Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NZ 2009 Day 1 - Christchurch

We were at the airport Nov 23 for our flight at 725pm. I think this is our first time at T3 (as a family). Christmas was in the air. There were big christmas balls and even one which opens up!


While waiting for our gate to be open, we walked around and found this stamping area. The kids loved it. There were flower stamps and dragon stamps which was appropriate for Kelvin as he was born in the year of the dragon.

We also enjoyed the kois pond. Just our luck, the person in charge of feeding them came just in time.
We were actually able to feed them! We found out they didn't have any teeth!

Gate was finally open, we were on our way to our 2-week holiday to New Zealand. I planned to sleep my way to Christchurch, but this time I found it hard to sleep (old age?). The kids were not able to sleep right away, too. We all got ourselves busy with watching movies, tv shows, playing games and eating.
Ira loved the food specially the ice cream

I watched 2 movies! The Proposal (featuring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds) and The Ugly Truth (featuring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler). The latter had a lot of profanities and sex-related dialogues but was truly funny. I was laughing myself out while other passengers were sleeping I guess. I didn't think Katherine and Gerard would have some chemistry but they did complement each other in the movie. The former, on the otherhand, was as expected from a Sandra movie. Love story, comedy, drama. I shed some tears towards the end of the movie.

Anyway, minutes before landing, we can see from our windows a glimpse of natural scenery - snow-capped mountains, Canterbury plains, and lakes galore.

We landed in Christchurch Airport with 16 degrees temperature (celsius)! We breezed through immigration and customs. Called our rental car company for pick up. Got our rental car. Then we were on our way to  explore New Zealand.

While driving to Christchurch city centre, Kelvin said it was like US (the suburbs). Hubby and I thought it was like Perth, but colder.

We arrived at our hotel, Holiday Inn City Centre, checked in, parked the car (covered carpark), unpacked some of our stuff, then went out to have lunch and see what the city has to offer.

One thing for sure, KFC here is quite expensive. They only have small chicken pop corn (and I mean really small) which costs NZD3! Their meal costs around NZD9, with SMALL drink!

Anyway, so much for half-filled stomachs. We walked towards Cathedral Square (yes, the hotel's location is just walking distance to the main attractions in the city) and the first thing we could see were symbols related to the church - the light sculpture (which is a sculpture of wheat strands) and the Chalice.

Cathedral Square is regarded as the very centre of Christchurch, attached to the historic Worcester Boulevard, the metropolis Colombo St, and sits close to the meandering Avon River.

At Cathedral Square there is the Christchurch Cathedral (which was undergoing maintenance), the visitor centre, some sculptures, buildings and the tram station.

Christchurch Cathedral is the Anglican Cathedral, a historic landmark and a National Treasure.

Ira loved chasing the birds around.


Surprisingly, there were really not much tourists on that day.

From the square, we walked towards the Avon River. I didn't expect the river to be that narrow/small.
We were at the Antigua Boatsheds station (on the bridge at Cambridge Terrace) watching tourists who went Punting on the Avon.

Antigua Boatsheds:
Boat Hire Open daily
Summer 9:00am - 5:30pm   (Last boat out 4:30pm)
Winter 9:00am - 5:00pm    (Last boat out 4:00pm)

We walked further down the road to see the Canterbury Museum, Arts Centre.

Then took the tram to see the rest of the city.
We bought the gondola and tram combo (NZD80) since we were going to visit the gondola later in the afternoon.

Christchurch Tram
OPERATING Hours - trams run 365 days a year!
Summer 9am until 9pm (1 November - 31 March)
Winter 9am until 6pm (1 April - 31 October)
All Tram tickets are valid for two consecutive days

The Restaurant Tram departs every night except 25th and 31st December
Departs from Cathedral Junction at 7.30pm (7pm June – August inclusive)

Tram Tickets
Adult $15 per person
Child (5 - 15 years) $5 per person
Child (under 5 years) FREE
Family Pass (2 Adults & up to 3 Children) $35
Tram & gondola combo
Adult $35 per person
Child (5 - 15 years) $12 per person
Child (under 5 years) FREE
Family Pass (2 Adults & up to 3 Children) $80
River Rail Combo
Explore the inner city of Christchurch by historic Tram and tranquil Punt .

At the Worcester Bridge tram stop you’ll find the departure point for the Avon River Punt.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a 30 minute punt ride down the tranquil Avon River onboard our Edwardian punts. Custom-built river punts glide effortlessly downstream under the guidance of our trained boatmen.

Adult $30 per person
Child (5 - 15 years) $15 per person
Child (under 5 years) FREE

Gondola, Tram and Punting Triple Pass
Enjoy the very best Christchurch has to offer with the Christchurch Triple Pass! Experience Christchurch’s iconic attractions - the Christchurch Tramway, Christchurch Gondola and Punting on the Avon - at affordable prices.
Adult $50 per person
Child (5 - 15 years) $20 per person
Child (under 5 years) FREE
Family (2 Adults & up to 3 Children) $120

Transport to and from the Tram, Gondola or Punt is not included.
Attractions do not have to be visited on the same day.

We stopped at Cathedral Square, almost a whole round in the tram, then walked back to the hotel to pick up the car for our trip to the gondola.

The kids were excited to ride the gondola. I think we have taken the gondola in almost all of the cities/countries we've been to (exept Singapore!). The kids were not really afraid of heights.

It was sooooo windy at the top of the gondola. Our plans of doing some of the walks were trashed since we couldn't possibly do the 30minute walks without freezing. Hubby and Kelvin tried to walk a few steps outside.

Christchurch Gondola
10 Bridle Path Rd , Heathcote Valley, Christchurch
Phone: (+64 3) 384 0700
Fax: (+64 3) 384 0708

Operating hours
The Christchurch Gondola is open from 10am to 9pm daily.

Gondola Tickets
Adult $24 per person
Child (5 - 15 years) $10 per person
Child (under 5) FREE
Family Pass (2 adults & up to 3 children) $59
Ticket prices include the return trip on the Gondola and the Time Tunnel Ride Experience.

Before we ended our day, we passed by Dominos - it's pizza night! We got a good deal since there was a promo $7.50 per pizza, and that's for the large one!

So much for Day 1 in New Zealand. We still have 15 more days to go.

Day 2

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