January 9, 2024 Christchurch (Day 104)

Up early for a quick walk on the beach at sunrise!

Another venture into Christchurch today to explore the downtown area. In 2010 and 2011 Christchurch suffered devastating earthquakes that destroyed many heritage brick and mortar buildings in the city center and killed 185 people. In the almost 13 years since the city has rebuilt a lot of the downtown with modern, earthquake resilient buildings. But there are lots of empty lots and fenced off condemned buildings that are still awaiting insurance claims to be settled before demolition.

We walked from the new central bus interchange, opened in 2015 to replace the destroyed original bus depot, towards the Botanic Garden, encircled by the Avon river.

Some sights along our walk; an optical illusion wall depicting a 19th century city block at the Riverside Market (restaurants and shops), the Bridge of Remembrance over the Avon river, built to commemorate the soldiers who served in WW1, and the tram line that encircles the main business district.

As we entered the Botanic Garden and walked along the Avon river we spotted the iconic Christchurch attraction, a punt ride on the shallow river!

Scenes on our walk through the gardens.

The Rose garden is in full bloom now, with the conservatory in the background. Inside the conservatory there is a lush tropical ambience!

We exited the Gardens into the Arts Centre, housed in the old Canterbury College campus that was built in the 1870’s. The Arts Centre moved into the space in 1978, the College having moved to a suburb about 20 years earlier. The 2011 earthquake severely damaged many of the campus buildings and they are being restored slowly but surely. The fountain at the Garden entrance faces one side of the old College campus.This side of one of the campus buildings shows the restored section on the right and the un-restored section on the left.

We had a great walk around the campus, viewing the exhibits ranging from the work of Ernest Rutherford, “Studying at Canterbury College from 1890 – 1895 Rutherford, known as the Father of Nuclear Physics won a Nobel Prize in 1908”, to the work of the stonemasons who are restoring the damaged and weatherworn stone carvings on the buildings. We had an exhausting day and enjoyed the bus ride back to the carpark and a relaxing evening at our B&B bach.


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