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Archive for the ‘Christchurch – wider’ Category

Ngā Puna Wai was the area Christine and I chose for our walk today in warm autumn sunshine. This wetland is in the Wigram Basin, next to the A & P showgrounds and the new Ngā Puna Wai sports hub. It’s a lovely rural spot close to the city with much native planting, streams, and lakes.

Stream at Ngā Puna Wai
Geese on the lake

The wetland captures and treats stormwater before it flows into the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote River, and helps reduce the risk of flooding during heavy rainfall. There are signs to warn you that stormwater in the wetland may contain pollution and toxic algae and you are advised to stay out of the water.

NIWA monitoring station
There are horses in the field
and sheep

The sports facilities all look fresh and tidy and there’s even a throws area with a sign warning “You are now entering a throws area. Please be vigilant at all times for flying objects.”

Throws area

We wondered whether this might be for frisbees, but I gather it’s used for shot put, discus, and hammer throw.

It was good to explore somewhere we hadn’t been before.

The wetland keeps the river clean
amid a tranquil rural scene

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Christine and I were glad to have good weather for our walk at Roto Kohatu Reserve, especially as we’d previously postponed because of rain. The reserve is close to the city at the northern end of Sawyers Arms Road, and the two lakes there, named Tahi and Rua, are the largest body of fresh water in Christchurch that is suitable for swimming. There was a signpost near the start, but few indicators further on.

Signpost at start of walk

We followed a pathway shared with cyclists, then realised there was another track closer to the lake. In one area there were yellow flowers beside the path and we wondered what these were. Do you know?

Yellow flowers beside the path

We walked around Lake Rua, a distance of only 2 km.

Lake Rua

The two lakes are person-made, from an old quarry later used as a landfill. There are signs warning that underwater hazards include tree stumps, cars, and concrete. There were people in kayaks out on the lake, and we saw (and heard!) one jet-boat.

People in kayaks

A group of intermediate school children were being taught the basic rules of sailing, with small yachts kept in lakeside containers.

School children learning to sail

At another point someone had constructed steps where you could climb up to grab a rope, and swing out over the lake.

Climb up, swing out, and dive in

Where Rua almost meets Tahi there was a fast-running stream, too wide for me to jump across. I wished someone had thought to put a stepping stone in the middle! The only way to cross was to step in the water, and my sneakers got thoroughly soaked. Just as well the day was warm.

Stream safely crossed

This was a very pleasant stroll around a lake with plenty to see – swimmers, a paddle boarder, a shag, and a coot with two offspring. It was especially good to have an outing with no need to wear a mask.

When I got home I found a sticker on the lamppost outside the cottage. It had a picture of a masked man, with the words “Don’t be a coward”, and a website. I didn’t check further, presume it was put there by an anti-mandate protester, and resent their using my area for their propaganda. I put it in the red bin, and washed my hands thoroughly.

A good day for a stroll to take
around this recreational lake

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We’d been to Dan’s Produce Market to get the mushrooms I’d forgotten on Friday and some cheap cherries ($5.99 a kilo). It was lunchtime and we thought we’d go to a café, then noticed Erawan Thai Restaurant on the corner of Hills and Shirley Roads. Outside there are two topiary elephants:

Topiary elephant

They offer a $15 lunch special, and I chose Pad Med Ma Muang, stir fried vegetables with cashew nuts and chicken.

Ruth lunching at Erawan Thai

We sat in an attractive outdoor area beside the Dudley Creek and watched people passing by on the walkway to Slater Street. Our meals were generous and tasty, and afterwards we browsed the nearby Salvation Army op shop, which had an inviting array of goods. I was tempted by a large glass punch bowl with cups and ladle for only $25, but where would I store it? It’s been many years since I’ve served punch, and not likely I will do so in the near future.

The Bakery and Cafe next to Erawan Thai has all its seating cordoned off and is operating for takeaways only. I wonder if this is because of fewer customers or because they can’t get sufficient staff?

So good to try new place for lunch
and we don’t have a need for punch

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Christine and I decided to explore Te Rauakaaka Reserve as recommended by my friend Gallivanta. Internet information about this reserve is sparse, but we knew we wanted to go to Kainga and turned off the Main North Road where a signpost indicated this. We later realised we were actually on the Lower Styx Road, and should have taken a turning further along. It didn’t matter because Lower Styx Road took us through Brooklands and on to Kainga Road. We were just approaching it from the opposite direction from what we’d intended.

