Christchurch wasn't our favorite New Zealand destination but the weather was marginal and we were tired so we needed some real inspiration and we just didn't find it.
Christchurch is the main city of the South Island and it is in many ways a small version of Auckland. It blends old and new architecture but not very effectively. It has a restaurant district bordering the extensive public gardens which offers many trendy cuisine's and a near by shopping district with walking streets. We were one of the few spectators for a parade of Dragon Boat Race participants which was fun but didn't inspire us to get out to the races.
The public gardens are the main draw of Christchurch and this is where we had our opinion clouded by the clouds. A colorful park full of manicured flower gardens just doesn't look the same under an overcast sky. I guess you should check the weather before you head for Christchurch.
In the beach district outside Christchurch we watched a new twist on the bungy jumping craze.
The Bungy Rocket is a ball attached by 2 bungys to 2 towers over 100 feet tall. The ball is loaded with 2 subjects and then the bungys are stretched tight and the ball is released launching it to over 150 feet. It bounces and spins for close to a minute before the show some mercy and lower it down. It is a good opportunity for you to try hurdling through space attached only by a rubber band if you don't think you have what it takes to jump off a bridge. There is also one of these somewhere in Auckland and they are probably popping up all over the world.
We decided to drive over the hill out onto the Banks Peninsula to check out the small town of Akaroa. It sounded interesting because it is the only French settlement in New Zealand. It wasn't very French and we didn't think it was worth the several hour drive but we did enjoy watching a local cricket match. It was much like our weekend softball leagues but with better uniforms. The hill out there was pretty steep and windy and we did in our radiator which we finally had to replace in Dunedin so we decided to get out Canterbury and head for Otago were hopefully our luck would improve.
Who's the pig you ask? This friendly guy was one of the inhabitants of a very unusual zoo at the Pineacres Holiday Park near Kaiapoi about 20 km north of Christchurch. There were several herds of exotic goats and sheep and also swans and geese.
Most were not hand tame like this big guy but you could stroll through the park like setting that is their home.
It was an unusual thing to find at a Holiday Park and it wasn't mentioned in any of the guide books we used.