2. City Centre

My introduction to Christchurch on this trip was in the early hours of the morning on the way in from the airport. As the sun rose, I was presented with a relatively pleasant cloudy day in a quiet city.

Cathedral Square, Christchurch

The open spaces and historic buildings gave the centre of the city a feeling of respectability as I walked the deserted streets on the trip to pick up my hire car. There's a sense of excitement at the start of a journey that coupled with a sense of isolation that I was all on my own, choosing out my path of exploration.

After four days roaming around the South Island, I returned to Christchurch to spend time in the city. After giving up the car, one of my first stop-offs was to the bus exchange to pick up a “metrocard” to use on the bus network. Then it was time to take a walk around the city and see what was there. Being after the close of business, the streets were still fairly quiet, but there were enough people around to give it a lived-in feel.

Christchurch City Mall
Cashel and High, Christchurch

It's a fairly pedestrian-friendly city, with limited car movements in the one-way road network, and several malls and squares.

High St, Christchurch

Cathedral square is the focal point of the city. It's a large open space ringed by the tramline and heritage buildings. The quaint police station gives an added touch of community.

Cathedral Square, Christchurch
Cathedral Square, Christchurch

Avon River

Running through Christchurch is a peaceful and quiet little river. Much is made of the river name “Avon” and the connection that makes with the Shakespearean Stratford-upon-Avon. With that theme, punting tours are available along the river. It's a classic style old-world touch that adds a character and atmosphere. Not being the sort of person to generally want to sit back and be punted along, I didn't join in, but was content to see it happening.

Punting Business

Through Christchurch, the tram line is used to maintain city character, and as a tourist loop. Here it crosses the river on its way out from Cathedral Square.

Worcester St Tram
Close of Business

Finally, being near the end of the day, it was time for the punting operators to make their way back home.

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