Christchurch to Akaroa and Timaru

We had a bit of a look around Christchurch to see how it had changed since I was there 10 years ago. It was quite upsetting to see all the construction still going on 3 years later. A lot of buildings had evidently been demolished, and others were still standing, wrapped in plastic. I was driving, so no pictures of that.

We stopped by the Botanic Gardens and Arts Centre and Museum. I think the city must be recouping its costs by charging over $3 an hour for parking, even on a Sunday. At least we didn’t have to drive far to find a park! Since we had a full day, we decided an hour was enough to wander through the Botanic Gardens and look at the construction site that is the Arts Centre.

The Botanic Gardens were as beautiful as ever, though there was evidence of sections that are no longer accessible to the public.

Botanic Gardens, Christchurch

I think the fountain must be new…unless my memory is faulty (which is likely!):

Botanic Gardens, Christchurch

My sister went into the Museum next to the gardens to have a look, while I walked around photographing the outside and the Arts Centre across the road:

Museum outside Botanic Gardens, Christchurch

Arts Centre, Christchurch

Tram near Arts Centre, Christchurch

The Arts Centre is undergoing major reconstruction. Our host at the hotel told us they’re spending $110m on it!

Arts Centre, Christchurch

Arts Centre, Christchurch

Arts Centre, Christchurch

There was a cute little statue opposite the Arts Centre, for a dyslexia clinic.

Opposite Arts Centre, Christchurch

We left Christchurch and headed off to Akaroa. We only stopped a couple of times along the way (I’m trying to cut back on the photography!) Once at a lookout at Hilltop:

En route to Akaroa

and again at Duveauchelle:

Duveauchelle, en route to Akaroa

Akaroa is very cute and quaint. It was initially settled by french, though I can’t say I see any evidence of that aside from the street names. The town was packed with tourists – there was a cruise boat in the harbour, so that was probably the majority of the tourists in town. We wandered around a little at the harbour and I took photos of a couple of the cute the little houses and the pier and then of the lighthouse and mountains behind it.

Ela at one of the piers in Akaroa

Akaroa

The big jetty at Akaroa

Akaroa harbour

We drove back to the actual town and had lunch there at the Brasserie. I had mussels, which were nice but not really filling, and my sister had a Moroccan flavoured seafood chowder.

We left Akaroa and then headed to Timaru. I tried to use the offline navigation app on my phone, but it wanted to take us god only knows where, so we gave up on it. Pity.

We made it to Timaru anyway and checked into our B&B, before heading down to Caroline Bay Park to have a little wander around and check out the rose gardens.

Caroline Bay Park, Timaru

Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden, Caroline Bay Park, Timaru

Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden, Caroline Bay Park, Timaru

Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden, Caroline Bay Park, Timaru

Caroline Bay Park, Timaru

We walked down to the beach lookout, where one can see seals and penguins – we didn’t see any, but it was probably too late for one and too early for the other.

Caroline Bay Park, Timaru

Caroline Bay Park, Timaru

It was getting very cold anyway, so we headed off to dinner. My sister had chosen Fusion restaurant which our hostess said was very good upmarket food. It was expensive, but I found it delicious. Unfortunately, my sister didn’t.

We walked back to the B&B and had a nice cuppa and contemplated going to see the penguins come in at 9.30pm, but then decided not to bother. We’ll be freezing cold enough tomorrow at Mt Cook!

A Slideshow of pictures from this day is here at Google+

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