Have you ever walked up to a foreign city and felt completely overwhelmed about where to start. What to do? How am I going to get around this place? Where is the best shopping? How do I find the best coffee? Public transport, two hard baskets, don’t have enough time to walk. Well, here is a wonderful double combo for you – a cycle tour to all the hotspots of one of the world’s great garden cities which is completely flat, made in heaven.
I am taking you on a tour around Christchurch, the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island.
Heya, Heya, Hey! Welcome to Christchurch, the Garden City of New Zealand where the weather is always perfect and everyday is a stroll through paradise.
A walk around paradise would take you at least four hours but on the Christchurch Bike Tour you can do it in just two.
New Zealand’s only guided city bike tour leads from Cathedral Square in the town centre. Adrian Ramsey our guy, is abundant of local knowledge. He is amazing – people, places, history, he knows all. Taking us first on the historic Worcester Boulevard – to the city’s biggest tourist haven.
Yeah, so this is the Arts Centre here and it’s been the Arts Centre for the last 20 years. It used to be the Canterbury University. There is a big market here on the weekends, on Saturdays and the Sundays. There’s a live theatre here, it’s a Court theatre. There is this cinema’s here, there are galleries and shops and food stores, there is nice restaurants. Dux de Lux restaurant over there is very nice.
It’s all happening here, isn’t it?
Oh, it’s a wonderful place. It’s a good … this used to be .. this is the centre of the city really.
Am I right in thinking that Christchurch has, has quite a youthful creative energy to it?
Yeah, well you know, there are thousands of university students in the, in this city.
There are two universities with a total population of around ten thousand.
Here we go, so we will just cruise in here and have a quick stop at the Antigua Boatsheds. These boatsheds were built in 1882, they are one of the oldest in Christchurch, oldest, still operating businesses.
Feel like I am in old England.
The Avon river weaves through the city and suburbs. Now if you’d like to explore the city by punt, it’s easily around, Adrian’s other job, yes you guessed it, he is a punt driver.
As soon as we make our way out of the CBD you can really see why it is called the Garden City. First stop – Hadley Park, the best time to see it in full bloom, well of course – spring.
So how do you get all these beautiful bluebells in the middle of the city?
Well, Christchurch just takes simultaneous pride in its gardens. It’s a Garden City, we all have our own beautiful garden at a time and people come and plant this, these bulbs here.
Yeah, volunteers, there are volunteers who plant thousands and thousands of bulbs in the city.
Next I’m off, for the back streets and the suburbs passing some of the city’s most expensive houses as we head to the city’s most famous garden.
Garden lovers prepare to lose it over Mona Vale. This is the most beautiful garden in all of Christchurch. It was actually developed by a beautiful millionaire called Annie Townsend and when she passed away, greedy developers wanted to buy the place and the council just said, “I don’t think so” and they asked the locals to donate and sure enough they raise enough money to buy what’s here, for all of us to enjoy.
At the Mona Vale Homestead restaurant you can enjoy a picnic hamper by the lake or treat yourself to an indulgent afternoon tea.
Of course the great thing about joining the bicycle tour is that you have earned the right to have double cream on your scones for Devonshire Tea.
And on our way home the chance to find out where all the good shopping is.
If you want to come to a place where there is fantastic shopping, this is the place to come. It’s not in many guide books, and it is very groovy and very cool place to be.
His Lordship’s lane?
His Lordship’s lane, that’s it.
I am coming back here for shopping.
Christchurch is on New Zealand’s South Island. Christchurch City Bike Tours has a two hour guided tour starting at around about 25 dollars. Air New Zealand has flights to Christchurch starting at $258 from Melbourne, $264 from Sydney and Brisbane, and $433 from Adelaide.
Thanks for joining us tonight…