Yesterday we had a really nice day. Karen and I finally appear to be getting over the nasty cold/flu. We checked out of our hotel room at last and moved over to Mark and Dana’s apartment near Hagley Park. They were getting ready to do some car tours with their friend from the US. They have a really nice apartment with fridge, dishwasher!, washer/dryer, and a nice outside patio with big glass doors.
Next to the apartment is the huge Hagley Park – the largest park by far in Christchurch. It has several rugby fields, lakes, a golf course, croquet park, a river going through parts of it, and more. We went for a walk right after lunch through the park. One thing I find really interesting in New Zealand is the different kinds of trees. They have some really interesting ones in the park. They also have a lot of cicadids in the park right now, and they can be really loud in places.
We then went for a ride to the southeast side of Christchurch which has some large volcanic mountains. There is a gondola that goes up the side of the mountain giving you a stupendous view of Christchurch, the valley, the coastline, and the huge crater lake which is adjacent to Lyttelton port. The port is how Christchurch first became a thriving town since it allowed ships to deliver and pick up goods from the area.
The gondola ride cost $25, but was worth the price. The view was quite nice as we ascended up the mountainside and Christchurch spread out before us. It was especially nice seeing the coastline appear – I’ve been missing the sea! We then saw the crater lake become visible – obviously volcanic in nature. Then at the top we could see Lyttelton – which is geographically a very interesting port. The only thing that spoiled this part of the trip is that clouds moved in right as we reached the top! It had been sunny all day, which is why we chose to head out to the gondola. Grr!
Check out this photo album for pictures from the entire day:
We spent some time visiting the café at the summit, and they have a little museum ride that tells you about the formation of the peninsula during volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Maybe this is part of the source of the earthquakes in Christchurch?
After coming back down, we left to get on the highway back into town. But, we ended up on the entrance to the tunnel road to Lyttelton. They have a tunnel straight under the mountain we went up that leads to the port. Its a short ride, so we continued on and visited Lyttelton. We got to drive by some marinas (mostly local boats – we saw no cruisers down here). The port had lots of lumber awaiting departure – apparently a main export. We finally headed back and went to the city centre and had some dinner.