According to the internet you can walk to the reserve from Pikes Track, but we couldn’t see any path here, so went back and parked by the Stewarts Gully Sailing Club.

Stewarts Gully Sailing Club

Beside the Club was a building labelled Avon Rowing Club, which seemed out of place. Kainga has many interesting old cottages and houses of character.

House at Kainga

Maori used the area near the present day reserve as a food gathering site and the name is believed to derive from Te Rau-a-Te-Kaka (the gathering of Te Kaka/the parrot). The railway line between Christchurch and Kaiapoi was opened in 1872, and Stewarts Gully became a popular holiday resort and picnic spot for the citizens of Christchurch.

Entrance to Te Rauakaaka Reserve

The path meanders pleasantly alongside the Waimakariri River, and we enjoyed the whispering of the leaves in the silver birch trees. We saw just one jet boat.

Jet boat on the river

Two men were fishing near the path. They hadn’t caught anything yet but said they sometimes get salmon, and often kahawai.

Fishers on the riverbank

When we stopped for morning tea I saw a dark body undulating in the water. Perhaps it would have been a large eel?

On returning home I did my daily Wordle, pleased to solve it on the second try. Maybe my brain had been stimulated by the fresh air.

A pleasant walk along the river
with rustling leaves
all set a-quiver

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It’s hard to find a restaurant open when you want to celebrate your birthday and the date is a public holiday. I yearn for the pre-earthquake days of the Octagon and its live music. We decided to go to Salt on the Pier at New Brighton, where we’d not been before, and it was a good choice. From the first floor the view is spectacular. You see the children’s playground, and the new hot pools/He Puna Taimoana, as well as sea and surf. There was a kaleidoscope of people on the nearby promenade and flocks of seagulls soaring in the air.

It’s just as well there was plenty to observe and comment on, because the service was slow. Perhaps they have difficulty recruiting sufficient staff in these uncertain times? The menu was a standard one and I was happy to have the Catch of the Day which was John Dory. I forgot to ask the busy waiter to take our photo, so attempted a selfie – not very successfully – and never thought to snap the view outside which might have made a more attractive illustration.

Selfie @ Salt on the Pier

We didn’t bother to wait for dessert, but went home and savoured some birthday chocolates – Marich Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels, most enjoyable!

‘Twas good to eat at somewhere new
which had a magnificent view

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Seeking somewhere different to go for morning tea we decided on The Tannery. It’s well over a year since we’ve been there, and it is definitely the most elegant shopping area in Christchurch. Just after 10am there were plenty of car parks available, with several chargers for electric vehicles, and most of the shops were open, despite the holidays. Many of them had signs saying Vaccine Passes not required, but I was surprised to find a couple of retail stores that did require passes. These were places where I might have browsed, but couldn’t be bothered when I needed to show a pass as well as sign in. The only thing I bought was a card at Cosi Fan Tutte.

We chose to stop at Penny Black Victorian Tearoom. It took a while for our order to arrive because staff were being careful to sanitise between each service, but we were happy to sit in the atrium and watch the passers-by.

Penny Black Victorian Tearoom

I chose to have a scone, which was served warm with a small jar of jam and a dish of cream – absolutely delicious. I was pleased to be asked whether I wanted cream and marshmallows on my hot chocolate, which I declined, and it was very good without these.

This place is ideal, for the ambience and the food, and we will go there again.

We really relished Penny Black
and are most likely to go back

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Despite the drizzly weather Christine and I sallied forth to do the Bishopdale and Papanui Walk. We started at Bishopdale Park, behind the Mall, and headed south-east along various streets until we reached Edgar Macintosh Park. This was developed in the early 1960s and named after Edgar Hika Macintosh who was the City Surveyor from 1942, because of his work in negotiating recreational reserve contributions from the large subdivisions done during his time. Surrounded by trees, the park is the home of the Marist Albion Rugby Club and has a well-equipped children’s playground with paddling pool.

Playground at Edgar Macintosh Park
Avenue of trees at the park

Here we took the “wrong” sealed path which led to our re-tracing our steps and eschewing the part of the walk which goes through St James’ Park.

