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  • Writer's pictureNick Elsey

Christchurch, New Zealand

Updated: Nov 14, 2018

23 Feb 1997 - Christchurch

We wake to clouds and a major temperature drop. Had to happen sometime. Our planned picture shoot of the mountains (which come right down to the sea here) are curtailed and we head off for Christchurch, our last stop in NZ (sob, sniff).


Like every other town in NZ (other than Auckland), this city is small. Blink while driving though and you’ll miss it. The town is portrayed as being very much like Cambridge (in the UK) and it does live up it’s image. Very picturesque, complete with a river Avon running thorough the middle and punts floating by.

We continue our research project into finding a way of shipping ‘unaccompanied baggage’ (i.e. a pair of dirty socks and a case of NZ wine) back to the USA. A visit to the Qantas office downtown and we find that the USA is the only country in the world that denies all knowledge of this process. Regular shipping is the only way to go. After hearing the shipping rates we resolve to drink our wine hoard instead.

Lunch is at a café called Dux de Lux in the ‘Art Center’ of Christchurch. This is the old University buildings, converted into a complex of cafés, museums and tasteful art shops. Very chic.

I spend an hour or two in the afternoon wandering through the Botanic Gardens. Quick incredible. From what we can work out, 100 years ago this town consisted on one hut and a couple of lost colonists, but many of these trees are huge and have to be way older than that. We the Maori into Botanic gardens?. Anyway, these gardens are well worth the exercise.

For the next two nights we stay in the Fino Castemente Suites. For just NZ$135 a night we get two bedrooms (one for bodies and one for junk & suitcases), a bathroom and a separate living room and kitchen with all the appliances. Wow.

Lynn spends the evening tormenting the washer / dryer and I head off to the cinema (Starship Troupers – crap).

24 Feb 1997 - Christchurch

A lazy day in Christchurch. I spend a couple of hours just hanging out and reading (in our lovely apartment) while Lynn goes into town to do ‘stuff’. We do another tour of the Botanic gardens on her return and I spend an hour in a museum within the Arts Center.

We spend a couple of hours in the afternoon doing the ‘Port Hills Tour’ drive around Christchurch, Littleton Bay and the surrounding hills. Very picturesque and very hilly. The guide map we’re working from is quite amusing. Who ever wrote it was obviously given the brief – "come up with a 2 hour drive round the nicer parts of Christchurch & environs, and point out 15 landmarks along the way". We figure they were getting desperate by number 7 or so. Landmarks included a large rock, a perfectly ordinary bridge over a tiny river and the one & only casino in town.

Lynn phones Avis to get the address of their downtown office (we have an Avis map of Christchurch, but of course this isn’t marked). She get the street name & number, but then spends the next 10 minutes trying to find out the cross street. No matter how she phrases the question, this lady just can’t get it. She’s now a leading contender for Lynn’s ‘dumbest person of the year’ award.

Dinner at the Mythai restaurant (Thai food and very good too).

25 Feb 1997 - On to Perth, Australia

We drop of the car, grab a coffee and catch a shuttle to the airport. Today we bid a fond farewell to NZ and fly to Perth, Australia.

Christchurch airport is dinky and guess what – under construction! Of the five we’ve been though so far this trip, Auckland was the only one not being fixed up / improved / messed up.

A quick flight to Sydney on our first real Qantas airplane (all the other ‘Qantas’ flights to date have actually been on other code-sharing airlines). We stay in Sydney long enough to get some Aussie money (very colorful) and to discover that we are making a stop in Adelaide on our way to Perth.

We’re thrown off the plane at Adelaide long enough to grab a beer (me) and lots of Adelaide tourist info (Lynn – for our visit here next week). Back on the plane. Movie (the new James Bond - the usual ridiculous plot with a totally unbelievable villain, but fun anyway). A bit of typing, and we’re up to date again. Until next time…

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