After relaxing two days in Wellington and the shortest flight of my life (45min + the best views over South Island) it was time for a quick look around Christchurch before heading to Mt. Cook.
We didn’t have much planned for Christchurch and it turned out to be one of the slowest days of our NZ trip.
Set at the top of Mt Cavendish, provides spectacular views over Christchurch and Pegasus Bay and I would say it’s a must visit place in Christchurch.
We went to the Gondola straight from the airport. Weather was perfect for this – just a couple of tiny clouds, blue sky and great visibility from the top. The ride up was fun, with the views becoming more and more interesting the higher we were.
At the top you’ll find a cafe (awful service on the day we were there) with overpriced food (sausage rolls, meat pies and paninis) and coffee. Terrace around the top floor has signs with descriptions of what you see. Downstairs is a souvenir shop (I bought my postcards there) and Time Tunnel (interesting way of showing a bit of history) which was fun even for two adults.
Tickets: NZ$25/adult, NZ$12/child. Cheaper when booked online in advance. Plenty of parking available at the base.
After seeing the city from the top, we wanted to see the centre. I marked a random spot on our gps and when we were close to it, we started to look for a parking. Empty streets and almost empty parking made us think “are you sure we’re in a walking distance now?”. The emptiness around us seemed a bit eerie, we didn’t expect that everything after a series of earthquakes still looks so…sad. There are empty spots where building were demolished, there are buildings that are still half broken, and the art installation made of empty chairs, that is very powerful.
But just a few streets away from all that is a positive, colourful space, Re:START – shopping mall made of shipping containers and the cardboard cathedral that shows how creative the people of Christchurch are.
I was looking forward to the relaxing evening I had planned and our one night at a b&b by the beach. But as it turned out, the beach was dirty and the neighbourhood (New Brighton) not too friendly. It was then when I realised I should have done a better research and book the accommodation somewhere out of the Christchurch area by the route to Mt Cook. But it was too late for changes, evening of eating delicious NZ cheese, drinking ciders and catching up on “internets” wasn’t that bad after all.