Papanui was the original Māori name for the Bishopdale and Papanui district and is the Māori word for a platform in a tree from which birds are snared. This name comes from the time when the area was covered by a large stand of forest, dominated by totara, matai, kahikatea, and kanuka, similar to the smaller stand of bush that now remains in Riccarton.

The streets and houses we passed were mainly well-presented, with established trees and singing birds, but there was little character to inspire me to take a photograph. The small pocket reserves found in other areas were lacking here, and we ended up having our morning snack in a bus shelter on Harewood Road.

We had intended to visit the Bishopdale Library, but by the time we got back to the Mall we were weary and couldn’t be bothered going through the hassle of donning masks and showing vaccine passes.

We did not finish all the trail
round Papanui and Bishopdale

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Christine and I chose this walk from the Christchurch City Council’s Walk Christchurch book. This has 60 short walks, and was published in 1998. Despite earthquake disruption the instructions are still good.

We started at Redwood Park and walked past Northcote School where one of the buildings definitely needs to have its spouting cleaned.

Green spouting

The walk took us all around the area, and through several small reserves, many with lovely trees.

Relaxed cat at Sisson Park

Many of the houses we passed obviously were state houses, and the gardens had varying amounts of attention. Some were beautifully planted and tended, while others looked sadly neglected. Further on, the homes were newer. One even had an owl, symbol of Athena, on the gatepost.

Owl on gatepost

We wondered why this pine cone was hanging from a tree, and Christine suggested it may serve as a bird feeder.

Bird feeder?

It was good to visit unfamiliar streets and see a different suburb.

We do enjoy our monthly walk
a time for exercise and talk

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An errand took us out early on Friday morning and we decided to have breakfast in Fendalton Village. It’s no wonder Fendalton is often referred to as a leafy suburb. The mature trees there are magnificent, especially at this time of year.

We went to Crisp Café which opens at 7am on weekdays. This is somewhere I often lunched after writing classes at Fendalton Library. They also sell gifts and specialist groceries with a focus on catering for keto diets. My poached eggs on toast with mushrooms was fine, but the fact the plates weren’t heated meant the food cooled quickly.

Crisp Café and Gifts

As our weekly shopping list was short we thought we’d just go to the adjacent Super Value Supermarket. We were disappointed that they had neither a cauliflower nor paleo bread. so we ended up going to New World on our way home to procure these. Super Value did have the Kapiti Boysenberry mini-ice-creams which are our treat of choice and which are not stocked at New World Durham Street (although I haven’t requested them there, and could). I also sought Twinings Earl Grey tea leaves which are now a deleted line at New World, but Super Value didn’t have them either. I may have to request a special shipment from a U.K. daughter, or maybe I’ll consider switching to green tea.

Some things we sought were just not there
and so we had to go elsewhere

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Today’s walk started at Mona Vale, and Christine and I agreed to meet at the car park there. Since I last visited a new and larger car park has been opened with a gateway through to the garden.

Entrance to Mona Vale

The flower beds are looking magnificent, all carefully tended by staff from the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Mona Vale flowerbed

Along the path towards Fendalton Road is a memorial to Alastair MacLeod.

Alastair MacLeod Memorial

It is an Armillary Sphere where the shadow of the central staff is supposed to indicate the time. Not today, because the weather was cloudy.

Further along we crossed Waimairi Stream where one householder has a rowboat moored.

Boat on Waimairi Stream

We walked up Royds Street to Straven Road, then along Weka and Tui Streets, past Christchurch Boys’ High School and many impressive houses, into the grounds of the magnificently restored Riccarton House (former home of the Deans family).

Riccarton House

On the riverbank we were delighted to meet two families of Paradise ducklings, the first with eight stripey babies.

Paradise ducklings

At the Kahu Road exit we saw a large oak tree which was planted by Jane Deans in 1897 to mark the site of the first house on the Canterbury Plains built by William and John Deans in 1843.

Jane Deans’ Oak

Matai Street West led us past the Britten Stables, currently for sale, across the railway line, and back to the Mona Vale car park. This easy walk took us and hour and a half, and we could have spent longer if we’d explored Riccarton Bush, the only podocarp forest remaining in Christchurch – perhaps another time.

Exquisite gardens on the way
enhanced our city walk today

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