Monday, 12 February 2018

How I Spent 4 Hours in Christchurch, New Zealand


Hola mi amigas!

Today I'm going to chat about a day trip to Christchurch that I went on during my Christmas/New Year cruise. Although the ship actually docked an hour and a half away (by coach) in Akaroa, the trip inland to Christchurch was definitely worth it as we travelled up & down steep & winding roads that encompassed mountains, lakes & overall gorgeous scenery.

Akaroa scenery


Prior to leaving Sydney I'd already made up my mind to go to Christchurch, not only out of curiosity, but to support a city that is still on the mend following the February 2011 earthquake, which claimed many lives & destroyed a lot of buildings, including the city's iconic Cathedral (see below for photo).

The devastating signs of that earthquake are still there for all to see unfortunately (there are plenty of fences still erected around vacant land & buildings which were partially or fully destroyed); but I have no doubt that Christchurch will eventually rebuild into a fantastic city, once the insurance companies pull their collective fingers out & give people the money they so richly deserve*. I can see it transforming into a hipster kind of place but with plenty of nods to the older, historical Christchurch.

(*According to my coach driver, the reason why Christchurch is still in recovery mode is due to these companies either refusing to pay up or them dragging their feet.)

The ruins of Christchurch Cathedral
Christchurch Cathedral in ruins
Whilst I only had 4 hours to spend in Christchurch, I felt it was enough for me to get a sense of what the city is like in its current state. Here's how I spent my time there:

10am
My coach pulled up alongside Christchurch's Botanic Gardens & seeing as I don't mind a walk through nature, I decided to make that my first pit stop. Although the morning was rather crisp, cool & overcast (just like Dunedin, Christchurch can still be chilly, even in summer), it didn't deter me from having a look around. I headed first into the Herb Garden & finally saw what jicama (a Mexican root vegetable I've heard a lot about) looks like, at least in its early stages.


Christchurch Botanic Gardens' Herb Garden

After perusing the Herb Garden, I took off to the New Zealand garden section in search of anything native worth having a look at. Along the way I stopped to take a zillion photos of some fairly docile ducks & their offspring lying all along the river shore (there's a river that cuts right through the Botanic Gardens). I got very close to some ducklings, who I was careful not to disturb too much. A certain feather-loving gal I know would've been completely geeking out at this moment (if you're reading this, you know who you are).

Ducklings at Christchurch's Botanic Gardens

Duck at Christchurch's Botanic Gardens

Although it would've been cool to hang around & watch the ducks all day, alas I knew I didn't have time so continued along to the New Zealand garden. Whilst I didn't find anything of interest there, I certainly did at the Rose Garden. They may not be my favourite flower (sunflowers & gerberas are my faves FYI), but this part of the Botanic Gardens was so nicely presented that I couldn't help but hang around for a while & take zillions more photos. For the sake of this post, I narrowed it down to just 2.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens' Rose Garden


On my way back to the entrance of the Botanic Gardens, I passed by a grassy area that still had a whole bunch of Christmas installations still set up. I thought they were kinda cool, so I'm going to share them with you too.

Christmas art installations at Christchurch's Botanic Gardens

Christmas art installation at Christchurch's Botanic Gardens

11am
Having stretched my legs at the Botanic Gardens, I headed up to the Arts Centre (or more specifically, the Boys' High building) for a brief pitstop & perhaps a spot of shopping. The Arts Centre was also affected by the 2011 earthquake and hasn't completely re-opened to the public yet, but luckily the Boys' High building has re-opened for business.

Whilst there, I stopped at The Fudge Cottage because I have a sweet tooth & couldn't resist walking in. One offered sample of their Russian fudge (tastes like caramel btw) was enough for me to snap up a box of that + 2 boxes of their Chocolate fudge as well. I've eaten a bit of their Chocolate fudge since getting home & damn it's pretty good. It's sweet, but not too sweet, and also pretty creamy. I also love the storage instructions on the box: "store in a warm tummy, or a cool cupboard".

