The Beauty and Spirit of Christchurch

The Beauty and Spirit of Christchurch

On Thursday 9th January 2020 at 7am, we arrived in Akaroa Harbour for an excursion to the city of Christchurch.

Visitors to Christchurch by cruise ship, would have normally disembarked at Lyttelton. However, Lyttelton’s harbour facilities were damaged during the earthquakes of 2010 – 2012. So from then until February 2021 alternate arrangements have had to be made at Akaroa, a tender only port.

DSC06497aAkaroa Harbour – Cruise ship MS Noordam in the background near mountains

DSC06488DSC06497Ship’s tender bringing passengers ashore at Akaroa

The drive from Akaroa to Christchurch takes 90 minutes by bus (each way) on the winding, mountainous State Highway 75. While the scenery is enjoyable, getting there (and back) takes a big chunk out the day. Some passengers weren’t prepared to do it and spent the day in the very attractive township of Akaroa. For first time visitors like us, it was worth going to Christchurch.

Akaroa to Christchurch MapLyttelton can be seen just below Christchurch, on Governors Bay. Akaroa is towards bottom right of map

Earthquakes have been frequent “visitors” to Christchurch. And one does not have to be there long to notice how much the city and its people have suffered from them. For example, there was a series of damaging quakes between September 2010 and January 2012. The most destructive of these was around midday on 22nd February 2011. 185 people were killed and thousands of buildings destroyed or severely damaged.

The most obviously damaged, and as yet unrepaired building, is The Anglican ChristChurch Cathedral.

DSC06506Earthquake damaged ChristChurch Cathedral


An open area carpark in the city is almost certainly where a building(s) have been demolished and not yet replaced.


… In this context it is particularly heartening to see the ongoing restoration work.


Add to that the beauty of the fully restored

DSC06597Part of the old Canterbury College / University, now The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora


There are 23 buildings in the Arts Centre complex, of which 21 are heritage listed. The restoration cost is said to be NZ$290 million.

DSC06599The Great Hall of the Arts Centre


And new constructions where the old fell


not to mention the surprisingly untouched

DSC06531St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church with small bell tower

DSC06542The Avon River & earthquake memorial (white wall to top left of photo)

Alongside the peaceful flow of the Avon River, victims of the earthquakes are remembered.

DSC06543The names of all 185 earthquake victims are displayed on this wall

And through this period of devastation and restoration (2011 to 2020) it is said that one art piece has stood out as a symbol of the “Grit, determination and strength” shown by the people of Christchurch. That piece is …

DSC06644“Chapman’s Homer” by Michael Parekowhai (outside the Art Gallery of Christchurch)


Christchurch’s fleet of heritage trams travel part of the CBD and offer an interesting and enjoyable tour.

DSC06524One of the larger Trams on the circuit

DSC06565Small heritage tram in Cathedral Square

We boarded this small tram, “licensed to seat 32 passengers”, for a “hop on, hop off” city tour. The tram was made in Philadelphia by the Brill Company and is signed “Invercargill Tramways” NZ. Not certain how or when it arrived in Christchurch.

DSC06566Do NOT Talk to The Motorman Whilst The Car is in Motion

This was our “Motorman”; or as we knew him, Baz our tram driver and tour guide.


The tramways have a long history in Christchurch, commencing in the late 1800s. However in the 1930s most of the trams were replaced by buses. The current city “heritage” loop was opened in 1995, but services were suspended from the 22 February 2011 due to earthquake damage. The tramways reopened in November 2013 on a limited route, followed by the reopening of the full pre-earthquake loop in 2014.


 The Canterbury Museum sits on the eastern perimeter of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

DSC06620Canterbury Museum Entrance

DSC06621Busking Gorilla at entrance to gardens

DSC06632DSC06625_1Peacock Fountain erected in 1911

Christchurch is the largest city in the south island and New Zealand’s second most populated city after Auckland. It reminds me of Adelaide (Australia) and is it’s sister city.

DSC06514One of many bridges over The Avon River

DSC06517Book your “Punt” here for a leisurely ride on “The Avon”

DSC06515Memorial to Kate Sheppard and the achievement of Women’s Suffrage in 1893

DSC06549Bridge of Remembrance (WWI & WWII)

DSC06502aThe new and the old

Bunsen Cafe next to the Clock Tower at the Arts Centre

DSC06646View of Akaroa Harbour from State Highway 75

There is plenty more to see of New Zealand, so let’s meet at Picton for our next excursion.





1 Comment
  • Woodsy
    Posted at 21:25h, 22 March Reply

    So sorry about the devistation from the earthquake, it was a classic historical town previously. Nice pics Al

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: