge in the quake (but he was fine).
    I didn’t realise they had that sort of set up there now.
    Looking forward to more holiday pics!! Lucky you!

    • Reply Min June 23, 2023 at 7:33 am

      Hi Lydia, the punting was lovely! Relaxing and cosy with the blanket over our laps. A very ‘English’ experience – not that I’ve been to English, yet! Quake City is worth a visit if in Christchurch. It provides a good picture of the extend of damage and events of that time, also some scientific understanding to earthquakes which was interesting. There’s also some wreckage and artifacts from damaged buildings etc. There are lots of holiday pics to come. It’ll be quite a job for me to sort through them all and decide which ones to post! I agree with the ‘lucky you’ comment. I’m very grateful for such a lovely holiday. I really needed it.

  • Reply Denyse Whelan June 23, 2023 at 11:46 am

    You did so well with your on-line stories and pics and now paying dividends as a post for you. What a wonderful time it was for you Min, and I am so glad you both got to enjoy it!

    Thank you for sharing your post on Denyse Whelan’s Wednesday’s Words and Pics Link Up this week.

    The community we share is a very special one and I am grateful for your presence in it as a fellow blogger.

    Warmest of wishes, Denyse.

    • Reply Min June 24, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Hi Denyse, yes the daily NZ Highlight posts certainly help me now to remember what we did each day and inform these posts! It all seems like so long ago already. I loved it all! xo

  • Reply Kym June 23, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Loved all these photos!! What a beautiful place, and I’m so glad to visit it through your photos since it’s unlikely I’ll get the NZ any time soon.

    • Reply Min June 24, 2023 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks so much Kym! I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos and the virtual visit! Are you in Australia or UK or USA? Lots more of NZ to come!

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan June 24, 2023 at 1:38 am

    Airline delays really are miserable. Whether you are waiting at home or at the airport. On our last vacation in the fall, we had several delays and one canceled flight. Grrr.

    Sounds like your trip has offered everything you needed for your time away from LIFE. What a beautiful hotel. And the gondola and punting sound like great ways to move outside your comfort zone. At least they would be outside mine!! My daughter’s husband proposed to her from a punter?? boat?? It was all very romantic and unexpected.

    Your photos are stellar. LOVE the picture of the sun through the trees. The grass below looks neon yellow. Gorgeous.

    • Reply Min June 24, 2023 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Leslie, I must admit I’m not really a fan of hanging around airports but I don’t do it often so it was ok. I was mainly worried they’d cancel the flight altogether and we’d have to go home and try again the next day – stuffing up our whole itinerary! Thankfully that didn’t happen but it’s happened to friends of mine! The trip offered me absolutely everything I needed – time away from normal life jobs and responsibilities, beautiful nature everywhere, learning and discovering new places. It was fabulous! So glad you enjoyed the photos and how romantic for your daughter! I’m guessing they’re married now?

  • Reply Joanne Tracey June 28, 2023 at 7:45 am

    Lovely! I haven’t been to Christchurch since before the quake and it’s amazing what they’ve done. I so enjoyed following your trip through the socials…

    • Reply Min June 29, 2023 at 9:21 am

      I wish I had seen Christchurch before the quake because I have no reference for comparison. However, maybe it’s best I hadn’t seen it before because it might be too sad to see how it’s changed? I thought it was beautiful regardless!

  • Reply Janhavi Dalavi July 17, 2023 at 9:50 pm

    The blog showcases the rich history, vibrant culture, and picturesque landscapes of Christchurch, New Zealand elegantly. It was interesting to read about this charming destination.

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