In New Zealand!
Christchurch Travel Blog› entry 19 of 40 › view all entries
Yesterday we left Oz en route to Christchurch, New Zealand. When we departed Melbourne, the weather was beautiful and sunny but a tad bit nippy. We arrived in Christchurch to torrential rains and a cutting wind. Thankfully, by this morning, the wind and rain had subsided and left us with a gorgeous day ... but one of only 42 degrees. In fact, some of the places to which we journeyed today had patchy, light snow on the ground.
We did little sightseeing yesterday, primarily because the weather stank. We were able to explore the city's heart, which is Cathedral Square. Christchurch is very British, reflected in the place names and architectural styles.
While Miller munched on a pastry at a coffee shop, Sheldon and I went to church -- to the Anglican Evensong service at the cathedral. The inside of the building is gorgeous, although its age is a but a flash in time compared to the great cathedrals of Europe. The Cathedral Choir, which was all male and included members of their boy choir, sang the service and the vice dean, a soft-spoken woman, officiated. And, of course, the church service was accented by their amazing pipe organ which made the flags under the biggest of the pipes billow with each booming bass note.
This morning we slept in (the first such treat of the holiday) and then headed to the International Antarctic Centre. Christchurch is THE jumping off point for scientific expeditions into the Antarctic. Seventy percent of the traffic to the frozen continent originates here. The Centre takes you through an amazing journey of Antarctica... from the forms of transportation critical to any mission (including the planes, which naturally made Sheldon drool), to the food and lodging on the bases, to their scientific research (particularly on the ozone layer and on the animal life on the continent), to the weather patterns... and on and on. The highlight had to be standing in a room that simulated an Antarctic storm. The lights dimmed to a faint almost nonexistent glow.
We then whisked up to the mountains (which the Kiwis call the foothills of the Southern Alps, our destination tomorrow) to Mt Cavendish, which is the extinct volcano that overlooks Christchurch. We were ferried to the top by gondola and then spent a couple of hours hiking about on the various crater rim trails. The vistas were stunning, and we later drove the rim road to get some different vantage points.
Look for pictures later. We're using an internet lounge at the moment. Hope everyone is well!!