The Fudge Cottage, Boys Hall, Christchurch, New Zealand

Having had a sweet hit for the morning (and having also patted some cute doggos outside), I headed up Gloucester St to Christchurch's retail precinct, but not before stopping to take photos of some interesting art installations outside the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Christchurch Art Gallery outside installation

Christchurch Art Gallery outside installation

My first stop was at quirky homewares/fashion/everything store Shut The Front Door! for a browse before meandering through the rest of the retail precinct, which largely encompasses Cashel St. There wasn't a whole lot there tbh, aside from a few Australian stores we all know & love like Seed, Witchery & Mecca Maxima. Along the way I also passed through Plymouth Lane, which had/has a cool street art mural titled "there's no place like home". Although I couldn't capture it all (it's rather wide), here's a couple of my favourite bits from it. (P.S. The opening image of this post comes from that mural btw.)



12pm
With my stomach beginning to growl, I headed uptown to find some food trucks but ended up coming across Little High Eatery, which is home to a whole bunch of different food outlets crammed into a pretty tiny space.

Having been disappointed with the burger I'd had in Dunedin the previous day (note to others: don't go to Velvet Burger, it's not that great) & with my burger craving having not been satiated, I went inside Little High Eatery to Bacon Bros. Burgers & ordered Andy the Electrician, which consisted of a meat patty, salad, cheese, their own BBQ sauce and....you guessed it....bacon. With a name like Bacon Bros. Burgers, of course all of their burgers contain bacon; but vegans & vegetarians, you guys don't have to worry because they have vegan/vego burgers with vegan bacon in it. Unfortunately I have no photos of said burger because I wanted to eat (having waited 1/2 an hour for my meal) + I had 2 hot Kiwi yuppies sitting at my table (the place was absolutely packed & I felt self-conscious about photographing my lunch in front of them), but what I will say is Andy the Electrician, you were fucking delicious.

Not an accurate representation of what I ate, but this will suffice.


1pm
I wandered back down town again & after getting lost for a little bit, I finally stumbled across the famous Container Mill, which sprung up in the wake of the 2011 earthquake. Home to a few souvenir type shops & a whole bunch of food stalls & trucks, the Container Mill is another lunch-time option if you dig your street food. Whilst I was there, there was a temporary Ben & Jerry's food truck offering a few of their ice creams for people to eat.

Whilst in that vicinity, I spotted the Bridge of Rememberance, which I'd already made a mental note to walk over.

Christchurch's Container Mill
The Container Mill

Bridge of Rememberance, Christchurch, New Zealand
The Bridge of Rememberance
By that stage it was getting close to meet-back-at-the-coach time, so I had roughly 15-20 minutes to make another pit stop back at the Boys' High building to check out anything I'd missed when I visited earlier in the day (and to take a photo of the aforementioned Fudge Cottage). I managed to go upstairs & check out some of the boutiques, but nothing took my fancy. On my way out I could smell something sweet & yummy & turned my head to discover Rollickin' Gelato. If I weren't so full from lunch I might've sampled some, but didn't fancy throwing it back up. 😉 Maybe next time Christchurch!



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Have you ever been to Christchurch before? What did you think of it?







4 comments:

  1. I have never been to Christchurch, but I would love to now. Great post, Shell

    Indie// In Search of the Holy Grail

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    1. Thanks Indie. Hopefully in the next 5 years or so infrastructure will have improved & Christchurch will be returning to normal.

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  2. I visited Christchurch before the earthquake and have an amazing photo of my son jumping on one of those bunge trampolines in front of the cathedral and it looks like he's sitting on top of the spire (ouch!).

    Sad to hear the insurance companies are making life difficult for those claiming.

    Ingrid
    http://www.fabulousandfunlife.blogspot.com.au

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    1. I can't recall seeing the bungee trampolines while I was there but then again that wasn't my focus. I'm sure they're still there though as I do vaguely remember a playground of sorts being in that area.

      Yes it's annoying that the insurance companies are making life difficult for everyone as it's halting progress. The city probably would've been completely re-built (or close to being re-built) by now if it weren't for them dragging things along.

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