It’s time for the sequel, and let’s hope it’s better than the original! With two weeks in the books, I’ve been able to explore Christchurch and the surrounding area. First, a quick history lesson before we delve into my adventures.
Christchurch is actually the oldest established city in New Zealand, being founded in 1856. The best parallel I can draw for a city in the States is where I was raised – Birmingham, AL! Is Christchurch as glamorous as being on-site in Dallas or Chicago? Unfortunately not, but I can easily see it being a great place to raise a family. The next biggest highlight after being the oldest city is one of tragedy, I hate to say. In 2010 and 2012, the city suffered a devastating series of earthquakes. Some of the older buildings just were not equipped to handle that kind of natural disaster and have been demolished.
Such is the case for the first landmark I visited, the Christchurch Cathedral. You’ll have to Google the cathedral to see it in its heyday, but you can tell how beautiful it was by what is left. I can picture the Gothic Revival architecture and stained-glass windows even in its present state. Right next to the cathedral is the Citizens’ War Memorial, which didn’t incur near the level of damage as the cathedral but is blockaded due to it being so close to the cathedral. Each year hundreds come to this Memorial to celebrate and honor the Anzac Day service (New Zealand’s Memorial Day).
Switching gears to something more uplifting, I took a hike along Taylor’s Mistake, a beach and bay about 30 minutes southeast of Christchurch proper. As you’ll see in the pictures, this hike was no mistake, but how in the world did it get that name? That name comes from the master of a vessel running into the beach area during the night, thinking he was somewhere else.
Aside from the great views and four legged friends I ran into, the hills above the beach were fortified with two machine gun posts to guard a coastal defense battery. The machine gun posts were built in response to a perceived threat of invasion by the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the gun pits are still there today!