We headed east, and inspected the old railway station, only to find out that it is exactly the place to go to if you want to cruise the river – because the Visitor Centre is located in this historic building.
The Railway Station was built by an architect named George Troup and was opened on 5 February 1904. It replaced an older building from 1872. George Troup is famous for building New Zealand’s most beautiful railway station – which is the one in Dunedin. He was NZ’s Senior Railways Architect from 1886 zo 1925 and called “Gingerbread George”, due to the decorative deailing he gave to his buildings.
You can spot such features on the outside in timber detailing, finials, beautiful chimneys and cast iron lace work on the platform supports. The main feature is a small conical tower roofed with Marseilles tiles. Kaiapoi’s station is the only one of this design remaining in NZ.
Passenger services in Kaiapoi ceased in 1976, and the station finally closed in 1986. (But the TranzCoastal train has a stop in nearby Rangiora!)
The building was relocated to its current site on 3 April 2002. It was restored by the Kaiapoi Railway Station Trust and is looked after by the volunteers of this organisation.
As there was no information about river cruises outside the Visitor Centre, we pressed our noses against the windows and saw a sign we could not read. But the camera could. We zoomed in, took a totally unsharp photo and deciphered that a sailing would be on 22 November and another one on 4 or 7 December. Also sailings for a ship named MS Waipara was listed for 6 December.
Some of the cafés we had passed earlier were still closed, another one did not look too terribly appealing. So the choice was not big yet when we were up for a coffee. But Jacob’s Bakery looked very appealing, so we popped in there.
We did not only buy coffees which were very nice, but also gave some of the bakeware a try. Funnily enough, the shop assistant said I should not take what I had chosen but better have something else (which was a custard slice) because it was nicer and fresher LOL As there are some tables and chairs in the shop you can sit down, and enjoy your coffee and snack.
They also have a good selection of savouries and sandwiches.
And you can even start your day earlier than we did.
The hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 5.30am to 5pm, and Saturday from 5.30am to 3pm.
The bakery is next to the dairy you see on this photo. I chose this photo because it is so colourful – and to tell you that unlike most flower shops in NZ which are incredibly expensive, you would get cheap bunches of flowers there.
Back to food and drink:
There is a really big selection of restaurants, bars and pubs, but also of more bakeries, in Kaiapoi, some with river view.
Next to the Fellowship you find a place you might really be looking for, and I think it is a great idea to combine a laundry with an internet site.
While your clothes are washed or dried, you can check your email or write your VT tips about Kaiapoi ;-))) As of October 2010, 28.5 minutes (yes, really!) broadband internet access cost NZ$ 2.
You need coins to operate the machines.
Please note: This place was open!
From here we only had to cross Williams Street again, and were at our car some seconds later, and headed back home.
But we will surely be back in this friendly town and check out more sites, and perhaps discover some more hidden gems. As it is so close to home, this is no big deal – just sometimes needs a trigger, so you make the trip and do end up in Christchurch City…
I have photographed this building at the corner of Charles and Williams Street – just some steps from the kindergarten – because of its architecture, not because it is a church named Riverside Christian Fellowship (more info here: http://www.rcf.org.nz/).The church was founded in 1997.
The building is one of quite some Art Déco constructions in Kaiapoi. When it was built in 1935, it was used as the Rialto Cinema, and later it became Kaiapoi’s community centre (until 1997). The Fellowship renovated and painted the building, so it looks quite appealing today.
One thing I found very strange in Kaiapoi was that many buildings that look like churches are no churches, and buildings that do not look like churches are in fact home to church congregations.
This one in Charles Street, on the way from Trousselot Park back to the main river bridge and the Old Railway Station, for example, houses a kindergarten.
Three major churches – Baptist, Methodist and St. Patrick’s – are located in rather unspectacular buildings in Fuller Street. This is if you – following in the traces of our walk – just keep on walking along Williams Street to the south, and not make a U-turn back to the river after having a coffee break at Jacob’s Bakery. Fuller Street is a major street to the right.
The Anglican Church is in Cass Street. This is if you follow Williams Street to the south. Following from this point of the walk, you would turn to the left onto Williams St, and then the second to the right.
