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Old 23-05-2005, 15:31   #31
Filthy / Gorgeous

 
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Christchurch.

We arrived in Christchurch mid afternoon and dumped our belongings in our very comfy motel prior to a stroll into the centre. Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island and is affectionately known as the 'Garden City.'

We strolled into the centre and had a look around Cathedral Square which is dominated by the Anglican Christchurch Cathedral. Christchurch Cathedral was designed by English architect George Gilbert Scott and was completed in 1904. It was built as the focal point of the new Anglican settlement of Canterbury and is still the most important landmark.

In Cathedral Square there is also a more modern tribute to the 150th anniversary of the founding of Canterbury and Christchurch. This tribute also celebrated the new Millennium. It is an 18m high sculpture by Neil Dawson and is known as Chalice.

A stroll around Cathedral Square is a very pleasant way to spend an hour or two. With the old Post Office building, War Memorial and statue of John Robert Godley (the founding father of Canterbury) there is plenty to see. There are lots of places to sit and watch the world go by, coffee shops and food vans provide refreshment, while people watching and the resident speakers in the square provide the entertainment.

Oh yes, we were going to have a rest in Christchurch, put our feet up and recover from the never ending driving in the most civilised surroundings. Or were we.........

Here's a couple of pics of Cathedral Square including the Cathedral and the Chalice.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg christchurch cathederal.jpg (97.8 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg chalice.jpg (59.3 KB, 15 views)
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Old 25-05-2005, 10:42   #32
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Christchurch

Feeling refreshed after an early night, we walked the short distance back into the City in order to explore. By far the best way to see the sights of Christchurch is by tram. The electric tram was introduced here in 1905. They were an integral part of the city transport system until 1954 when they disappeared. Due to the dedication of the Tramway Historical Society and the City Council, the tram was re-introduced in 1995.

These trams take you on a circuit of the city. They have been beautifully restored and the drivers and conductors are real characters. They will give you a running commentary of all the sights and poke fun at everybody and everything. Their favourite targets seem to be anyone wearing a rugby shirt from a team which they don't support, anyone from the North Island and anyone from Australia. These blokes are a scream and very informative about the area. You can buy a day ticket for the tram and hop on and off at any of the designated stops, thus enabling you to see most of the major sights.

After a quick ride on the tram we got on the Lyttleton bus to the gondola. The 945m Austrian Doppelmayer Gondola gently ascends you to the top of Port Hills for a panoramic view of the Christchurch area, Lyttleton and the Canterbury Plains. Lyttleton is one of NZ's busiest ports and was the original landing site for the Canterbury Pilgrims. It's quite a view.

Returning to the city, we once again hopped on the tram to the botanical gardens. Full of amazing plants and fountains, it's everyone's favourite walk in the park. The River Avon snakes it's way throught the gardens and punting down the Avon is a very civilised pastime. We grabbed a take out coffee and chilled out on the grass watching the world go by. What a sedate way to spend an afternoon. Christchurch has it all. Great cultural and theatre scene, lovely restaurants and bars, good choice in shopping, easy access to outdoor pursuits, beautiful parks and gardens and lively people. There are areas in the city where locals warn you not to go alone at night but the same could be said for any city in the world. I could quite happily live there.

Here are the pics. The Christchurch tram, view over Lyttleton and the Banks Peninsula, The Peacock fountain in the Botanical Gardens and punting on the Avon.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg christchurch tram.jpg (91.4 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg lyttleton.jpg (32.7 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg peacock fountain.jpg (96.0 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg river avon.jpg (95.6 KB, 12 views)
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Last edited by lettie; 31-05-2005 at 07:15.
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Old 28-05-2005, 08:22   #33
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Back up North

After leaving Christchurch we headed back up to Picton for our return trip to the North Island on the Interislander. We were sad to leave the beautiful South Island behind and becoming very aware that we were nearing the end of our holiday. After another night in Wellington we drove North and arrived in New Plymouth.

We were just staying for the night here in order to break up the drive to Auckland. New Plymouth is a nice town. We took a stroll along the foreshore which has all been recently renovated and is a lovely coastal walk. The centrepiece of the foreshore is the 'Wind Wand.'

The Wind Wand is a 45m sculpture designed by NZ artist Len Lye (1901-1980). Len Lye spent his career in film making and was enamoured by the art of motion and design of kinetic sculptures. The Wind Wand is the first full sized realisation of one of his outdoor kinetic sculptures and was opened on 31/12/99 to celebrate the millennium. After some initial problems, the Wind Wand was removed and re-installed in July 2001.

A modern looking sculpture, it can bend and oscillate in the wind and it kinda fits in here. At night the top of the Wind Wand glows so that it is still visible. The collection of Len Lye's films and artworks can be viewed at New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

After our walk, we found a bar and sat outside in the evening sun with a couple of beers before eating and retiring to bed.

Pics of an evening view of Wellington and the Wind Wand....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg wellington.jpg (83.1 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg wind wand.jpg (78.3 KB, 12 views)
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Old 28-05-2005, 09:37   #34
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Re: Travel Tales....

oo how i envy both you & sparks, what a great holiday you had, thank you for allowing us to enjoy your trip with you its wonderful, i just wish i could face the long flight again, but im afraid i can't still i DID see australia 9 yrs ago.
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Old 02-06-2005, 09:27   #35
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Auckland again...

On 9th April we returned to Auckland to prepare for our departure. Not wanting to waste our last day moping around and bemoaning the fact that we were leaving we decided to go to Mission Bay.

It was a lovely day and ideal to visit the beach. Mission bay is only a 5 minute drive from downtown Auckland and is beautiful. There was a triathlon taking place that day so there were plenty of people around. I suppose it is Auckland's version of Venice Beach. Lots of sporty types here, people cycling and roller-blading everywhere. Everybody looks fit and tanned (except me and Sparks).

