15 months after arriving in New Zealand, I finally made it to the fabled South Island. It was a quick weekend getaway, just enough time to glimpse the highlights in Christchurch, drive up to Kaikoura and have a morning of whale watching (blog post coming soon) before heading back to catch our return flight.
Here are 5 things we got up to on our flying visit!
1. Riccarton House
Riccarton House is built on the site of the first European settlements in this area, so it really harkens back to the origins of modern Christchurch. We took a tour of the house and were completely enamoured with the history and decor. Each room is beautifully recreated, often with precise attention to detail.
1) The wonderful Christchurch Farmers’ Market takes place in the grounds – see below.
2) The tour is only half an hour (as opposed to an hourlong tour on other days).
2. Christchurch Farmers’ Market
It was a happy fluke that our visit to Riccarton House coincided with the weekly Christchurch Farmer’s Market. I love to peruse market produce! We were lucky enough to find the most delicious veggie soup during our browsing, which was served with fresh bread and was basically the best lunch I could’ve asked for.
3. Tram ride
At 25NZD for a return ticket, taking the tram is definitely not a cheap way to get around town. But given our visit to Christchurch was so fleeting, we thought it’d be worthwhile to be taken around in style. I’m glad we did. We got to see a good selection of key sights around the city from the comfort of the tram, including the Re:Start Mall (a temporary mall built from shipping containers), the Avon River, Christchurch Museum and each of the remaining items on this list!
4. New Regent Street
This was definitely my favourite part of central Christchurch. When it was opened in 1932, New Regent Street was called the “most beautiful street in New Zealand” and I can understand why. Above the street, the Spanish Mission style buildings are uniformly painted in the most delightful ice-cream hues of blue, yellow and green. It’s so photogenic!
5. Cathedral Square
Our tram driver called ChristChurch Cathedral the world’s biggest pigeon coop(!). The destruction from the 2011 earthquake was so severe that the building sadly lost its spire and part of the west wall, leading to partial demolition and the scaffolding you can see in the image above.
The ultimate fate of the cathedral, whether reconstruction or demolition/replacement, is still up in the air according to Wikipedia. In the meantime, Cathedral Square is worth a quick visit as a poignant testament to the damage caused by the recent earthquakes. (There are a couple of basic art installations here too, though nothing terribly impressive, IMHO.)
I’m also intrigued by the idea behind this parking meter – part of a project called Open City that’s apparently coming soon!
Over to you
Have you visited Christchurch? Is there anything I missed? I’d love to hear in the comments.
Pin the image below!