22 Mar 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.
Akaroa Harbour – Cruise ship MS Noordam in the background near mountains
Ship’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.
Lyttelton 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.
Earthquake 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
Part 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.
The Great Hall of the Arts Centre
… And new constructions where the old fell
… not to mention the surprisingly untouched
St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church with small bell tower
The 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.
The 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 …
“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.
One of the larger Trams on the circuit
Small 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.
Do 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.
Canterbury Museum Entrance
Busking Gorilla at entrance to gardens
Peacock 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.
One of many bridges over The Avon River
Book your “Punt” here for a leisurely ride on “The Avon”
Memorial to Kate Sheppard and the achievement of Women’s Suffrage in 1893
Bridge of Remembrance (WWI & WWII)
The new and the old
Bunsen Cafe next to the Clock Tower at the Arts Centre
View 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.
WoodsyPosted at 21:25h, 22 March
So sorry about the devistation from the earthquake, it was a classic historical town previously. Nice pics Al