Monday, August 25th, 2003 – Day 188

tMonday, August 25th, 2003 – Day 188

I was awake my 8.00am when a guy in the dorm was getting up. Hippie type who tripped over all his pots and pans tied to his backpack. He made a racket. At 9.00am, I checked out Christchurch Cathedral. You DONATE 4 NZD when you enter, or just 2.50 if use a camera and four more if you climb the tower. These guys know how to charge!. The usual church things here. Not as nice as Nelson or Old Saint Pails in Wellington. Lots of military related plaques (what about the separation of church and state folks) and lots of military flags. The place was covered in plaques dedicated to the righteous and the good. Is everybody else bad. Cant understand the old plaque thing. Much was related to monetary contributions. The views from the top were not that great. Lots of big buildings etc.

If you want a bird’s-eye view over the Square and inner city, climb the 133 steps in the 120-foot Christchurch Anglican Cathedral tower. You won’t be alone–well over 300,000 visitors per year wend their way into the cathedral, making it one of the South Island’s most visited attractions. Construction was begun in 1864, just 14 years after the first settlers arrived, and was completed in 1904. Today, it’s New Zealand’s most famous Gothic Revival church and Christchurch’s most important landmark. The cathedral is open for prayer during the weekdays; Holy Communion is celebrated daily.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – View from Church Tower. People Playing chess. (25-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – View from Church Tower. Its Shadow hits a Mark. (25-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – View from Church Tower. Its Shadow hits a Mark. (25-08-2003)

Bought a 3 hour Internet pass for five NZD. Bargain. Spent 2 hours writing this blog. I bet you don’t even appreciate it, eh. I rang Qunatas to change my Sydney to Melbourne date and confirm my flight to Melbourne tomorrow night.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – City tram. More information on the tram system can be found here.(25-08-2003)

I then walked to the Botanic Gardens.

The turquoise-and-yellow Peacock Fountain just inside the main gate on Rolleston Avenue is a handy marker that can’t be missed. This is the best point of entry to the lush 23 hectares (57 acres) of deservedly world-renowned gardens. Even if you’ve never considered yourself the slightest bit green-thumbed, there’s something magical about this place. Sweeping lawns, fragrant rose gardens, and some of the oldest exotic trees in New Zealand provide spectacular displays year-round. The Avon River and its huge duck population add interest. The kids can run loose, feed the ducks, and frolic in the playground.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Botanic gardens. Peacock Fountain. (25-08-2003)

It was a nice day and I enjoyed walking around. Spring has come early to these parts. I went to the Greenhouse etc and walked by the Avon River. I then hired a single man canoe for an hour. The current was quite strong. They told me paddle upstream for 40 minutes and it should take only 20 to come back. I really enjoyed it. I have never seen so many ducks in a river and city. They are every place – thousands of them. They are even in the city centre area. I also enjoyed People Punting in the river. The Avon River runs along the border of Mona Vale, and a punting excursion will give you a peek into some of the beautiful private gardens on the river.

What is Punting?

A punt is a flat-bottomed boat which does not have a keel. Typically, a punt is approximately 21 feet (6 metres) long and 3 feet (1 metre) wide. It should be propelled by means of a 16 foot (5 metre) long pole, which is also used to steer the punt. This method of propulsion is known as “punting”; just using a paddle to move along doesn’t count!

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Punting on the River. (25-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Punting on the River. (25-08-2003)

I walked down to the Canterbury Brewery. I have been on two brewery tours and I did want another. They have a stranger attitude to drinking than we have in Ireland. In 1917 parliament had adopted 6pm closing as a “temporary war-time measure”. It lasted until 1967. The grotesque excesses of the one-hour “six o’clock swill” reduced drinking to its most utilitarian – the most beer to the most drinkers at the greatest possible speed. Barmen filled lines of glasses at an amazing lick, and the tiled walls and lino floors were hosed down afterwards. I would never imagine it in Ireland. All pubs closing at 6.00pm until nealy 1970.

Before the 1960s, New Zealanders wanting to dine out had a limited choice both of venue and of food. Restaurants, cafes, dining rooms of hotels, tearooms, coffee shops and oyster bars presented a narrow menu of grilled meats and hearty desserts.

Alcohol could not be served with food until changes in the liquor licensing laws in 1961 allowed its consumption outside hotels, including those such as the Chateau Tongariro which were run by the government’s tourism section.

Alcohol consumption in public bars and hotels was subject to stringent regulation, although not necessarily policing, for much of the twentieth century. Women and Maori were not always allowed to enter hotels or to purchase alcohol, and some districts had a total prohibition on alcohol. New Zealand introduced six o’clock closing in 1917 as a war time measure, and in response to the campaigns of the temperance and prohibition movements. Closing times did not alter until 1967, when the introduction of 10 p.m. closing marked the end of the ‘six o’clock swill’. Changed closing times also enabled the opening of a range of establishments serving alcohol, such as the popular 1960s Auckland venue, the MonDesir Beer Garden, where women and men mingled freely.

This probably did more to hinder New Zealand’s social development than anything else: pubs began to look more like lavatories, which could be hosed down after closing, and the predilection for quantity over quality encouraged breweries to churn out dreadful watery brews. Still today, most of the breweries here are owned by one company called Lion nathan. They had to come together to avoid the fall out from the measure introduced above.

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Christchurch – New Zealand – Canterbury Brewery. They are really proud of there beer here. As they say OUR BEER, BORN HERE (25-08-2003)

After that I got a bite to eat and went to Canterbury Museum.

Perfectly placed on the edge of the Botanic Gardens within a stone’s throw of the Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum is a must. Check out the excellent Antarctic display, a must-see before going out to the International Antarctic Centre. Also look for the superb Natural History Discovery Centre, quaint Victorian Canterbury street, and excellent Maori section. Allow 2 hours.

I spent an hour there. Some parts of the museum are closed and are undergoing restoration. The entrance is free. The Antarctic aspects and exhibits were good.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Museum. (25-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Museum. (25-08-2003)

It was around 4.00pm now and I was tired. I went back to the hostel and watched TV for a while. I was talking to a new guy in my dorm who was here from the West Coast for a hospital check up. He had donated a liver to his friend (male) and was not feeling the better of it. He said he could not do half the things he could last year. Anyway, I got a very good nights sleep as none snored.

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