… if I was a visitor to Christchurch what would I want to do?
My wish list quickly assembles:
• Hear about the effects of the earthquakes.
• Visit the Botanic Gardens one hears so much about. The venue attracts 1,000,000 visitors annually.
• Have some sort of boating experience on the river.
• View Christchurch, the plains and mountains from the Port Hills. Locals just don’t stop talking about it.
• Take a ride on one of the immaculately-presented heritage trams.
• Check out the so-called transitional cardboard cathedral.
A big ask?
I could accomplish all this by joining a daily Welcome Aboard Grand Tour. In a sense, the tour would join me when it picked me up from my accommodation.
For the $119 ticket price I would experience many principal city attractions including a punt ride on the river with a chatty punter looking very English in boater hat and attire. Suits me not to paddle my own boat – I would get lost or capsize for sure.
Next would be a guided Botanic Gardens tour in a curious electric vehicle called a ‘Caterpillar’. From the brochure that’s exactly what it looks like.
Then our friendly driver would take me to the Gondola to climb into one of their cable cars and soar to a magnificent viewpoint on the Port Hills. Great café there I hear.
After a detour through the attractive Sumner seaside village, the tour driver would finally hand me a day pass (hop-on hop-off) to ride the heritage trams. Here I would eye-ball what earthquakes have wrought in the city, hear about personal experiences, learn about amazingly resilient people and feel their excitement for the city’s brighter future starting to happen.
And I would discover the cardboard cathedral was a short walk from one of the tram stops, as is the funky Re-start mall created from brightly painted shipping containers.
The tour is aboard a comfortable air-conditioned coach with welcoming, knowledgeable driver. But it is apparent I would not become too comfortable. The day involves a lot of participation with an element of fun. Just the package to tick all the wish list boxes. The one thing to do in Christchurch.