Christchurch Anglican Cathedral situated in Cathedral Square. It is possible to go inside this Gothic Cathedral and climb the spire to get a magnificent view over Christchurch City. The Cathedral's spire rises to a height of 64 m and is visible from most parts of the city. I enjoy the wide open spaces and short distances to the seaside or countryside.
Four seasons in one day
Christchurch has warm Summers and cool winters however it can get a bit confused with many wind changes etc. Let common sense prevail & bring a warm top - you can always take it off if needed. In winter Christchurch has been mild and dry over the last few years but has had the ocassional dumping of snow and some very cold and wet weeks thrown in for fun. Anything you forget can be easily purchased from the many Chemists & the after hours doctor on Bealey Ave if you need something stronger. To see what the weather will be like on your holiday you can visit the 10 Day Weather Forecast site for an idea of what you may need to wear.
Mt Vernon Park
Mt Vernon Park was bought by group of concerned residents years ago when the council put the land up for sale. These people bought the land so it could be revegetated and maintained, and used for public purposes, with bike tracks and walking tracks across the area. The land that had been used for grazing was leased out to farmers, as the group is a non profit organisation and had to fund their rehabilitation projects. One of these groups I am involved in is the Mt Vernon working party, that meet every thursday at 1:30 pm in the carpark and carry out weeding and rehabilitation.
Have a First Look There
If you want to buy nice souvenirs and not just kitsch, woollen jerseys or merino-possum knitwear, sheepskin and leather products, paua, jade, silver and gold jewellery, napkins, or t-shirts, you should still start to look around in the big souvenirs shops around Cathedral Square and on Colombo Street north of the Square, and only if you do not find what you want go to other more expensive shops. I also recommend to have a look at the start of your trip in Auckland or Christchurch, so you already know what is on offer and how much it costs, so you can make better decisions about which things you should buy during your trip and which can wait until the end when you are back in the cities again.
Sure, they sell some kitsch but they also have really nice things on offer, and as they sell and stock a lot more most things are cheaper than in smaller souvenir shops or even smaller countrytowns. As I need birthday and Christmas gifts for friends and relatives overseas, I am a regular customer of those shops. I mostly start in the 3-storey-shop at the corner Colombo/Gloucester Sts (DF), and then carry on...
For example, the price difference of paua shells is extreme. When they once cost nearly NZ$20 in a very nice shop in Cashel Street you could buy them for about NZ$12 at the Colombo/Gloucester Streets shop.
The Duty Free Shops next to the Square have crazy prices. I have the impression they are designed as tourist traps for the hurry-hurry in-three-days-around-the-world travellers. For example they sell skin-care products which you get far cheaper in any normal drugstore or pharmacy, and it goes on with the rest.
My favourite shop for sheepskin rugs on the Square has unfortunately closed down (Feb. 2007).
At BONZ (corner Colombo/Gloucester St, left/clothes) nothing is cheap - well, perhaps the design buttons... - but absolutely unique.
Buy wine in supermarkets, or directly from the producer, not in souvenir shops! For your stay in NZ consider buying wine in two- or three-litre casks, the quality is ok. I already named some things in the general description.
Mostly tourists need lightweight gifts, so unfortunately the great NZ decor tiles are no real option... Lightweight, cheap and nice are tea towels, paua jewellery and shells, health products, creams, kiwifruit and mud soaps, not so cheap but very nice are possum-merino shawls and hats (and you save NZ wildlife and trees!) and woodcraft. Further: other jewellery, flax products, fleece jerseys and jackets, etc.
Absolutely unique is the FRONZ jewellery which is handmade near Auckland but also sold in souvenir shops. They have earrings and pendants in fern shape (fronds - that is where the name comes from), and the special thing about them is that real fronds are dipped in gold or silver, so every piece is unique.
The roads can be a danger in...
The roads can be a danger in NZ! This is a one lane train bridge. How it works is that you have to look ahead to see if the road is clear for oncoming traffic, then you can go ahead. Trains also go along this road as well. So beware!! There are also super windy roads with cliff on one side and a rock mountain on the other. The speed limit usually never changes from 100km an hour. The roads are so windy that youu wouldn't dare go faster then 40km!