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Christchurch is slowly but surely getting back on its feet.  The recently-opened pop-up City Mall container shopping is a real hit, providing an excellent atmosphere for Christchurch people, and visitors.  Shops, cafes and banks in shipping containers are certainly eye-catching and different.  I particularly enjoy their many colours.  And business is booming.  Johnson’s grocery store, especially, is industriously making up for lost time following the February 22 quake, demolishing the famous Colombo Street premises.

Welcome Aboard people are also determined to return as a leading Canterbury tourism operator offering a variety of appealing activities for locals and visitors.  Heritage trams running again are still a few months away but  punting from the quaint Antigua boat sheds resumed some time ago.  This is an ideal time of the year to enjoy a relaxing river cruise. Next to see a restart is a modified Grand Tour from December 1, offering close encounters with Christchurch highlights, along with the best of informative entertainment from one of the coach-driving team.

Half-day tours will cost adults $65, Children $45, and under fives requiring a seat $10.

The initial programme will be:

9 am-9.30 am: pick-ups

9.35 am– 10.10am: punting from Antigua Boat Sheds

10.20  am– 10.50 am: walk through the gracious Mona Vale property

11.15 am –11.45 am: Sign of the Takahe, a quaint heritage building on the Port Hills – great views over the city and out to the Western mountains

12.10 pm –12 .40 pm: Sumner and Redcliffs (5 – 10 min stop in Sumner)

1pm: city centre for shopping in the Pop-up shipping container mall, and return to accommodation on request

Pick-up point is in Montreal Street (outside the Dux de Lux).

The coach will also go past i-site (at entrance to Christchurch Botanic Gardens next to the Canterbury Museum) on the way to punting to pick up any last minute pre-booked i-site passengers who have not made it to the Montreal Street pick-up. The coach cannot stop in Montreal Street and wait, or sell business. It can only cruise past, pick up and go, according to phone communication from the i-site.

Bookings (essential) can be made at the i-site 03-379 9629 or from Sharon Mckey grandtour@welcomeaboard.co.nz 0800 24 24 86