Trip Report: Two Weeks Down Under
Flight Review: Qantas B747-400 San Francisco – Sydney
Lounge Review: Qantas Business Class Lounge, Sydney
Flight Review: Qantas A330-300 Sydney – Auckland
Lodging Review: Holiday Inn Auckland Airport
Lodging Review: The Pavilions Hotel, Christchurch
Our Time in Christchurch
Lodging Review: Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Our Time in Queenstown including Doubtful Sound Tour
Lodging Review: Avani Metropolis, Auckland
Our Time in Auckland
Lodging Review: Oceans Mooloolaba
Our Time on the Sunshine Coast
Lodging Review: Brisbane Marriott
Flight Review: Qantas B787-9 Brisbane – Los Angeles
We’d only done minimal research on our destinations for this trip, preferring to fly by the collective seat of our pants. Our first night in town we visited Sun Dog Diner just because the day had been cool and rainy and Sun Dog was in walking distance and looked cool. Our waiter was American and was super-helpful in getting us a list of recommended activities. While we certainly wanted to sightsee, our birthday girl really wanted to find a hike and see some nature. He recommended a hike between Godley Head and Taylor’s Mistake. That turned out to be a wonderful recommendation.
Godley Head to Taylor’s Mistake Hike
We took an Uber to the Godley Head trailhead. I was glad we did the hike in this direction as the car had to make a number of switchback turns to get us up to our starting point. It seemed to be slightly more downhill in this direction though I could be mistaken. We strolled at a very leisurely pace and stopped to take photos, look at the old World War II Battery Observations posts and just to take a break at various points. Note that there are some areas close to the cliffs and the Godley Battery Compound, also right on the edge, that are closed off due to damage from the earthquake. But these don’t interfere with the hike in general. We were fortunate to have a lovely day for walking and there were lots of locals who ran back and forth between the two points. You can read more about the hike here: https://www.christchurchnz.com/walk-canterbury/christchurch-short-walks/coastal-and-waterway-walks/taylors-mistake-godley-head-walk/
Here are just a few shots of the views.
Just adjacent to the Botanic Garden is the Canterbury Museum. It gave a good overview of the area’s history and was free.
Christchurch City Center
From the Botanic Gardens it’s a very short stroll into the city center where we enjoyed just looking around. We stopped for some fudge and found a square with booths of local crafts setup for the weekend. We also found a souvenir shop or two and bought our requisite All Blacks gear.
We also passed by the remains of the Christchurch Cathedral. It’s still in a state of flux after the earthquake of 2011. It was so heavily damaged that religious officials wanted to tear it down but it’s so historic that many locals were adamant it should be repaired. After years of lawsuits work has begun to stabilize the building in preparation for its restoration.
The Rugby World Cup was going on while we were in town and we did pop into a sports bar near our hotel for the game one night. Unfortunately the game didn’t start until 11 PM which meant the crowd was a bit down as lots of folks chose to watch at home. We stayed until halftime and watched the remainder of the game in our hotel room.
After our hike we took an Uber down into the town of Sumner, which is not far from Taylor’s Mistake Beach. There were quite a few little dining spots and we decided on Joe’s Garage which was basically a burger and beer place but was a fun atmosphere. They have several locations throughout NZ. https://www.joes.co.nz/restaurants/christchurch-sumner/
In the city center we found a Mexican restaurant called Mexico. It had very unusual menu offerings compared to Mexican restaurants in the US but was quite good. https://www.mexico.net.nz/
In the end
We really enjoyed our time in Christchurch. After the first day we had lovely sunshine but it wasn’t too hot. I would love to come back and spend more time here.