Friday, January 4, 2008

New Zealand Road Trip - December 12, 2007 (9)

December 12

We were up early enough to make it from Geraldine to Christchurch by mid morning. Again, the weather was overcast and sometimes rainy, but you take what you get in that department. Because we were on a schedule to make our reservation in Kaikoura the next day, we only stayed in CC for about 4-5 hours. This did not do the city justice. It really is lovely. If we go back, we'll definitely have to spend a bit more time there.


Christchurch city is located midway down the East Coast of the South Island,
just north of Banks Peninsula. Christchurch is the South Island's largest city. It's a vibrant, cosmopolitan place with exciting festivals, theatre, modern art galleries, great shopping and award-winning attractions.

The city was named after Christ Church, a college at the University of Oxford and was originally known as Christ Church. The name was abbreviated through common usage by the 1880s.

With much of the city being flat and only a few metres above sea level, spectacular views can be obtained from almost any high building. At these low elevations the city appears more like a forest with only a few buildings visible, rather than a major city.

Christchurch has a population of just under 360,000.

Known as the 'Garden City', Christchurch has many beautiful parks and gardens throughout the city.



The 2.5 kilometer track takes about 25 minutes to complete and allows you to take in many of the "must see' attractions. These include Cathedral Square, Aquarium of Discovery, The Arts Centre, The Art Gallery, Botanical Gardens, Canterbury Museum, Punting on the Avon, New Regent Street and Cathedral Junction, just to name a few.

Tram drivers provide a live entertaining and informative commentary throughout the journey and guests are encouraged to hop on and off the trams at leisure to explore the sights up close.


We didn't actually go on the tram because it was pretty expensive and we thought we could see as much walking around. Note the Christmas tree on the back of the tram car.

Like Dunedin, the Christchurch city center is filled with great old buildings.

Worcester Chambers The school is situated in Worcester Boulevard, in the cultural centre of the city, close to the River Avon and a three-minute walk from Cathedral Square. Christchurch’s historic tourist tram runs along this attractive street.


Where is Superman? Doctor Who?

Robert Scott - Antarctic explorer circa 1912.

Former Municipal Chambers. Now:

Our City O-Tautahi is housed in this beautiful and historic Queen Anne building on the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Oxford Terrace. Built as the Christchurch City Council’s original Municipal Chambers, the building now provides an accessible space for the City Council and the people and communities of Christchurch to meet to present and exchange ideas and knowledge about the city and important development, environmental and social issues, as well as celebrate its life, colour and creativity. Unique at Our City O-Tautahi are its Community Exhibition Spaces, designed to provide a means for Council and community groups to mount low-cost exhibitions and displays about what they do and what issues are important to them. Projects range from information and issue-based displays to exhibitions of arts and crafts.

(from )

Something new.... the Chalice.

Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican).

This is on Cathedral Square, and I think the tourist info centre was here, formerly the Christchurch Chief Post Office. This is a "Cathedral Square Cam".

"John Robert Godley, founder of Canterbury, 1850"

Erecting a Christmas tree in Cathedral Square. It seemed strange to see Christmas decorations, etc. when it is warm and when there is no snow lying around. It also seemed really weird hearing Christmas songs about snow and reindeer! But the part that we liked was that the "Christmas hype" was not hype at all - except for the minimal decorations and a few TV ads, you'd never know it was Christmas - there just wasn't the same kind of frenzy that we see here. Very refreshing!

Christchurch Town Crier at work.

The Press Building.

Heritage Hotel (the old government building).

Heritage Hotel (the old government building).


Kiwi-egg clock. I just made up that name.


New Regent Street.

Apparently you have to take your own chair to eat here?

How can you not like a place that has an Official Wizard? Craig was fascinated with this guy.

The Wizard of New Zealand, also known as the Archwizard of Canterbury, is well known in New Zealand as a public speaker, performer, and eccentric.

The Wizard (his legally recognised name) has also been recognised as a "living work of art" by the National Gallery of Victoria and the Robert MacDougall Art Gallery, and as "Cosmologer" of the University of Melbourn. He is also the founder of the Imperial British Conservative Party, and Alf's Imperial Army.


The Wizard comes out to speak daily around 13:00 if he is so inspired and his fans eagerly await his orations. He has an official website.

The Wizard's car - two Beetle front ends stuck together - headlights at both ends. I have the pix to prove it.

Peacock Fountain in the Botanic Garden.

Art Centre.

Art Centre.

Canterbury Museum.

Unfortunately, we had to push on. We would have liked to spend quite a bit more quality time in Christchurch. We continued heading north and stayed the night in Cheviot.


This is a smallish place between Christchurch and Kaikoura.

Local church evidently constructed of local building material - rock!

Australian Magpie.

Gore Bay

About 8 km from Cheviot - we took a little drive there after we found a motel.

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