Archive for the ‘Christchurch – wider’ Category

Horses on the beach

Actually they were trotting sulkies we saw on our beach walk this morning.  The rain threatened but kept away for the duration.  The sun shone and even felt warm at times, although the southerly also made its presence felt.  Hats and gloves were needed for walkers, but the horses were warmed by their exercise.  It’s months since we’ve seen horses on the beach.  I guess it depends on the tides.  Today the high tide was well past and there was plenty of firm sand to walk or trot on.

They trotted past us at a pace
enjoying their shoreline race

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Christine and I chose the beginning of winter’s first icy blast for our regular walk.  The forecast was for showers and strong cold southerlies, but we bravely donned our parkas and set off on the St Martins River Loop Walk.

Cute letterbox in Bunyan Street

My City Council Walk Christchurch book was published in 1998, we’ve had thousands of earthquakes since then, and some of the maps in the book are unclear, with unlabelled roads.  We were fine until we went through the Cameron Reserve with its stream and native tree plantings.


Cameron Reserve

Ruth at Cameron Reserve (taken by Christine)

The book suggested this would lead us to Hume Street, but we ended up on Huxley, and walked along streets, instead of beside the river.  Back on track by Wilsons Road, the rain was getting heavier, so we detoured for a hot drink at the cafe beside the St Martins supermarket.  While I was carrying a flask of tea, there’d been nowhere dry to sit along our way.  We finished up back at Waltham Park, very glad of a warm car and a quick trip home to change our wet trousers.

We did not let the rain deter
us from our scheduled walk à deux.

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I was introduced to a lovely new walk along the Styx River Catchment Restoration Project.  This project was led by Christine Heremaia, a landscape architect with the Christchurch City Council, who died in 2014.   There is a seat and plaque honouring her memory and legacy near the beginning of the walk.

Ruth near the beginning of the track (photo taken by Christine)

The walk starts from 303 Radcliffe Road, next door to Zealandia Horticulture Ltd, who had a spectacular fire burning while we were there.  They’d chosen a good day for this with no wind.  There are interesting old farm buildings in the area, among eight hectares of native forest and riparian restoration.  This is where the Puharakekenui/Styx River meets the Kaputone Stream and the Radcliffe Road Drain Diversion.  Planting and monitoring is done under the auspices of the Styx Living Laboratory Trust.   Bird life is prolific, and we saw several juvenile black swans.  The gravel paths make for easy walking and would be suitable for all levels of fitness.

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The Maori name for the Styx River is Puharakekenui, which means heaps of large flax.  Definitely an area worth visiting.

For fresh air and a rural fix
just try this path along the Styx



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This morning we decided to walk around the Woolston River Loop and Cut.  My (pre-earthquakes) walk book suggested this might best be done on a weekend when Woolston’s famous industrial ‘smell’ is diminished, but in fact the smell has all but disappeared, and there was no factory noise.  It wasn’t easy to find the suggested parking spot.  Some of the roads may have changed since the earthquake.

We started along the Cut which was built in 1986 to allow flood waters to bypass a long loop of the Heathcote River.  The Woolston Tidal Barrage is opened in time of floods.

Woolston Barrage

The good sealed path leads to Radley Park which has a children’s playground and a dog agility area..  A lone pukeko strode beside the water.

Reflective pukeko

In Radley Park the Roimata Food Commons Trust is working to establish an edible garden.

Site for community garden

I’m not sure about the meaning of this mural on the riverbank.

Run, run, run mural

We met more pukeko foraging in the flax.

Pukeko in the flax

A detour took us to Woolston Cemetery, a peaceful spot to sit and enjoy morning tea, then back around the curve of the river.  We were lucky the weather today was mild, with no rain.

‘Twas good to have some decent weather
to walk along the path together

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Christine and I chose a path along Christchurch’s other river, the Heathcote.  (It was a walk rather than a hike, but I wanted the alliteration.)  We started at the Old Stone House in Shalimar Drive, which has now been restored to its pre-earthquake splendour.

Old Stone House

Our path led along the Cashmere Stream, through Worsley’s Reserve, full of beautiful tall trees.

Worsley’s Reserve

A couple of friendly fantails accompanied us, but wouldn’t stay still when I was photographing them.  Luckily Christine managed to get a good photo:


Christine’s Fantail Photo

We crossed Smarts Bridge, explored Ashgrove Reserve, then headed east along the river, crossing again into Ernlea Reserve where we found the spot at Lotus Spa where people can obtain pure fresh artesian water, with no hint of chlorine.

Lotus Spa Water

This used to be free, but you now have to pay 40 cents a litre.

One of the trees in the Ernlea Reserve has foil wrapped around its trunk.  I presume this is to deter possums.

Possum protection

As we returned on the south side of the river we came across a popup stall selling spicy sauces.

Spicy Boys on Cashmere Road

A perfect day to take a walk
for exercise and friendly talk



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With the sun shining, a drive out of town appealed and we headed to Tai Tapu.  There’s an excellent cafe and store there where we planned to have brunch.  The first thing to catch our eye was this domestic goddess at the door.

Domestic Goddess

Next we saw a table with two dozen women, many wearing sparkly pink hats.  I thought at first they might be Red Hatters, then realised they were there for a Pink Ribbon Breakfast, in aid of the Breast Cancer Foundation.  The Store @ Tai Tapu, which has supported this cause for several years, had really entered into the swing of things.  They even had a chocolate log in the cabinet which was decorated with edible pink ribbons.  Some staff wore mouseketeer-type pink ears, and the man behind the counter had bright pink glasses and a pink bow tie.

Pink decorations at The Store

There was a raffle and a ‘count the pink jellybeans in the jar’ competition to raise funds, which I was pleased to contribute to.

We chose an outside table in the sheltered courtyard where there were a large number of Middle Aged Men in Lycra (actually mainly older men in lycra, the average age of this group is 72), with bicycles parked all around.  They meet here every Wednesday, some cycling considerable distances.  They’ve been doing this for years, and in the corner there was a statue in memory of Ross Bush, a devoted cyclist, who died on 22 February 2011, when his car was crushed by falling debris during the earthquake.

In memory of Ross Bush

Stephen chose eggs on toast with bacon , and I would have had something similar until I turned the menu page and discovered they serve mushroom crêpes.  Both our meals were excellent, the crêpes a generous serving which meant I didn’t need a hot chocolate afterwards.

Our brunch at The Store (with pink napkins)

The Store is obviously popular, and well worth a visit.

At Tai Tapu there is a Store
which serves a scrumptious meal and more.

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Garden flowers are fading, and I wanted some potted colour for indoors.  At Mitre 10 I found cyclamen, three for $13.50, and also bought a Sweet William to fill a blank corner.

At the checkout they had shopping bags that said: I just came in to get some compost.  I didn’t need another bag, but love the truth of the slogan as I rarely come out of this shop with only what I came for.

Outside was another sign that resonated:

While we need to be kind to our Aussie neighbours, I think this is clever marketing.

A local firm is what I choose
so Bunnings is the one to lose.


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