This is the town of South New Brighton…which along with New Brighton and North New Brighton…is really part of Christchurch itself. These towns used to be separated from Christchurch by a swampy area but it’s been filled in and developed. South New Brighton is located on a narrow peninsula between Pegasus Bay and the Avon Heathcote Estuary. Bird watching, especially for the Bar and Black Tailed Godwit migration, is big here. There is also a 900 ft. pier that attracts a lot of visitors…
This is the view across the Avon Heathcote Estuary toward Godley Head. The cliffs here are almost 400 feet above the sea. A WWII coastal defense battery was built in 1939 and, until the 2011 earthquake it was a popular spot to visit. It and the adjacent tracks/walking trails were damaged and are now closed to the public. The fort was intended to defend access to both Christchurch and Lyttelton Harbor.
This is a view of Lyttelton Harbor from the crest of Port Hills. The hills overlooking the harbor and separating Lyttleton from Christchurch are really the side of an ancient steep sided volcanic crater. Lyttelton is considered a suburb of Christchurch and it has a population of a little over 3,000.
This view was just across the road from the previous photo…looking back toward Christchurch. Looking down, you can see where the Port Hill Tunnel goes through toward Lyttelton. You can see the Pacific Ocean at the upper right corner of the photo and you can just make out the peninsula where New South Brighton is located.
This is a close up view of Lyttelton and its harbor. Since I’m really into ships, trains, planes and automobiles…I had to go and have a look at the ships in the harbor. Lyttelton is a major destination for cruise ships as well as 34% of the South Island’s exports and 61% of the imports. The 1st telegraph message in New Zealand was sent from Lyttelton in 1862. Unfortunately, much of the architectural history of the town was lost due to major damage from the 2011 earthquakes.
Just a little south of Christchurch and Lyttelton, we decided to explore the Banks Peninsula. It’s of volcanic origin and it covers an area of 440 sq. miles. There are 2 large harbors and a plethora of small bays and harbors. It is very beautiful indeed!
The Maori still refer to the Banks Peninsula as Te Pataka o Rakaihautu. Rakaihautu was their leader who first came to this place and the name roughly translates to ‘the great storehouse of Rakaihautu’. The great storehouse related to the abundance of mahinga hai…foods of forests, sea, rivers and skies.
This is the little town of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. (Population – 500+) In the summer time, the population of this little resort village swells into the thousands… The town was founded in 1840 and the peninsula as a whole was the center of a major whaling industry. The area was settled by British, German and French immigrants and influence of each group is still reflected in the area. One of the most popular tourist activities is the swimming with the Dolphins boat tours.
Note the name of the Café…Akaroa’s Crater Café. Also…we really loved the trees you can see further on down the street.
I included this aerial view of the Banks Peninsula to provide some geographical perspective. The deep bay at the top is Lyttelton Harbor…with Lyttelton on the north side of the bay and Christchurch just north of that. Akaroa is located on the east or right hand side of the big bay on the south side of the peninsula. Both bays were formed from ancient volcanos. As you can see, the topography of the Banks Peninsula is quite rugged…and that adds greatly to the beauty of the area.
This photo that Laurie took as we drove across the Banks Peninsula is a harbinger of things to come…lots of sheep…beautiful countryside…not a lot of people.
Although the 2011 earthquakes may cause some people to hesitate to visit the area, it’s all about the odds isn’t it! I/we’ve been to Los Angeles and San Francisco many times…plus Christchurch…and the only earthquake we’ve ever experienced was in St. Louis Missouri! Timing is everything and the odds are in your favor as you visit this beautiful part of the world…
Just click on any of these photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for following along with our photo travelogue!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave