Delights frequently await those who venture along Christchurch’s Avon River aboard a Cambridge-style punt. Spring is especially rewarding. Visitors experience an explosion of yellow daffodils – about 60,000 of them, supplemented by delicate pink cherry blossom. If that is not enough, new winged life emerges in the guise of ducklings.
Last week the big thrill was two black swans (under the hospital bridge) hatching a troop of cute cygnets. The parent swans took turns sitting upon, disguising, the four hatched young ones. It appeared there was another egg yet to hatch. Each Antigua Boatsheds punter took their craft as close to the nest as possible without disturbing the protective parents. Punting customers gasped, quietly, in delight as they raised cameras in an effort to preserve precious memories of their river experience. I returned to the site three days later hoping to record on-going growth of the tiny swans. But they had gone. The nest was abandoned. There remained some broken egg shell and what appeared to be two complete eggs that failed to hatch.
The best of it is Punting on the Avon from Antigua Boat Sheds is the same delightful experience and devoid of earthquake woes. Much of Christchurch is as great as ever as visitors are increasingly discovering. Lonely Planet’s new “Best in Travel for 2013” (released today) rates Christchurch No. 6 in their recommended top 10 cities of the world to visit. Christchurch is fittingly identified with a Welcome Aboard Avon River punt.
Head on down to the river and take a punt on having a superb experience. Follow it up with a Botanic Gardens Caterpillar tour enjoying the spiel from one of the knowledgeable Caterpillar driver/guides.