As with most Cantabrians, the Welcome Aboard team is displaying remarkable resilience amidst adversity. Key attractions – the Heritage Trams, Port Hills Gondola, and Punting on the Avon all took a hit.
Of these, only Punting on the Avon has resumed. But the Gondola is scheduled to re-open by the end of the year and Trams will likely return to the city streets by this time next year. Thrillseekers near Hanmer Springs was beyond the earthquake zone, but has suffered owing to the decline in visitor numbers.
Welcome Aboard people believe in a bright future as Christchurch is reinstated. If the city is rebuilt along the lines of the council’s draft plan, then it is likely to, again, become a worthy attraction for international visitors. Welcome Aboard attractions will be ready and waiting.
In the meantime, spring in Christchurch offers the ideal opportunity to visit the quaint Antigua Boat Sheds and take a punt ride. Daffodils and cherry blossom in Hagley Park are at their peak and should not be missed. And nearby Canterbury Museum has re-opened, celebrating with a brilliant exhibition of photographs of the late Brian Brake. The museum is brilliantly as it used to be.
And the Welcome Aboard holding company, Wood Scenic Line, has taken on a new business, Dockline Tram, in Auckland’s recently-opened Wynyard Quarter.
I visited Dockline Tram recently and found a very smart operation comprising two resplendent former Melbourne Tram Cars, presented in a one-time Auckland Tramways’ livery. Wynyard Quarter is revitalised industrial wasteland modelled on similar projects inAmsterdam and other European cities. The Quarter has taken off exceptionally well with Aucklanders. Weekends are bedlam. Along North Wharf, in particular, I enjoyed excellent cafes and opportunities for a pleasant late-afternoon drink looking out to a balmy Waitemata Harbour.
If headingAucklandway check out the Dockline Tram.