Today someone suggested I go see Diamond Bay while I am in Christchurch so I walked to the bus station to catch the correct bus to get me to the ferry. I have been on a few buses since arriving and should have gotten a Metro Card because it provides you with discounted fares. The trouble is, it takes a wee bit of investigation to figure out how to buy a Metro Card. Therefore, I have been paying full price for the bus but it still cheaper than the huge amounts the taxis charge here. About the bus discount cards, we use "Snapper" cards in Wellington and those are available in many retail outlets so it's easy to start saving money on buses in Wellington! I can see now that I could have actually gotten a metro card yesterday while visiting the information desk at the bus station, or on my arrival from the airport into this bus station but I never got one and now it is a bit too late since I am leaving soon!
As an addendum to this post about the metro card, I did manage to purchase one on my way out of town in anticipation of my next visit. With this card, the bus fare from the airport into town will be $2.10 instead of $8.00 from the airport bus stop as one example of a good savings. I completed a brief application and they collected ID from me. It only took less than a minute, but for some reason, the person behind the information desk was afraid I might not have enough time to apply for the card with my bus five minutes away from arrival. The application simply asks for your name, address, and phone number along with an email address. It costs $5.00 for some sort of mini metro card but I was charged $10.00 for the larger metro card without being asked which one I would prefer. I just assumed I would be given the less expensive one since the information desk person knew I would be visiting infrequently so that transaction left me with a little bit of question mark in my head.
This station is very elaborately organized (says a person who has not been in a bus station in 30 years). It is set up by platform and door numbers. Once you know what platform you need to go to (A, B, C, or D) you just listen for your door number to be called as the bus pulls in. There is an electronic sign that indicates each route and its estimated time of arrival. The station is very attractive and modern the Route 28 but to Lyttelton is the bus to the ferry. It did a pull in and turnaround up the hill at the gondola but nobody got off so I am not sure what that's about but I guess that's how the route works.
This is the beautiful Diamond Harbour Ferry Boat. It runs on a pretty regular schedule because people use it to commute from Christchurch to Lyttelton (its destination). You can use a metro card (if you have one) for a discounted rate so it appears to be part of the public transport system here.
Once I got on the ferry, I savored the sun and warm breeze and stood outside while many sat down inside. I took a took a bunch of selfies while the boat was was moving steadily in the beautiful water!
My new friend Rachel who you will see later in this post took this picture of me. I was in a great mood because my day started out "not so great" and I really needed to turn it around and this ferry ride did the trick!
When I got off the boat there were some kids in the water and they tried to get their dog to join them. The poor little guy really tried hard but he was too scared.
This was the view of Christchurch as the ferry pulled away. I am not sure what those white tanks are use for though.
Here is the tranquil view of boats on the bay. "Boats on Bay" is one of my favorite scenes.
Here is another one of my favorite types of pictures "Peeking Through Trees"
After I walked up a whole bunch of steps, I cam upon ....
...this fascinating piece. I was so hot I could not think clearly but in hindsight, I should have turned out the panoramic feature so I could see the 360 in the photo. I think there is a child on the side but it's pretty unclear in the picture.
This is the other side. I took this picture fast on my way back to the ferry so it's not so good.
This post is getting a bit too long for me to manage so I will cut to the ending. On the ferry ride back to ChristChurch, my new friend Rachel and I continued to chat and at the end, she offered to drive me back to the Jail Accommodation , where I was staying.
I immediately jumped at the offer and as she bid farewell to a friend she was on an outing with, we proceeded to drive all around town and she brought me to more views and sights! She even brought me to her mother's house so I could use the facilities! While there, her mom recalled the events of the big earthquake and she showed me where she was standing, which is an easy to find place since there is gaping crack in the concrete in that very same spot! She had been standing right there--right where that crack was --before she fell down into bushes.
We went back out on the road after the pit stop at mom's and I saw some more interesting sites like the Sign of the Kiwi. Here is a link to some primary source photos on how this landmark was used in the past!
Next we saw this pop up party place in the spot of what I imagine used to be a structure. How nice that people repurpose the available space! I guess someone decided to bring the furniture for small gatherings?
And then there was the heartbreaking, gut wrenching Chair Memorial (shown below) from the big earthquake that took 185 lives. There is one chair for each person lost. The car carrier and high chair will move you to tears. It is uncertain if the chairs will remain indefinitely as another memorial is being constructed elsewhere.
The names of all those who were lost in the Feb 22, 2011 are posted on a board near the chair memorial. Today is the five year anniversary of the quake (I am editing on Feb 22nd)-Read about the memorial events other touching displays of affection on this five year anniversary date here.
Views from Above!
My feet have been taking me on some life changing learning adventures! I am grateful to those who have invited me into their lives here in this great country, even if but only for moment or an hour! Kia kaha Christchurch!
Sue is a teacher and school librarian living in Atlanta, GA, USA. She was in NZ as a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher from Feb-June 2016.