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Today we explored Christchurch. We got a day pass to ride the 1900’s vintage sight-seeing trams that run through the Central Business District making 18 stops on their figure-eight route. Each driver offered up a running commentary about local sites often with some humor added.

There were four trams on duty today. Two long and two shorter.
Tram stop #1 at Cathedral Junction. The first tram was driven by a student driver – they didn’t let passengers on with him.
We rode the whole loop on #11, the oldest of the trams built in 1903

Our first stop was Victoria Square.

The park was originally called Market Square. The name was changed two years after the death of Queen Victoria I when the statue was erected.
Flower Clock
The beautiful Avon River – named for a tributary of the River Clyde in Scotland
Dandelion fountain
Pou Pou Monument – commemorates the 19th Century signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The pole represents Mahinga Kai (a food source) and Tipuna (the ancestors) of the indigenous people.
This James Cook guy sure got around!
Beautiful Māori art

New Regent Street is a pedestrian block with colourful store fronts. It is the only mirror street in New Zealand. Each building has a mirror twin across the street. It reminded us a bit of the facades in Disneyland.

My new friend at Rollickin Gelato
The trams go slow through Regent Street so they don’t hit cafe tables or stray tourists.
Old school phone booth – only takes credit card though, no coins!

The Christchurch Cathedral was badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake and is still undergoing restoration. It is expected to re-open in 2027. Sadly, there are still a lot of damaged buildings not yet repaired. One crazy example is a hotel that only just had their insurance settlement pay out – 12 years after the earthquake!

Due to earthquake activity, no building in Christchurch is allowed to be taller than 28 meters.

WWII Memorial

Remembrance Bridge – a WWI Memorial Arch
The Chalice sculpture – the metal is cut into shapes of plants indigenous to the province of Canterbury.

Flour Power sculpture – makes a statement about fields of crops in Canterbury region being replaced by houses; rows of wheat have given way to rows of streetlights

Christchurch is full of murals.

The Kaitaki, a guardian, is a symbol of protection for the city, holding both a kingfisher and an owl. Two elements of Māori culture, ornithology and mythology, highlight a protection theme for an earthquake-torn city in the process of rebuilding.

The Riverside 3D mural celebrates Christchurch’s history and includes historic businesses.

Accurate murals look like real building facades.
Cool old delivery wagon too.
Celebrating the connection between New Zealand and Antarctica

The Riverside Market is similar to our Granville Island; lots of little shops selling donuts, cheese, candy, olive oil, honey, chocolate, beer, wine.

We did a tasting of a local wines at Mischief Wine. Their wines are named for cheeky NZ birds & the artwork is done by a local (Auckland) artist.
We brought home a bottle of their rose.

Lunch was at a gastropub on the second floor with a great view of the Avon River. Kris got some amazing local brews. So far, we’ve found portions to be realistically sized and food is really good. Eating out has been very expensive, but tipping is not an expectation. Staff are paid a living wage.

Stout, Porter, Black Beer and a really sour Sour!

Christchurch owns their own small piece of the Berlin Wall. When the wall was dismantled, pieces were shipped to various other parts of the world to be displayed.

Dave has now seen the Berlin Wall in Germany and Christchurch!
Mural on the back of the wall.
The only island on the River Avon. The replica water wheel symbolizes the grains ground for beer and bread.
Across from our hotel is an art museum in the Canterbury Christ’s College. They are currently showing an outdoor sculpture gallery.

We had a very nice tapas dinner just down the block. Tomorrow we head north of Christchurch into one of the wine regions.

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