John Britten, son of Christchurch.
John Britten, inventor extraordinaire. Christchurch is the home of the Britten motorcyle. It has a revolutionary motor, quite different to the conventional and previous styles. This motorcycle goes very fast and blitzed all other makes in the Superbike class. Unfortunately John Britten died at an early age of cancer. His staff continue his business and we hope will keep producing revolutionary stuff. They also build prostheses for amputee athletes.
King for a Day!
When you are entering into Maori cultural exhibits, the visitors must be invited in to join the community before entering. Your group must select a chief or king for the group, and then that leader must meet with the leader of the Maori tribe. When presented with the opportunity to enter, the visiting leader must show that he and his people are not a warring party, and must accept the gesture peacefully.
On our trip to Ko Tane, Sarah's father got to be the chief for our visiting tribe. This worked out well for us as a whole, because it meant his entire group got to sit in the best seats, enjoy the first bite of the Hangi, and the chief even got to rub noses with quite a few Maori women!
If you go to Ko Tane, I would recommend volunteering for chief duty!
Indoor Swimming Pools in Christchurch
Several people have asked me for indoor swimming pools in Christchurch, so let me post a selection here.
The best pool is at QEII (Queen Elizabeth II) Park, between Burwood (Travis Wetland) and New Brighton. It even has an Olympic 50m pool, and other nice waterlands.
The other City Council swimming pools are at the Pioneer and Centennial Leisure Centres, the latter even in the city centre but a bit hidden in Armagh Street, and Jellie Park, and Wharenui Sports Centre.
Directions to Centennial Leisure Centre:
Coming from Cathedral Square walk up Colombo Street north, turn right into Armagh Street, the Leisure Centre is after some metres on the left. You also reach it via Oxford Terrace. There is a carpark (parking fee).
The other pools can be reached by bus.
QEII Park, 171 Travis Road, New Brighton, ph. (03) 941 6849
Pioneer Leisure Centre, 75 Lyttelton St, Spreydon, ph. (03) 941 6851
Jellie Park Aqualand, 295 Ilam Rd, Fendalton, ph. (03) 941 6856
Wharenui Sports Centre, Corner Matipo & Elizabeth Streets, Riccarton, ph. (03) 348 6488
Centennial Leisure Centre, Armagh St, City Centre, ph. (03) 941 6853
McLeans Forest great for MTB, jogging and walking
The Waimakariri River Regional Park near Christchurch International Airport opened for the public at the end of September 2006. The first stage covers about 11.000 hectares and is mainly aimed at recreational activities. The main features are a 10.5 km specially designed fast mountainbiking track, separate walking and jogging tracks and a big picknick area including toilets. If you do not race you should do the walking track within 2 to 2.5 hours.
The great thing about the mountainbike track in the peaceful pine forest setting is that it is one-way, so no oncoming traffic. With its banked curves and very winding line it is technically more challenging than the track in the Bottle Lake Reserve, but as there are only some artificial hills in the flat area it is not a big physical challenge, so you can do the lap several times if you want to have a real work-out. You really have to focus on the track, otherwise you could easily lose the ideal line and crash into a tree or land beside the track.
So if you want to watch the big variety of birds singing from every tree, you better get off your bike or go the walk ;-) There are fantails, silvereyes, gold and green finches everywhere.
Since April 2007 you can hire a bike next to the carpark, right now just on the weekends but this will be extended.
Do not praise the Christchurch City Council for the great park - it has been created by Environment Canterbury (ECan).
Check with the rangers if the tracks are open after heavy rainfall as so close to the Waimakariri they could well be flooded.
If everything is fine the biggest danger could be flying golf balls from the courses near the forest - as indicated on one sign along the track ;-)
The brochure and map of the park can be downloaded from the ECan website.
Seven Dollar Bus & other cheap Ways to the Airport
Update March 2010
Everything is getting more expensive, so the Five Dollar Bus has become the Seven Dollar Bus. Just updated this, the rest of the info stays the same.
The slogan of the Seven Dollar Bus is simple: Turn up, hop on, gone within 5 minutes.
Departures from Cathedral Square, next to the Tramway stop on Worcester Blvd, every 20 minutes between 8am and 5pm. As the name of the bus suggests the fare is NZ$7.
As it is a shuttle service you can also get a ride from the airport to the Square.
The buses are mini-buses, not big coaches. As it is a direct service it is the fastest way to get to the airport - apart from taxis.
The fastest public bus (Metro System) would also cost you $7. This is the Airport Flyer which goes directly to the airport from Cathedral Square. This trip takes about 25 minutes.
Between 7am and 8pm departures every 30 minutes from Monday to Friday, on Saturday from 8.35am and on Sunday from 9.05am. Stops outside the Bus Exchange on Lichfield Street, in Gloucester Street opposite the City Library and on Cambridge Terrace by the Bridge of Rememberance.
More info about the public airport bus which operates from 6am to 11pm on weekdays:
It takes only four or five minutes longer to travel on the regular #10 bus (Cashmere - Airport via Bus Exchange; destination: Harewood) which stops several times along the way - but if you have the Metrocard it would cost you only $ 2.70 (otherwise $7 like the other airport bus). On weekdays the first bus leaves at 5.21am at the Bus Exchange, and the last one at 11.40pm.
There are also door to door shuttles which you share with other travellers. The costs range from $12 to 20. Taxis to the city centre cost about $40.
See more details about those shuttles in an extra tip.