Christchurch is flat, so today should be a breeze! Why? I’m joining Christchurch Bike Tours for a two-hour trip, the weather is balmy and the wind is even less than a breeze, and of course the terrain is flat!
People often think travel writing is all about ‘exotic overseas places’. Well lets face it, we are a small island country (about the size of Japan, UK or California) at the bottom of the world so, for most of the world Christchurch, New Zealand is an exotic overseas destination, and I love introducing readers to my backyard: my city and my country.
This is a perfect cycling city set on the edge of the Canterbury Plains in the South Island. This city’s’ Maori name is Otautahi and the South Island is called either Te Wai Pounamu, or Te Ika o Maui – the place of greenstone and the fish of Maui. [See more blogs about Christchurch, Maori, and New Zealand on this blog]
Our trip starts outside ‘the old post-office’, now the Visitors’ Information Centre in Cathedral Square – which is considered the centre of Christchurch, the Anglican cathedral being one of two cathedrals in the city – the other one is the Catholic one in Barbados St.
We are given a safety briefing, including making sure all know that us Kiwis drive and ride on the left, and then walk to the building where the bicycles are housed. I have a mountain bike so this more upright, retro style bike felt strange at first. ‘They are built for comfort not speed,’ we are told and with our helmets on, and after a wee practice we were soon on our way for New Zealands only city bike tour.
I won’t tell all we saw and heard on our trip as that would spoil your trip with the group, but here are the highlights – the Arts Centre, the historic Antigua Boatsheds, Christ’s College, Riccarton House and Deans Bush, Mona Vale Gardens, and New Regent St: in just two hours our guide showed us what would normally take a whole day on foot.
Enjoy these photos that I took on my trip – but even more, book an enjoyable trip for yourself and take your own photos. And, if you are a local, go with your guests and see a different side of Christchurch, it’s great being a tourist in your own city