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Day 9 : Sunday 13th March 2005

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We had only one day in Christchurch, which we hoped would give us a good chance to see as much of the city as possible.

We firstly visited the Cathedral Square again via the beautiful Avon river, this time following the bend round a bit further and noticing a few things we had missed the night before (a monument to fire-fighters made out of WTC girders, the Baptist Church and a stunning fountain outside the City Hall). We had a lovely breakfast of bagels and coffee on the central square, admiring the Cathedral and a very large vase-like monument in the square. We briefly visited the Cathedral but it was quite small, so we didn't stop long.

We decided to head out of town and up to the Gondola, which is situated about 15 mins drive outside the city centre. It looked like an interesting diversion for an hour or two. Luckily a shuttle bus was due to go up there soon and a return was a very reasonable $5.

The gondola takes about 10 mins to ride up to the top of Mt Cavendish, which at 500m offers great views over Lyttleton harbour (the main shipping port for Christchurch) and also back over Christchurch itself, although this is somewhat in the distance. There is a 30 min walk, which goes to a nice lookout point, which is downhill all the way, until its time to come back of course .

Upon returning to the city centre, we took a walk to the Botanic Gardens, which are some of the nicest I have seen. The beautiful river Avon winds through the gardens, and there are different sections within the garden for particular species and areas of the world. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed a leisurely stroll in the sunshine. We headed back via a small market to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for dinner.

We had already spotted our dinner venue earlier in the day. Dux de Lux is a vegetarian and fish restaurant (aquatarian apparently!) and as my friend is a veggie, it made a perfect option, backed up by a good review in Lonely Planet. Despite the frantic ordering system at the bar, I managed to convert to vegetarianism for the evening and had an absolutely delicious and plentiful vegetarian curry . Maybe there is something to this avoiding meat malarkey!

City Centre, including Cook and Scott statues

Gondola and Lyttleton Harbour

Botanic Gardens