I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Wednesday 20 March 2024

The BIG One - New Zealand - Days 47, 48 and 49

Monday 18th March - Christchurch

Richard didn’t sleep well worrying that he wouldn’t get Kiwi in through the gates of the Dome House (our Airbnb for the next four days). I woke up at 3am to be told this and then I couldn’t get back to sleep worrying about it. 

The packing and cleaning were finished and we set off, with fear and trepidation, for the Dome House to drop off our “stuff”, Kiwi got through the gates with no problem and there was plenty of room at the back of the house to do a 6 point turn!  We dropped our stuff off and then took Kiwi back to the depot. It was rather emotional leaving her but we had Maggie and Richard’s arrival to look forward to.  We had a complimentary taxi back to the Dome House. 

Maggie and Richard arrived about 30 minutes after us and Richard had to do a 12 point turn, but then their motorhome is half a metre longer than Kiwi!!  We decided to open a bottle of fizz to celebrate meeting up in New Zealand.  For those of you who don’t know, Maggie and I have been friends since our sons were born 43 years ago.  She and Richard moved to Florida in 1996 and we catch up most years when they visit the UK and it just so happened that we we were both coming to New Zealand at a similar time and it worked out that we could meet up in Christchurch.  11784 miles from the UK and 8250 miles from Florida 😃

The idea had been to go into Christchurch in the afternoon, but ended up staying here drinking wine and chatting!

The Dome House (or Koepel House to give it its proper name) was built in 1983 and at that time it had a high insulation value and consequently lower bills.  Things have changed a bit now!

Here are some photos of the Dome House.

Tuesday 19th March - Christchurch

We drove to Akaroa with Maggie and Richard in their motor home. Richard and I sat in the back at the table, which was fine though we both had bum ache when we stood up!  

We went through a pretty little town called Little River and had a coffee sitting outside in the sunshine.

From Little River we winded up hill and winded down hill, boy was it steep until we reach Akaroa which is a lovely little town in a pretty Bay.  We had a walk around looking for a sandwich and ended up buying rolls which we had with cheese and ham in the motor home overlooking the bay.

Akaroa is a sheltered harbour and is overlooked and surrounded by the remnants of an eruptive centre of the miocene Banks Peninsula Volcano. Akaroa is entirely dependent upon rainfall on the hills.

In the 1830s, France developed extensive plans for colonial expansion, including into the Pacific, where at that time it had no colonies. This included the South Island of New Zealand. The tiny settlement established at Akaroa can be viewed in the context of that failed, wider project. In 1838, a whaler, Captain Jean Louis Langlois wrote up a questionable deed of purchase for "the greater Banks Peninsula" to which twelve Kāi Tahu chiefs each added their moko or cross. The price was 1,000 francs (£40), with a deposit of 150 francs (£6) paid in goods and the remainder to be paid upon Langlois' return from France with settlers. When the settlers later did arrive, the British authorities – who had in the meantime taken possession of the whole of New Zealand – decided a valid sale had not taken place in 1838, relying for their decision on English law and Māori oral evidence.

From there we drove to Lyttleton to a craft brewery that Richard G wanted to go to and had an excellent meal. I had blue cod and chips which was yummy.

We have seen some amazing scenery today, one being a real wow!!

Wednesday 20th March - Christchurch 

What a busy day!  

We went off with Maggie and Richard in their motorhome to go into Christchurch.  I had been told about a parking lot where we could park the van which was next to Victoria Square so Maggie put that into Google.  Google took us to the wrong place and we ended up circumnavigating Christchurch before finding it, right next to Victoria Square!  

We walked to Cathedral Square where the cathedral had stood before the earthquake in 2012, in fact we could see that behind all the plastic they have rebuilt a lot of it and the nave has a roof on now.  The Cathedral took 40 years to build and 19 seconds to destroy,  it should be complete in 2027 at a cost of 160 million Dollars.

We went on to have a coffee then walked to the Bridge of Remembrance, which commemorates those who fought in WWI - about 10% of the population.  We then went back to the square as Richard and I wanted to go to the Isite office.  We said a fond farewell to Maggie and Richard as they were heading back to Kaikoura - it will only be 4 months before we see them again in Cornwall.  

Richard and I bought tickets for the hop on hop off tram, a punt on the river and the gondola.  We jumped on the first tram but didn’t go very far as the driver said that there was a street food market at one of the stops so we jumped off.   We wandered about and eventually chose a Greek Souvlaki, which was very good.  We walked back to the tram stop and went round the route 1.5 times as we were too early for our punt.  We were still too early so had a quick stroll through the Botanic Gardens, the 4th biggest green space in NZ, before going to the Antigua Boathouses for our punt.  The Antigua Boathouses are the oldest commercial buildings in New Zealand and Australia.  I got into the punt then spent the next half an hour worrying about how I was going to get out!  The trip took us along the River Avon (named after the Scottish Avon) and through the Botanic Gardens.  Back at the boathouse our punter and Richard were on hand to get me out but in the end I turned round on my new knee and got up that way - fortunately the seat was very soft so it didn’t hurt to kneel on.  It was then a quick walk to Quake City, an exhibition all about the 2012 earthquake.  It was very moving and frightening to see what happened.  Sadly we didn’t have that much time in the exhibition as it was closing.  Christchurch lost 1200 buildings in the quake and now has lots of “car parks” on land where buildings once stood.  The worst disaster was the CTV building where 115 out of a total of 185 lives were lost.  The city now has some wonderful murals which have been painted where buildings came down, you will see some in the photos below.

We got an Uber home as we were shattered.

While we were being punted we saw 2 breeds of ducks which are native to New Zealand. First was a Scaup duck, a black duck, which is a diving duck and the second were a pair of Paradise Shelducks.  These are oddities as they nest in trees and mate for life, dying of a broken heart if their mate dies.  The female is also the most attractive.

1 comment:

  1. Hope this comes to you from Sue but don’t be alarmed if it says Don. Loving hearing about your adventures. Love Sue xx