Kite and Wind Surfing in Ferrymead
If you are into kite-surfing and want to meet people with the same hobby there are three great places to do so: New Brighton near the pier, Sumner and Ferrymead. As Ferrymead is on the way to Sumner you can check out where the conditions are best. The last time I was there in gusty wind conditions and during high tide the bay was nearly overfloating with people, and it was fascinating to see them speed through the waves.
There is even a carpark which is just indicated with the words Wind Surfing. To get there you travel towards Sumner from the city centre, on Ferry Road (from High, Manchester or Madras Street) or Moorhouse Avenue. Just follow the Sumner signs. Take the turn to the left further out from the city and follow the sign Sumner/Ferrymead is indicated. You drive along a river. Shortly before you reach the commercial zone of Ferrymead with Woolworths and Mitre 10, the carpark is on the left side of the road.
It is rather safe there to surf as this part of the sea is nearly as sheltered as a lake, with the near-endless peninsula of South New Brighton separating the bay from the open sea. You can only surf there at high tide as at low tide the sea retreats as far as New Brighton. In this bay off Ferrymead and Mt. Pleasant the waters of the sea mix with the waters of the Avon and Heathcote rivers. The area is called the Estuary and is renowned for its wonderful birdlife, including the summer home of the migrating godwits.Related to:
- Water Sports
Canoeing on the Avon and Sea-kayaking
If you want to explore the Avon at your own pace you can hire a canoe or kayak at the Antigua Boatsheds. You paddle on the same stretch of the river as the punters. The ducks on the river would be delighted if you had some bread aboard ;-)
Boat hire open daily
Summer 9.30am – 5.30pm
Winter 9.30am – 4pm
They stay open after hours for groups over 20 people.
Single canoe NZ$ 8 per hour
Double canoe NZ$ 16 per hour
You can also hire paddle boats (NZ$ 16 per half hour/2 people) – crazy! (So if you want to make bigger tours you better buy a boat LOL)
Rowing boats NZ$ 15 per half hour, NZ$ 25 per hour
The adjacent Boatshed Café opens at 7am already and closes at 6pm in summer and 5pm in winter.
If you have bigger paddling plans you can hire kayaks at the following place:
TopSport Kayaking in the suburb of Ferrymead (950 Ferry Road, near Woolworths)
Phone (03) 384 0405
A sit-on kayak costs $30 per day (single) resp. $40 (double, triple), a sea kayak $ 60.
You can also take lessons or just hire equipment.
Kayak courses also at:
Canoe & Outdoor World, 7 Pilgrim Place
Phone (03) 366 9305, freephone (0800) 667 3386
This shop is just some steps from Moorhouse Avenue, next to Hoyts Cinema, opposite Pak’n’Save).
New Zealand’s Largest Indoor Waterslide
It is always nice to read about all the superlatives New Zealand has to offer. This huge waterslide system – they call it Hydroslide - is part of the big indoor swimming pool complex of Queen Elizabeth II Park (we only call it QE II Park), and although you can only access it from the indoor pool area the meandering and twisted tubes are all outside the building LOL But the five slides have intriguing names like Terror Tube, Body Bullet, Cruiser, Titan and Colossus – and it must be fun, as I always hear a lot of screaming when I walk past the tubes on my way from my athletics training on Ground 2…
As it is NZ’s largest indoor waterslide I guess there must be a bigger one somewhere – but outdoor… Ok, ok… I googled a bit – and found New Zealand’s longest hot water slide in Huntly LOL I am sure there is the longest cold water and the longest tepid water slide somewhere as well, so every town can have its watersliding superlative… Oh no, I see poor Taupo has only a giant dragon waterslide… But perhaps it is the country’s biggest medium-sized slide? And Waiwera’s eight waterslides rival the biggest ones throughout the country… But where is New Zealand’s ultimately biggest waterslide?!
Anyway… Enjoy the fun! With some exceptions: Children under eight must always be accompanied by an adult. Preschoolers are not allowed on the hydroslides.
All hydroslide tickets sold during normal operating times are for unlimited riding. Different coloured wrist-bands are used each day and are valid for the day of purchase only.
Hours of operation:
Mon – Fri 4pm – 8.30pm, weekends and public holidays 10am – 7.30pm, school holidays 10am – 8.30pm
Adults $ 11, children $ 9.50, reductions for families. – The price does not include pool admission.
Bus #43 (New Brighton) from the Bus Exchange
By car: From the city centre head east via Gloucester, Hereford, Lichfield or another one of the parallel streets. Turn left into Fitzgerald Ave and then follow the signs to New Brighton. The stadium surrounded by high poplar trees is QE II Park. Turn left into Dick Taylor Drive (carpark) after the roundabout.Related to:
- Water Sports
Serious CC and Downhill MTB on Bowenvale Tracks
If you are seriously into mountainbiking the Port Hills are a great place for you. I have seen some MTB'ers crash (and myself while running LOL) and I would not dare to use many of the tracks. This is a good indicator that they are not really good for beginners but suited for experienced bikers.
The tracks are very rocky, some very narrow, just wide enough for a bike tyre, but there are also easier parts which lead over wooden overbridges and rattling metal cattle stops. The bad thing is that if you crash you fall hard nearly always, as there are only few soft grass verges on the volcanic rock surface.
