If you walk down the lane, you find a small park. The park that is filled with subversive art installations. There are murals on the wall, planted natives for the future, a giant kaleidoscope… Christchurch is has hidden quirks.
There is a tree-stump about shin height. I looled down and found this small door.
I opened it.
Inside I discovered a Gap Cache Log Book. It recorded entries from people who chanced upon the logbook, as I did.
Christchurch after the quakes is a place full of human strength and resilience. There are signs of life, if you choose to pay attention.
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa are a must do when visiting the township. The experience alone is exciting and new. These are the only hot springs I’ve been to and the sheer novelty of sitting in are steamy pool amidst freezing weather was exciting enough.
The venue itself is run like a machine. It feels quite artificial and commercial, rather than your rustic mountain-cut geothermal experience. Bring your own towel or rent one, and rent a locker to avoid loosing your belongings amid the masses. It’s family friendly and a major attraction there so don’t expect tranquility.
To be Honest, I found the history of the venue a highlight of my visit there. It used to be frequented for mental health and rehabilitation purposes. Now, it’s a fun novelty albeit commercial and expensive.
The Avon River in Christchurch is an autumnal masterpiece. The weeping willows dance across the surface of the river, gently tousled by the breeze. This taste of England runs through the city, ducking under bridges in the CBD and skirting around parkland. It’s refreshing to have such a beautiful element of nature trickle through a city so badly effected by earthquakes.
There’s punting on the Avon, a popular tourist attraction. However I was content to just follow it- from the Canterbury Museum around even to the restart mall. The council has made a lovely feature of it, providing spaces to sit with quotes and memorials. Peppered with yellow confetti-like autumn leaves, this river is not to be missed in Christchurch.
Behind this facade
Is an empty space, a nest
For wise street urchins.
The Elizabeth Hotel suited our needs. It was a short walk to Orchard road, but not right in the hustle and bustle, which provided us with a little oasis. The staff were very welcoming and hospitable. They helped us understand the city and organise tours and activities.
The facilities are great, the pool is lovely, the gym is good enough and the buffet breakfast is exciting and delicious. In fact, the restaurant is a highlight as the windows offer a beautiful view.
Our rooms were satisfactory (beds a little hard though). One thing we did appreciate was that the hotel supplied a mobile phone for personal use, local and international calls, and Internet which is super handy when trying to navigate the city.
I would definitely go back to The Elizabeth.
New Regent Street is funky and a great taste of the local community. Quaint terraces line the street which is mainly used for tram thoroughfare and pedestrian access. The terraces are pastels and are a mirror image on either side of the street.
There are enough cafes to satisfy your brunch needs, some souvenir shops and hobby shops.
What’s most exciting to me are the hidden touches of humanity and resilience in the aftermath of the Christchurch quakes. This strip is a testament to their rebuilding effort. The street art here is quirky, stimulating and surprising.
I really recommend a stroll down here for lunch.
Singapore’s own Chinatown is a real treat. of course the most discerning of travelers may find their souvenirs in adorable little specialty shops in whatever part of town they stay in. Yet, Chinatown should not be overlooked as it is the hub for one of a kind niche oddities.
Amidst the grimey street stalls, there’s a clean, polished, well lit Tin Tin store, and there are calligraphy artists galore. I discovered a music store that sold old timey 1960s Chinese music (perfect for a family gift) and zodiac calendars. Sure, you can get run of the mill bag tags and tacky shirts, but this Chinatown seems a lot more curated than that.
Go for a shopping trip!