Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday, 6 Nov 2007: Christchurch

Arrived in Christchurch on 10.11am. Haere Mai!

Temperature was 9 degree Celcius. In early november they were not really in summer yet, it was actually the end of spring. They are already in Daylight Saving Time so it was 5 hours difference between NZ and Singapore.

We're picked up by small van operated by Super Shuttle and dropped off at Copthorne Hotel, Colombo Street. It overlooks the beautiful Victoria Square Park and the tranquil Avon river with huge weeping willows trees. Saw some tourists doing the punting on the Avon, basically riding a small boat operated by one guy at the back of the boat, along the Avon river.

At the heart of Christchurch is the Cathedral Square. We did the tower climb to reach the top. It's $5 per entry and visitors can climb the 134 steps of stairs. On top, there are 4 balcony into which visitors can have a different view of the city.

Then we took the Tramway ride. At $14 per adult (or $30 if we purchase combo ticket for tram and gondola ride), visitors are entitled to hop on and off the tram for 2 days anywhere they like. It's a great way to do the city tour in a relaxed manner.. and the driver also gave informative and entertaining commentary. The trams follow a 2.5km loop around central Christchurch, passing by many interesting buildings and sites. There are a few types of tram, and they also have Tramway Restaurant that offers cocktail functions and dining experience.

After the relaxing tram ride (it's so relaxing it made us fall asleep), we took bus no 28 to Heathcote Valley, the base of Christchurch Gondola. As the gondola rose to the summit of Christchurch's famous extinct volcano, 360-degree panoramic views of Christchurch, Canterbury Plains and Lyttelton Harbour unfolded.. The wind was freezing cold.

We had pot of tea with lots and lots of sugar plus Whittaker's chocolate at the summit cafe. Then we went for the Time Tunnel ride. It is basically a documentary on the forming of the Banks of Peninsula

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