On the shared access tracks that lead up to the Port Hills from Bowenvale Avenue I have seen a lot of bikers in serious downhill gear, and I could also see some difficult and steep tracks which I would only walk LOL
Access and the way back to the carpark might be a bit annoying for bikers as there are many gates which slow them down. At some gates they even have to lift the bikes over the gates. But this security measure is in place to make trampers (hikers) survive their walks on the shared access track ;-)Related to:
Hire a Bike at McLean's Forest Park
Lately (April 2007) I have noticed that they now hire bicycles at McLean's Forest Park which we really enjoy a lot for cycling and jogging. This is a great opportunity for cycling a bit out of the city, as tourists normally do not travel with their bikes unless they explore the country on their bikes.
There are a lot of brand new bikes for hire, also for children, and the owners hope that they will soon get a license for selling food, so you can have a coffee there after the activity.
For details about the forest park near the international airport please check my detailed description in my list of "Off the Beaten Path" tips.Related to:
Handball is a very European sport which has its roots in Germany and Scandinavia - and it has nothing to do with throwing a ball against a wall... ;-)
A team consists of 12 players. 6 court players and one goalkeeper are on court at the same time. It is mostly played indoors, on a basketball-sized court with two goals, the same size as for indoor football (soccer). But now also beach-handball is becoming popular - there was a tournament on Sumner beach on 27 January 2007.
There is a semi-circle in front of the goals, at a distance of 6 metres from the goal. This is the goal area, and apart from the goal-keepers no player is allowed to step into it. But the players can fly into the area and shoot while being in the air. If a team is in defense the players are taking position along this semi-circle. After bad fouls of the defenders the attacking team is awarded a seven metre penalty, for less brutal actions they get a free-throw from the interrupted 9-metre-line.
Of course, there are a lot more rules, but for a start this is enough explanation. If you want to play handball in Christchurch you can get the best coach you can imagine: Morten Hust Petersen, from Denmark, is the national coach of the New Zealand Handball Federation (NZHF) and the coach of the Canterbury University team which has its training sessions from February to November at the Wharenui Sports Centre (cnr Matipo & Elizabeth Streets) on Mondays from 7pm. The club president, Eric Mouhica, is a former French top player and also president of the NZHF, and member of the national team.
If you live in or near Christchurch and want to give it a go, have a look at the club website and contact Eric. Also students and exchange pupils who play handball in their home countries are welcome. I think cricket players would be very talented for handball with their throwing skills. Just the ball is a lot bigger... ;-) And there is no batsman in the way but a goalkeeper. Just give it a go!
You can read more about rules and clubs etc. on the NZHF website.
Equipment: For the start normal sports gear like for jogging is good.
City Council Pools & Gyms
There are three main Christchurch City Council sport complexs - those being QE2, Centennial and Pioneer.
QE2 is in New Brighton and is the biggest of the complexs including a good gym and excellent swimming facility. Being the site of the 1974 Commonwealth Games it has many other facilities including a running track.
Centennial is located in the centre of Christchurch on Armagh St and has a 25 metre pool plus a small gym. It's a handy place to use if you are staying in the middle of Christchurch.
Pioneer is my local place and it has a 25 metre lane pool, wave pool, gym, squash courts and a nice cafe for an after workout coffee. Pioneer also runs many yoga & pilates etc classes.
Opening hours vary at each place with most being open until 9pm in Summer for pool use and up to 7pm for the gyms.
Check out the CCC Leisure Centre Website for full info on prices and opening times.
Equipment: If you haven't brought it with you then you can hire everything you need for swimming. Wear what you feel most comfortable in the gym - there is very little lycra in these places so a very relaxed atmosphere.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Adventure Travel
This another sport not too widely played around the world. It is very popular in NZ, Australia, the UK and the Carribean. In Christchurch the main place to play is at the Netball Courts on South Hagley park. Hundreds of girls and their supportive parents playing on chilly winters days. The photo is my niece - the great defender!
Equipment: Court shoes are the only essential plus the right uniform.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Rugby for all
Rugby is a sport played in NZ by all ages - starting from age 4 until the time that you can't run anymore. In a recent golden oldies tournament an Argetinian player was 93 so just goes to show that age is no barrier. That's my 5 year old niece in the photo racing off to score yet another try - she was player of the season in her team (4 to 6 year olds).
Equipment: You'll need boots and flair to play our national game
City of Christchurch Marathon
Each year the City of Christchurch Marathon is run over a very fast, flat route through Christchurch. The run takes place on the first Saturday in October and includes a 10Km & Halk Marathon option. The course starts outside the Town Hall and winds its way around the Avon River toward New Brighton before crossing over a bridge at Avonside Rd and back into town, off toward the Airport and back again.
Equipment: The run is in the middle of Winter so you will need to check the weather for a potentially chilly start. A thermal top may be in order if a cold Southerly is blowing otherwise is the usual shoes, socks & shorts.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
The mountain biking in Chch is fantastic. Port hills are awesome have heaps of different rides and tracks. The rapaki track is probibly the best way to get up the hill (20mins if you blast up) and then lots of exploring to do either single drack transversing the hills or lots of fast downhills. The views from the top are well worth the effort getting up there.
Bottle lake forrest is not too bad esp night riding. Pretty easy but good single track and heaps of trees to crash into if you want to get carried away.
Equipment: A mountain bike with knobbly tires is about all you need. Obviously the madder you are and the faster you like to charge down the hill the more important it is for suspension. I started of on a hardtail (no suspension) and had heaps of fun. There are lots of different rides for different abilities so you really can't go wrong.Related to:
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