Doing the Haka dance!

Trip Start Apr 19, 2012
Trip End May 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Amber Kiwi Holiday Park Christchurch
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 11: Christchurch

We spent the entire day exploring Christchurch city and its surroundings. We started early in the morning to visit coastal suburbs of Redcliffs. It was a sight we were not prepared for, because from there we witnessed the damage caused by the earthquakes back in 2011 where houses were collapsed and homes evacuated. There were even large shipping containers (with artwork beautifully drawn on it) placed at alongside the cliffs to prevent further rubble from spilling on to the road below. We made a stop there to admire the ocean which was just right across from the cliffs.Without these containers, roads would have been closed!

We then proceeded to Ferrymead Heritage Park - a museum which featured all historical items/places/transportation! The highlight of the park was getting to experience the old electrical tram. Besides that, it had a self-contained 1900 town, with theatre, school classroom, church, jail, railway station, lodge hall, post office, printers (still operational! where we get to see the masters at work doing printing using old antique machinery), tobacconist, general store, and lawyer’s office. Other attractions included an exhibit which housed classic automobiles, tractors, fire engines, aeroplanes, trams, and trains. They have education program there, and when we were there, we saw groups of students playing role-play by dressing up in the costumes of that Edwardian era! It was a nice stroll through time and definitely well worth a visit!

After spending few hours at the park, we drove to the nearby Christchurch Gondola, but it was closed indefinitely due to the earthquakes. Located next to the gondola, there was a steep walking track, called the Bridle Path. If we had more time, we, I would have walked the path. Based on the information signboard, there were few interesting sites along the path, that I felt worth visiting.

From there, we drove to Cashmere Hills using Summit Road where we visited the famous heritage buildings Sign of Kiwi, a tearoom and rest house with a magnificent view of the city and also Sign of Takahe, a castle lookalike restaurant-cum-bar-cum-rest-house. Unfortunately, both were also closed due to the earthquakes. What was really interesting was that we could see earthquake cracks on the roads and it was recently patched up. But the best thing on the hilly road was to visit the lookout point to see the great 360 degree panaromic views over Christchurch, and the Southern Alps on the horizon.

After that, we continued our journey back to Christchurch city center to see the devastation caused by the 2011 earthquakes. We could see many reconstructions were ongoing. Many shops were already closed down, but there were a few that was still opened for business.

We took some pictures before we proceeded to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve to catch the Maori cultural performances - Ko Tane. It was like a small zoo with plenty of wildlife but because it was already dark when we reached, we could not see the animals. I believed it would be fun and educational for the children and adults alike. The best experience was that we got to experience culture, from the greetings ceremony (Powhiri) and closing waiata (songs). I got to do the Haka dance and both my mums get to do the traditional Poi dance (with swinging balls). Priceless! We did not go to the Hangi Meal, because that required advanced booking. We headed straight back to our holiday park after the show.

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