As you can imagine, this wooden pergola features in many photos. It is located next to the Rose Garden, in Trousselot Park.
The original pergola – a so-called Band Rotunda – once sat on the other side of the river, on Raven Street. It was restored in 2004 and relocated to the place where it is sitting now.
When this was done, also a fence between the park and the rose garden was removed.
This whole area along the river contributes to the great lifestyle you can enjoy in Kaiapoi.
You automatically get to Scott Rose Garden if you once are in Trousselot Park, as it is located right next to it.
It was established shortly before Trousselot Park, in about 1923, by the Beautifying and Burgesses Association.
At the time this area was a swamp and used as a rubbish dump!
The rose garden is named after Reverend W. B. Scott, a Methodist minister, Councillor, and founding member of the Beautifying Association.
The garden was badly negleted several times when the respective gardeners left. Finally, in 1968 some interested people created a new design for the garden, and since then it has been looked after very well. It has become a popular spot for picnics and weddings.
On the other side of the river you walk down the stopbank and straight into a reserve named Trousselot Park.
It is named after H. W. Trousselot, the first Chairman of the Kaiapoi
Beautifying and Burgesses Association, formed in 1922. The ground was fenced, cleared, ploughed and first sown in 1926. In 1946, the park was handed over to the Kaiapoi Borough Council to be managed as an open space reserve.
A War Memorial plaque for the Second World War sits on top of the stopbank at the
rear of the park.
Kaiapoi has a real lot of parks and reserves, not only along the river.
Had you not crossed Mandeville Bridge, you would have walked straight into Murphy Park.
If you cross Charles Street (which borders Trusselot Park) and carry on straight ahead, you get to Kaiapoi Park and Kaiapoi Domain, and to the former Woollen Mill (see General Tip) as well.
… and watched another whitebaiter, this time a lady standing in the water.
This is a classic way of whitebaiting, more common than sitting high above a river bank.
Holding those nets with a pole can be rather tiring. Many whitebaiters have nets in wooden or metal frames which they can ram into the ground, called set nets.
The whitebaiters sit on the riverbank and read or do other things, and waddle into the water from time to time to check out the catch and throw it into buckets and other containers filled with water.
We crossed the Mandeville Bridge…
It is a swingbridge but does not move a real lot, so you should be fine, even if you are afraid of heights or have other fears and ill-feelings.
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After a short walk we reached Bridge # 548c, which is the Mandeville Bridge. This is strictly pedestrians only, as it is a very old wooden construction.
It was constructed in 1874 to allow school children to walk to the nearby Kaiapoi School.
The Mandeville footbridge in the background was constructed in 1874 to allow school children to walk to the nearby Kaiapoi School. At that time it reached as far as Charles Street (on the other side of the river) to bridge the swamp on the riverbank. This area has now become a park.
From the little reserve where the War Memorial stands, we carried on to the west along the Kaiapoi river. You would not have thought that this narrow path was a proper walkway – but it was :-)
On one side were high shrubs that were hanging into the walkway, on the other side the track was bordered by a low wall, and behind the wall was lawn, beds of roses, huge flax bushes and native NZ grasses.
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After coffee we went back towards the river. Before crossing the river, on the left side of Williams Street, you come to Kaiapoi’s War Memorial.
It looks like some others in New Zealand, with the sculpture of a soldier on top. It reminds me a lot of the one in Glenorchy (at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu), just to name one.
The Memorial was erected in 1922, and unveiled on 26 April. It was sculpted by the Christchurch Stonemason William Thomas Trethewey, and made of a five tonne block of Italian Carrara marble. A former Kaiapoi serviceman modelled for the portray of a Digger, at rest after a desperate charge and captured in its stance the effects of war and a grim determination to carry on despite the odds.
When we arrived in the “real” town centre, business was just starting. However, the Flower Shop and the Camera Shop were still closed.
I think they might be collaborating, as you can guess from the colourful display over the window of the flower shop.
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We also watched some more whitebaiters in action – which mostly is inaction, as they have to wait until the tiny fish are stupid enough to swim into their nets on the way back from the sea to their home territory further up the river.
When this whitebaiter spotted us he gave us a wave.