Just around the corner from Mission Bay is Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World. This is a must see. It is a huge aquarium built in a disused sewer underground. You could be forgiven for driving past it and not noticing the entrance.

Kelly Tarlton was a man with a vision. A keen diver, underwater photographer and inventor he wanted people to be able to see a diver's view of marine life. He was an expert in underwater salvage and reclamation and worked extensively with shipwrecks and such. In 1982 he and his wife travelled extensively, viewing different aquariums worldwide in order to design his own. The vision became reality in 1985 when he opened Underwater World. Within 2 months this aquarium had seen its 100,000th visitor. It became a benchmark for aquariums worldwide.

The special thing about Kelly's is the moving walkway through a 110m stretch of perspex tunnel where you can get a diver's view of the sharks, stingrays, Moray eels, crayfish and multitudes of different species of fish. Perspex tunnels are now common in aquariums throughout the world, but Kelly was the inventor... There is also an open topped stingray tank where the largest stingray Phoebe and her friends pop up and have a look and a playful splash at you. The Antarctic Encounter is the frozen underground home of the King and Gentoo Penguins, a special environment built specially for them recreates the frozen Antarctic. There is also a replica of the hut used by Captain Robert Falcon Scott on his Antarctic expedition. Plenty of different marine life in separate tanks including octopus, piranha, seahorses, eels and of course clown fish (Nemo).

I could have stayed in Kelly's all day, but we had last minute shopping to do in the city before our departure.

We could barely speak to each other at the airport the following day. We hadn't fallen out, we were just so bloody miserable to be leaving this wonderful place. We tried to cheer ourselves up with the thought that we weren't coming home yet. We were off to Singapore.....

Here are just a couple of pics of Mission Bay beach......
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Scan10003.JPG (43.6 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Scan10002.JPG (30.1 KB, 14 views)
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Old 08-06-2005, 09:47   #36
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Singapore Sling....

After a relatively short flight to Sydney, a mad dash through Kingston Smith airport, (honestly, they don't give you much time to make your transfers) and a longish flight from Sydney, we finally arrived in Singapore.

This place is lovely. A vibrant, modern, spotlessly clean city, about 100km north of the equator. This city is very tropical, humidity here averages above 90%. It's dead easy to get around with its cheap, efficient transport systems. Colonial style buildings mix with ultra-modern skyscrapers. Appearances are very western here but if you dig a little deeper small pockets of Asian culture can be seen. Traditional Indian and Chinese areas with temples and markets are easy to find.

On our first morning we took a stroll down by the river for impressive views of the buisness district and the Merlion. The Merlion is a statue and fountain. With the head of a lion and the body of a fish it is said to protect the river from evil. A stroll around Little India followed, with its colourful market and beautiful temples. It is lovely to see but hell....It was hot!!!!

After a quick wash and change we headed to the hotel next door to ours for a drink. The most famous hotel in the world was on our doorstep and as touristy as it sounds we could not resist a Singapore Sling at Raffles.

Named after Thomas Stamford Raffles, the man who in 1819 landed in Singapore, realised its' potential as a seaport and secured the island as a free trade port for the British. The Raffles Hotel is the very epitome of colonial style and top quality service. Although renovated and the Long Bar re-positioned in order to accommodate the hoardes of visitors who flock here each year. The Raffles Hotel still has style. The Long Bar is a dark wooden room with polished bar and great service. There are nutshells all over the floor which seems to be a tradition here. I tried to keep all mine on the table as I thought it a shame to make a mess but dropping them on the floor here seems to be perfectly acceptable. It's a strange place is Singapore.

Here are a couple of views of Singapore buisness district, the Merlion, one of Little India's ornate temples, the front of the Raffles Hotel and me having a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg singapore.jpg (41.5 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg singapore 2.jpg (45.1 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg merlion.jpg (89.8 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg singapore temple.jpg (79.2 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg raffles.jpg (74.0 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg singapore sling.jpg (46.0 KB, 18 views)
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Old 08-06-2005, 10:13   #37
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Re: Travel Tales....

I bet you wish you were still there. Loads of terrific photos Lettie. I shall be coming back to look at them all again.
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Old 17-06-2005, 10:14   #38
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Singapore to home...

On our last day in Singapore our priority was to try to pick up a few bargains so we decided to have a shopping day. It was hot and sunny in the morning so after a couple of hours around the pool off we went, to hit the shops for a bit of retail therapy.

There isn't anything you can't buy here. Sparky got a couple of great bargains on photographic equipment. The main shopping area Orchard Rd is a long, spotlessly clean, tree lined people watchers paradise. With wide pavements and plenty of food and drink establishments it's retail heaven. Huge department stores boast Cartier, Tiffany, Dior and lots of other big names. Designer clothes are not much cheaper than in the UK, I bought a handbag which worked out just a couple of quid cheaper than here. I think that the Far East's reputation for designer bargains is not all it's cracked up to be. I found prices in Singapore to be greater than those in Bangkok or Hong Kong, but it is a lovely place.

We also paid a visit to Clarke Quay and Riverside Point. This entire area is given over to eateries and shops and has been vastly renovated. It's a colourful array of buildings on the river bank which has a lively carnival atmosphere and dozens of good restaurants. In other words.......My kind of place.

All too soon it was time to leave Singapore and come home. I would say that we were p***ed off to be coming home, but that is a definite understatement. Here are my last pics of Singapore. The designer Ngee Ann Shopping Centre on Orchard Rd, with its lovely fountain look how clean it is, and the colourful Quays area...

Hope that you have enjoyed our travels...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ngee ann city.jpg (52.8 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg clarke quay.jpg (53.9 KB, 11 views)
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