Day 27: Christchurch
22 January 2010
5170km - map

We awoke to more rain this morning - Christchurch does seem to be a few degrees cooler than the rest of the south island as our friend Teesh had warned us back in Sydney. We drove to the city's gondola to get some nice views of the city and the area but when we got there we found the cable car ascending into the cloud and visibility was nil at the top of the mount (we were told) so we didn't bother venturing up. Instead we went into the city centre to catch some of the World Busking Festival which had just started and is continuing for the next week. We have some breakfast and coffee hoping that the rain might stop while we do but we aren't in luck. The only busker we find, an escapologist, is bravely doing his act in the rain to an audience of of about 10 people and as we join the crowd he promptly finishes. The rain is getting the better of them on the first day of the festival I fear.

With the rain showing no sign of stopping we head to the city's botanical gardens for some shelter and it's also free! We walked round the greenhouses for a while before heading back to the van. We drove to New Brighton on the coast with its seafront and pier but were dissapointed to find very little there and the pier was completely made of concrete. Not a patch on (old) Brighton back home. Some surfers were braving the cold to take advantage of the waves in the strong wind but it didn't look like too much fun out there today.

We walked along the pier anyway, finding that it was built only a few years ago to replace an old, more traditional-looking pier and all the way along the pier are small plaques showing who had donated how much to fund the new pier. For every "donated by" or "in memory of" there were plenty of "John's hardware store" blatant adverts. Also, the larger the donation, the further along the pier your plaque is, with markers every so often to show how much had been donated beyond that point... all a little odd I thought.

We had some lunch and did some cleaning of the van (we return it tomorrow) and started to do some packing of bags in preparation of catching our flight tomorrow morning. We got back in touch with Prue who we had met the previous weekend in Queenstown and had invited us to stay with her for a night. She invited us round for some food and drinks and we joined her and her boyfriend, Kenton, and friends for a lovely relaxing evening. Prue was kind enough to offer us a bed for the night - a real bed and clean sheets for the first time in three weeks which is wonderful, even if only for a few hours. We turned in at 1:30am fully aware we needed to be up at 6:30am to get to Jucy and the airport by 8am.

Christchurch Botanical Gardens
Christchurch Botanical Gardens
Buskers in Christchurch
New Brighton Beach and Pier
Prue, Kenton and Ben