Government Departmental Building = Luxury Hotel
This impressive stately building with its classical ornamentation is located right behind Christchurch Cathedral, and opposite the Press buidling and Cathedral Junction. It was designed in 1909 (and built from 1911 to 1913) to accommodate many of the Government Departments in Christchurch. It was used for this purpose for 70 years. Although it became too crammed and had to be given up for several years, its exterior now looks beautiful and impressive again.
It is part of an important precint of historic buildings which includes the Anglican Cathedral, Warners Hotel, the Press Building, State Insurance Building and State Trinity Centre, and is run as a hotel (The Heritage) since about a decade.
The style of the building, designed by architect Thomas Clarkson Maddison, is that of an Italian High Renaissance palazzo. There is a portico over the entrance at the west front.
The builders were J and W Jamieson who also built the Roman Catholic Church and the Press Building opposite the Government Building.
The foundation stone (of Coromandel granite) was laid on 20 Nov 1911, work was completed in March 1913, and the building occupied by the end of July of the same year.
The building is 79.25 m long and 19.8 m in average width and height. It consists of a basement plus three floors. The gross floor area is 6280 square metres but the occupied nett floor area is only 2996 square metres, mostly due to endless corridors and service areas.
The biggest problem of the building is that it is not earthquake-safe, and it has suffered quite a lot of cracks from such hazards. Strengthening works have been carried out. For example, brick columns have been replaced by steel columns. But from 1980 the second floor was not occupied anymore. It was feared the building could collapse. In 1989 the last tenants vacated the building.
In 1991 a demolition notice was issued but the people of Christchurch, the Historic Places Trust and the City Council rallied to save the building. This ended with sending a petition to the Government, and finally the City Council purchased the building. In 1995 it was sold to a developer who undertook major structural upgrades and strengthening and converted the building into 54 apartments, the so called Christchurch Randalf Apartments. Everything you need for luxury living was added on the ground floor and in the basement: boutiques, a restaurant, a swimming pool, spa, sauna, and gym. Now the complex is run as The Heritage Hotel. -
Detailed info on
Just walk around the Cathedral, the building is on the right side of Worcester Street, opposite the Press building.
Make sure you take some clothes for cold weather...we were in Christchurch in the middle of summer and it was really cold (especially the wind)! I had packed my summer clothes only to find that I couldn't wear them at all...haha... Make sure you take a warm jacket and good walking shoes too... Take lots of film or memory cards for all the photos you will take...there is some beautiful scenery in New Zealand... :)
A bit of France in NZ
Akaroa was orginally set up by the French in their attempt to claim the local area for King & country. While the original 63 French settlers were at sea, sailing towards what they believed was a small piece of France in the South Pacific NZ Governor William Hobson despatched Capt Stanley, on "HMS Britomart", with an English flag. Soon after arrival, the 63 French settlers on hearing the truth that they were now living in a British Colony, were offered passage and land grants in Tahiti or the Marquesas. None accepted and their legacy is a beautiful small town.
Akaroa is a great day trip from Christchurch of just over 80km's. The trip takes you past Little River, over Hill Top (worth a stop), past Duvauchelles pub and on, a few km's later, to Rue Jolie and the start of Akaroa. If you follow Rue Jolie to its end you will find the Garden of Tane and the very old cemetary which is worth a walk around.
There are many other activities that can be enjoyed including wildlife cruises, sailing, swimming with the dolphins, boat hire and sea kayaking plus seal and penguin colony tours.
You can save a lot of money on everything
DressSmart is an outlet shopping centre right across Hornby Mall. They advertise with savings of 30 to 70% off normal retail prices, and often you can make really great bargains.
The most famous brands they sell are Barkers, Hallensteins, Rodd & Gunn, Jeans West, Just Jeans, levis, Puma, Diesel, Andrea Biani, and also Sunnies Direct, Modern Bags and Watch Smart.
I think CD's are not cheaper than anywhere else.
If you are exhausted from looking around there are also some food outlets but really in a limited number.
Open 7 days a week, 10am-5pm.
Hornby Mall on the opposite side of the road is rather a small mall, compared to Westfield Riccarton, Northlands, The Palms, Eastgate etc. but actually they are expanding and also modernising the complex.
Good bus connection from the city centre (Bus Exchange) and Riccarton Mall, especially the MetroStar. Also buses #83 and 84 pass at Riccarton Mall AND Horby, just make bigger detours between the malls. Clothes, shoes, sunglasses, bags and suitcases.
Well, if you are coming from...
Well, if you are coming from the North Island, I do recommend taking the Inter Islander Ferry. The scenery is lovely and I saw dolphins!!! Dolphins!!! Yes, you read that right. Anyway, you can then take the train from Picton to Christchurch, on which trip the scenery is also very good. A lot of the trip is right along the coast and I saw seals!! Seals!!! Yes, you read that right. The trains I took in NZ were generally fairly empty, and you can get pretty good fares for the backpacker cars which are very comfortable.