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.
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.)
|Christchurch Cathedral in ruins|
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.
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).
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.)
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.|
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.
|The Container Mill|
|The Bridge of Rememberance|
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Have you ever been to Christchurch before? What did you think of it?