To get from the west coast of New Zealand to Christchurch in the East, we had to travel over Arthur’s Pass, a beautifully scenic mountain drive. However, as it was the middle of winter we were a little apprehensive due to the icy weather conditions. Thankfully our journey was incident free and we enjoyed a lovely drive over the Pass, stopping to sip tea from our van at several breathtaking viewpoints.
Soon we were leaving the winding mountainous roads behind and heading straight for Christchurch. One town that caught our attention was Springfield, which had the giant sized iconic Simpsons donut proudly standing in the middle of the town. Apparently it was erected when the Simpsons movie came out and the townspeople loved it so much they decided to keep it. We couldn’t resist a photo op before going on the road again.
Christchurch was different to any other town or city we had visited yet in New Zealand. It’s constant battle with earthquakes sets it apart in many ways and the cracked pavements and constant construction projects are the first thing you notice when you visit the city. Your eyes, however, aren’t long being drawn to the brilliant artwork and murals adorned on the cities torn and ragged walls, or the interesting sculptures which dolly-up empty building lots and debri-scattered areas.
There isn’t a list of ‘top things to do in Christchurch’ but more of a wander around and see what surprises you find. The on-going renovating and rebuilding of the city means that the creative artwork you come across is ever changing, but there are tours you can do to keep up with the latest additions. We spent most of our time strolling around, drinking in the cheerful and busy atmosphere of a city with a positive, forward thinking attitude.
Our wandering around brought us to the Canterbury Museum, which gave a fantastic account of New Zealand History to date as well as some animal and bird displays. Afterwards we moseyed around the nearby botanical gardens, which, even during the off season were quite impressive.
Deciding to treat ourselves to a fancy lunch, we opted to dine in a lovely restaurant called Fiddlesticks. I ordered a gnocchi dish, which included all my favourites – courgette, spinach, hazelnut and broccoli – it was devine! We loved the Fiddlesticks so much we sat outside afterwards with hot chocolate and coffee and watched the people of Christchurch go about their day.
Our few days in Christchurch were lovely, the crisp winter sun allowed us to take our time while we visited the cute little craft shops, and explore the inviting streets. On the last day we said goodbye to Jucy Josephine (an emotional parting) and dropped her off at the Jucy depot before catching a flight to Queenstown, the last leg of our New Zealand adventure.