Day #81 - By Air, Sea and Land

Enjoying the view from the top of Mt Cavendish
We woke this morning to the sight of lots of teenagers swarming around the previously quiet campsite and in particular in the area around our van. We had enjoyed a big area of the site all to ourselves last night - but not so this morning. We assumed it was either a school group or youth group pitching up for the week. Clearly many of them hadn't got a clue about how to pitch a tent or even work as a team - but hey, that's why it's character building!

Our day today was determined by the "Tourist Ticket" James bought at the first stop. We booked in for three attractions on a "3 in 1" ticket - gondola ride, tram ride and punting ride. Hence the title of today's blog (cut me some slack with the sea reference!)

First up was the gondola ride up to the top of Mount Cavendish. James and I rather familiar with cable cars like this due to our love of skiing, so as lovely as the ride up was, it was the views from the top we were really interested in.

You can experience the views for yourself on at this website should you be interested. Otherwise, here are our pictures. 

We got great views of Christchurch and Lyttelton Harbour where we learnt, a lot of early expeditions to the Antarctic set off from including Shackleton's and Captain Scott's. We also took the opportunity for a breakfast sandwich and cheeky cake which was very pleasant. The weather today was bright sun and warm which was such a welcome change from yesterday's grey drizzle. 

Next up on our list was the punting trip. First though we had to drive into Christchurch and park up. The latter easier said than done. Parking a seven metre long campervan in the city centre proved to be a challenge. Even though New Zealand often provides designated parking spots for campers, we couldn't find any this morning and so we heading a little out of the centre and found a street beside a cemetery with free on street parking. It meant a fair walk into town but when you're on holiday, exploring cities, that's not a bad thing. We had a very pleasant walk following the River Avon into the heart of the city.

We arrived at the punting station and after the obligatory health and safety briefing, we boarded our punt with our punter, Charlotte. For me, this brought back memories of my time punting on the River Cam in Cambridge when I was a student.

James and I enjoyed a very pleasant trip down the River Avon, seeing Christchurch from a different perspective. We were joined by lots of water birds, many of them with their young.

After disembarking, we then walked into the central area of the city and enjoyed a bit of retail therapy. We came across a brand of clothing neither of us had heard of but as soon as we saw it, we knew we were buying. Can you guess why?

So after having a town named after me (see yesterday) I now have my own line of clothing. New Zealand loves me!

The final part of our tourist triple was the tram ride through the city centre. This was a "hop on and off" affair and so we took advantage of it and jumped off to view the city's cathedral. 

This is undergoing extensive repairs, restoration and reinforcement following the 2012 earthquake that devastated the centre of Christchurch. They have been working on it for over ten years and have about another four to five years of work to do. Quite a project!

We also fell in love with New Regent's Street which is were we got off the tram for the last time. This artisan collection of shops seemed to suit the quirky nature of a narrow street dominated by the tram! 

We walked back to our van, passing once again a most amazing children's playground - the biggest in the southern hemisphere apparently. I have noticed how much New Zealand values and invests in its public places (there are always (clean!) public toilets around). The playgrounds I have seen throughout the country have always been of high quality but also stimulated children's imagination. Water play, role play and physical play do seem to be integrated into their play spaces. Educationalists rejoice! There was even a BBQ area for the adults (gas provided!). 

Our drive to tonight's campsite again took us through some lovely countryside - rolling hills with a mountainous backdrop, sheep everywhere and impressive rock formations around every corner. 

Our destination is the historic and charming seaside town of Akaroa, brimming with history and French flair. Founded in 1840 by French settlers, Akaroa boasts a unique and fascinating past, evident in its architecture, cuisine, and cultural events. The story of Akaroa begins with the arrival of French whaler Captain Jean Langlois in 1838. Believing the land was unclaimed, he purchased a large portion of the peninsula from local Māori chiefs. However, a year later, the British Crown signed the Treaty of Waitangi, establishing sovereignty over New Zealand. Just a week before the French colonists arrived, the British flag was raised over Akaroa, claiming the land for the Crown. Despite this turn of events, the French settlers remained and established a thriving community. 

Hopefully tomorrow, we'll get time to get some better pictures of the beautiful town. 


  1. Fond memories of punting with you during our Cambridge days.
    Sounds like you are still having a super adventure.

  2. I did explain to James about Overnight Punting and how it always seemed a good idea at the time.Two hours in however, cold and wet, it was less appealing!!😂 Good time though.


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