I’ve been to Christchurch many times, but never with time and a car. My Best of Christchurch post from a few years ago covered what you can see on foot in the city. Heading back from Arthur’s Pass early because of weather gave me a few hours to get a better idea of the place.
Halsey Quarry Park shows what you can do with a little imagination (and plenty of land). In Auckland they’d turn it into a house development (Stonefields, Three Kings), but here they’ve turned 60 hectares into a park, with historic buildings preserved (below is the Singleman’s Quarters built in about 1922), gardens established, a quarry walk offering views from the 125m high quarry rim, and the most obvious attraction (well, it was Easter), Jesus and his tomb.
Heading up into the Port Hills I had to stop when I turned the corner to see this. Sign of the Takahe is a beautiful building that took 30 years to build, finally opening in 1948, built as a Gothic-style teahouse. They’ve spent $2.8m repairing it post the 2011 earthquakes, and are currently looking for lease holders to rent it out.
I spent the best part of an hour heading along Summit Road, which offers stunning views in one direction of Lyttelton and the Banks Peninsula, and of Christchurch city and the Southern Alps in the distance the other way. They seem so close but are actually around an hour and half away along straight, flat 100km roads.