Blake’s Seven, Day 25

The Avon meanders through Christchurch. As did we. How do you plan to rebuild a city the size of Cardiff/Edinburgh after the 22 February 2011 earthquake? Apparently they are sticking to the plan that was hatched in the 100 days following. I hope they find space to make the temporary 185 empty chairs outside the temporary Cathedral permanent.

Edinburgh can learn from here. Their trams still run. Street Art helps bring a sense of renewal to what might otherwise seem like a haphazard large building sight. Innovative use of containers helps street markets trade. The trees of the Botanic Gardens are remarkably unaffected.

It’s strange to be back in a city after three weeks in rural areas. You notice the noise of the roads juxtaposed with the atmosphere of street music, punctuated by park joggers earning their later calorie intake. The Museum does a good job at bringing strands together. Sobering to think that 10% of the New Zealand population fought in WW1.

Cars: predominantly Japanese (Toyota), with the odd Ford thrown in. Bins: red for waste, yellow for recycling. If a wheely bin, use these colours on the lids of the black base. Plugs: very odd. Railway lines: 3ft6″, vs our 4ft8″. Mainly for freight. Wifi: iffy. Fish and chips: excellent. People: lovely – helpful, interested and genuine.

Christchurch meander, Day 24

Strong winds whips in the rain, first we’ve seen for many a day. A short hop of 240km punctuated by coffee shops.

Some random thoughts. What’s been surprising? Rosehips along lower paths, and other invasive species as diverse as possums and lupins. Fungi proliferate across changing landscapes and vegetation. Why English Breakfast tea? I’m sure NZ breakfast is just as good. Coffee and cafe culture with Cabinet food. Long black coffee is a good kick start to the day, from sleep to eyes on stalks within 5 minutes.


Jucy Lucy has caught on in a jovial way. She weaves her way in km and litres though sticks to tradition, travelling on the left on the single carriage way roads. Multiple Cycle shops in every place. More than wind farms or solar panels which are few and far between. Clean toilets even in the remotest location, most with very welcome long drops.

Observatory, Day 22

Into a huge basin, Mount John Observatory gives a perspective of Lake Tikapu down below. The draught of Chinese tourism is felt here, selfie sticks competing with star gazing domes.

Lake Tikapu is our stop on the way up to Rex Simpson Hut, our overnight bunk house. It is amazing what good food can be rustled up on a small stove. Pre dinner entertainment was provided by a cloud show: fast changing shapes and colours. Post dinner caberet was the Milky Way: photos do not do it justice.