Tuesday 3rd June
Hagley park and botanic gardens sits right in Christchurch centre and this was where we found ourselves on another frost-bitten morning having left the comfort of our hosts’ driveway for the last time. The sun was still low in the sky and this, coupled with the layer of frost still clinging to the grass and trees made for an extremely beautiful, if exceptionally cold, scene.
Despite the beauty of the park around us we decided quite quickly that a jaunt into the enticing warmth of Christchurch museum was called for and made our way there through the centre of the botanic gardens. Much of the gardens were of course not in bloom it being the middle of winter but a few hardy roses made an appearance and it still a very attractive walk nonetheless.
Although we initially saw the museum as a way to get us out of the cold, it turned out to be really interesting and much larger than we originally thought. It started off with a series of displays about the origins of the Maori culture several hundred years ago; how they hunted, lived and various artefacts that had been collected from the time.
One of the main things that struck us about seeing the collection was the like-new condition of the artefacts. The descriptions read that most of the objects were around 500-700 years old so comparing that to the UK’s 1000’s of year old history they practically seemed pristine and modern!
Nonetheless we were very impressed with the tools that were used to hunt and live (like using an egg from an extinct bird called a Moa, that’s the size of a pint glass, and turning it into a water bottle). We also got to see some dinosaur bones and an Egyptian mummy which is always fun!
Once we’d looked around the museum we made the decision that it was time to leave Christchurch and move on. We really wanted to take in some of the sights around the Banks Peninsula so we headed out to Akaroa, a French-influenced town at the heart of the banks. There was fairly little to do as such in Akaroa but the town was situated on the edge of a beautiful lake that led out to sea and was full of picturesque little houses and French-inspired road names. The winding roads that lead over the hills to reach it also allowed for some incredible views over the peninsula and Akaroa itself.
That night we were forced, through lack of options, to stay in a fancy campsite in Akaroa which set us back $42 (we subsequently vowed to spend no more than $20 per night from then on as that price can get you the exact same facilities). As for the beautiful surprise… it was finding this lake tucked away in the mountains on the way to Akaroa.
That’s it for now from us, speak to you soon!
Ben and Jess 🙂