Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | April 14, 2009

Christchurch – a tiny city

Our trip during Easter weekend was undoubtedly relaxing. One of the main objectives of this trip was to see the garden city of Christchurch and get a flavor of South Island before we plan bigger trips there.

I must say, we were very happy and most certainly would plan South Island trip soon.

It was colder than Auckland in Christchurch but thankfully we got bright and sunny weather.

The City Square

Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square

Christchurch’s city centre is called Cathedral Square. It was bright and sunny during our trip. So, whenever we passed through Cathedral Square, we saw people enjoying the sun.

The square is just a part of the colonial retro look that the city possesses. As soon as you walk past the Cathedral Square, you feel as if you are transported back in time. The quietness actually made it very soothing for us – who have grown up in very crowded (and noisy) places.

The Cathedral

The Cathedral

Christchurch is so small (I am surprised that cities can be so small), that one can just walk and cover the entire city. The beautiful gardens, the Avon River flowing through the city that gives it a Venice feel, the old buildings, a brilliant Art Gallery makes Christchurch unique. We did punting on Avon and I especially liked the willow trees around its banks. Apparently French brought the willow trees to Christchurch.

Avon

Avon

Willow Trees

Willow Trees

Arts Centre

Visiting Christchurch’s Art Centre was undoubtedly a good experience. It is a cluster of heritage buildings that houses art galleries, working artists and artisans, cafes and restaurants and a busy street market (on the weekend). Since we were on a holiday weekend, we were privileged to see the Art’s Centre on its full bloom.

Art's Centre

Arts Centre

The centre was crowded with people buying artifacts and usual things from the street market on the courtyard, eating food, visiting the galleries, allowing their children to run around or just enjoying the sun. It was not unusual to see such a day after we have come to New Zealand but it felt nice to see it inside an Art Gallery, which are mostly associated with seriousness (and yes boredom).

Rutherford's Medals

Rutherford's Nobel Prize

The most interesting place housed inside the Art Gallery was Rutherford’s Den. Ernest Rutherford, was a New Zealand born Nobel Prize winning Nuclear Physicist, known for his work on Radioactivity. He was the first person to identify alpha, beta and gamma rays.

Rutherford’s Den is a basement cloakroom that were used by Rutherford and his fellow student J.A. Ersken for conducting experiments. The Den, and the rooms around it now house an interactive exhibition that commemorates and celebrates Rutherford’s achievements and his association with Canterbury College.

I like visiting such places so it was quite interesting for me to try out some of the experiments designed by this Kiwi genius, reading about his life, seeing old photographs and looking at all the awards that he has received. There are no entry fee to enter either the Arts Centre or Rutherford’s Den, however you are encouraged to donate.

There were lot of activities going on inside the Arts Centre and some really nice sculptures.

I particularly liked this sculpture of the fool!

The Fool

The Fool

Explaining the creation

Explaining the creation

We also visited the Christchurch Art Gallery. This is a modern building opened in 2003. In its two floors the Gallery’s Collection has over 5,500 items, including paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, glass, metalwork and photography. It is maintained through purchases, bequests and donations.

We had a variety of lunch options to choose from as regards to food. However, I went for the German Frankfurter. It was a nice day for sure.

Frankfurter for lunch was good

Frankfurter for lunch was good

..and so was his music

..and so was his music

New Zealand is known to be the adventure capital of the world but our trip was more sedate. That perhaps describes our nature. Having said that, we did visit Kaikoura from Christchurch and had a little adventure. I shall write about that next time.


PS: This was written in a hurry so I promise myself that I shall write a bit more about the city sometime soon.

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Responses

  1. It was a pleasure to visit Christchurch. Someday I hope to be present there physically, enjoy the calmness, soft and warm sunlight, beauty of the Willows by the Avon, and his music.


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