Here are photos of Christchurch Cathedral.
Okay, okay, that’s not the Christchurch Cathedral in Christchurch. It’s the Christchurch Cathedral in Nelson. We had to go all the way to Nelson in order to see Christchurch Cathedral intact. Because Christchurch Cathedral in Christchurch got decimated in the February earthquake, and I haven't even been able to get close enough to get a photo.
This cathedral construction started in 1925, and by the time it was completed in full art-deco style (40 years later), it was out of fashion. The grounds on Cathedral Hill have some great examples of old native trees and other native (or not-so-native) plants.
|A giant gum tree. Note Chris and the girls at the base.|
|I have no idea what this flower is, but it's pretty.|
Nelson itself is the gateway to adventure for the north part of the South Island. It has three national parks in close proximity, is adjacent to the Marlboro wine region, and (most importantly for Chris) has quite a collection of craft breweries in town. It also is one of the sunniest regions in New Zealand and sports a Mediterranean climate, despite being so close to snow.
|Nelson's South Street - an area maintained in the style of an 1860's worker's village.|
One of the major sites in Nelson is the Nelson Provincial Museum. It has a great collection of Maori and other cultural relics. While we were there, they were doing a rugby exhibit called Hard on the Heels. Given the name of the exhibit, I found it quite funny that the front door had a restriction on wearing stillettos..
|Sign for Exhibit at Nelson Historical Museum|
|Sign prohibiting high heels at the exhibit. It must live up to its name.|
While in Nelson, we stayed at a place called the Arcadia motel. It deserves mentioning because it was so far above expectations. It’s a small, 1950’s construction motel on an out-of-the-way street with reasonable prices. But the out-of-the-way street is a short walk to the Tahunanui beach park, several good cafes, and a great pub. In the summer, you couldn’t ask for a better location.
|Sarah on the beach at Nelson.|
The owner of the Arcadia motel is a British former financial advisor who has spent his entire career travelling through Asia and Europe. He and his wife wanted to settle in New Zealand and in order to obtain residency needed to start or buy a business. They became motel-keepers. So, he has a theory that he should run a hotel in which he would want his family to stay.
So, the beds were good. The rooms were clean and updated. And we felt more like we were his houseguests who happened to be paying for a room than that we were staying in a hotel.
All this was great – but not the reason why my kids wanted to spend all our Nelson time there. He also has two children – girls – exactly the same ages as Sarah and Anna. The minute we arrived, his girls were outside our door playing with our girls.
Our girls were sold.
We only had two days in Nelson, and it just wasn’t long enough. With everything there, I think it would be my first pick for where to live if I was to emigrate to New Zealand.
But don’t worry, that’s not happening anytime soon. In three weeks we are scheduled to get on an airplane back to Austin. I’m not going to jinx it by saying anything else about it, given my previous flying experiences on this trip.