South Island, Pt. 8: Christchurch

As you may recall from last time, I took the train across the South Island from Greymouth on the West coast to Christchurch on the East coast.

Christchurch is known for being the largest city on the South Island, roughly the same population as Wellington. It’s also the setting-off point for many Antarctic expeditions, not just from New Zealand but also from a number of other Northern-Hemisphere countries. Less cheerfully, it’s the site of several earthquakes, including one in 2011 that killed 185 people. There was a slightly smaller earthquake a couple of days before I got there, apparently, though I hadn’t felt anything in Nelson.

I didn’t have a car for most of my time in Christchurch, so I didn’t see much of the city. I did spend some time in the Botanic Gardens, though!

The gardens follow my usual Law of Garden Layouts, which is that the paths are as meandering and confusing as possible.

As is common, the gardens are part actual garden and part park. The fountain here is nice, though!

The curators, possibly to keep things fresh, choose theme colors for each season. Guess what the theme colors for 2016’s summer are?

Photographing flowers is not overly challenging since the subjects are pretty and not particularly mobile. I enjoy it.

The gardens also feature a statue of the guy who masterminded the tunnel I went through in the previous post. If people ever build a statue of me for whatever reason (probably Excellence in Blogging), I would like to be seated.

There’s also this contraption. If you pull the lever you can see on the left, water starts pumping through it which makes it move and do things. It’s very cool in a kind of Rube Goldbergian way. I should have gotten video, but I was too bemused by it to think of videoing.

The main gardens have roses on the inside and dahlias on the outside. I think the roses are prettier but the dahlias are cooler!

Here’s some of the dahlias, which I will intersperse with roses for your comparison.

Dahlia.

Rose.

Dahlia.

Rose (OK, so this particular rose is actually pretty cool too).

Hydrangeas (showing the cool rainbow effect that rows of hydrangeas sometimes take. I wonder of the gardeners purposely vary the soil pH to make it happen or if it’s just how this particular soil happens to be dispersed).

Orange is one of my many favorite colors, haha.

Further along in the gardens is this odd-looking structure. What have we here?

This is the World Peace Bell. The plaque reads:

“The World Peace Bell is made from coins and medals donated by 103 countries of the world which have been mixed with copper and is a symbol of peace which gives an impression that the world is one.
“The aim of the association is to install the World Peace Bells in capitals of various countries and ring the Bells in the entire world, so as to promote the mutual understanding which transcends national boundaries and make contribution to the cause of world peace.
“The World Peace Bell which stands in the courtyard of the United Nations headquarters in New York is rung annually by UN Secretary General in prayer for peace on the occasion of the opening of the UN General Assembly.”

So that’s a thing.

The ducks do not care about the World Peace Bell.

Leaving the gardens and walking around the city a bit, I note that a lot of things are still under construction. I’m not sure if it’s because of the earthquake or just because most of New Zealand is perpetually under construction.

There’s also a lot of street art, including the very intricate painting on the side of this gym!

So that’s my brief stay in Christchurch. After the gardens, I went back to the hostel where I read a bit and hung out with the sassy cat who apparently lives there.

The next day, I walked to the rental car place, got yet another rental car (which was, sadly, another Nissan Sunny), and drove Southwest back across the South Island. I got up to another adventure along the way, which will have to wait ’til next time. See you then!

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