Sign of the Takahe, Christchurch
The Sign of the Takahe is a roadhouse that was built to provide a rest stop to travellers crossing the Cashmere Hills in the early twentieth century. The building is a fabulous looking structure both inside and out. It was completed in 1949, after work began on it way back in 1908. Today, the building is used as a restaurant and is open in the afternoons for Devonshire Teas. A footpath from the rear garden of the Takahe leads to a viewing area that looks down over the Canterbury plains and the city of Christchurch (see the third photo attached to this entry). On a fine day you should be able to see the Southern Alps from here. You can pop in and have a look around the fantastic interior of the building.
From The Sign of the Takahe you can take a forty five minute walk through the hills to The Sign of the Kiwi, another roadhouse with views over the Lyttelton Harbour.
If you fancy a good walk to blow the cobwebs out of the head, try walking from The Sign of the Takahe to the Sign of the Kiwi in the Cashmere Hills. There are a number of trails that lead between the two old roadhouses, but the easiest and clearest one to follow is the 45 minute trail called the H.J. Ell track. There are some great views out over the Canterbury Plains from this track that approaches heights of 400m above sealevel (approx 1200ft).
On our coach tour around Christchurch, the driver stopped here at the Sign of the Takehe, we just looked inside, saw the suit of armour, all kinds of memorabelia, and noticed that it was all set for lunches/dinners, but some of the party just stayed for a drink. We went for a walk to the lookout point where it afforded a fantastic view over Christchurch. see next tip.
The Sign of the Takehe was a stopping point for travellers between Port Hills and Christchurch in the olden days.
The Sign of the Takahe is actually in the hillside area of Cashmere (a suburb of Christchurch). Tours stop at this famous landmark to take in the views across the Canterbury Plains. The building itself is grey stone in a Tudor/Gothic style and much of it was built by craftsmen by hand who were being employed during the Great Depression on a relief work project. There are many heraldic emblems of early settlers and governors both inside and outside of the building.
Aside from looking a little like a Scottish Castle and staff dressed in tartans, this is actually a restaurant whose menu choice of main courses tend to be heavy on roast meats and on cream and wine-based sauces. You can also have Devonshire teas there.