Trevor on the porch 2

We arrived at our accommodations in Christchurch soon after lunch and found it to be beautiful.

Trevor on the porch 2Trevor on the porch of our unit

It seems quite strange to be writing about the beautiful city of Christchurch so soon after there had been such awful pain poured out in a mass shooting, but when we were there the only sadness was the remnants of the earthquake of 22 February 2011. There was still a lot of rebuilding and repairs taking place with the city dominated by cranes.

As soon as we had settled in we drove into town passed a shop which had a large brass statue of a giraffe and at a circle at in the street we were in there was a beautiful clock on a high base of local stone. It had been restored post the earthquake. We turned right at the circle and found the Botanic Gardens which were breath-taking. There was a large parking lot where one could park for up to 3 hours without paying. The Gardens are extremely wheelchair and pram friendly with   wide and smooth paths and there are plenty of benches for those who need a break from walking.

clock tower 3Restored clock tower

Giraffe statueStatue of a giraffe

On one side of the parking area is a tennis club, cricket club, picnic areas and cycle paths. It was a very busy place when we walked past. One entered the Gardens by crossing a small stream which is part of a loop of the Avon River on which a number of ducks were swimming. In the middle of the stream was sculptured staircase leading to nowhere. Not surprisingly it was called Jacob’s Ladder.

Botanic gardens stream 2Strream between the Botanic Gardens and the parking lot

Botanic gardens steps sculpture in stream‘Jacob’s Ladder’ sculpture

The first area we came to was a beautifully laid out and equipped area for children to play. As we walked around the Gardens we found them to be laid out in a well organised manner, in some places it was by country and others by plant type. Although it was geometrically organised with what may have seemed to be militaryprecision, it in no way reduced the tranquillity of the place. The Rose Garden was spectacular.

Botanic gardens Rose GardenEntrance to the Rose Garden taken from the far end

Botanic gardens Irises and a lovely bridgeSo peaceful. Irises in front of a pretty little bridge

One of the most interesting things we saw was a tree with twisted roots which resulted in the trunk being twisted as well. While on our trip we saw many trees which grew in some of the strangest ways. We were fascinated at how nature adapts and develops itself.

Botanic gardens interesting tree rootsTwisted roots and trunk

There was a large conservatory comprising 3 houses each with a special collection. The first one we noticed was Cunningham (my maiden name) House, a large Victorian glasshouse with a collection of tropical plants. Townsend House had gorgeous flowering plants.  The third house, Garrick House, housed a huge cacti collection and had an annex, Gilpin House, which had an orchid collection.

Botanic gardens Cunningham HouseEntrance to Cunningham House

The Visitor Centre was enormous including a restaurant, a gift shop, a reading area and an interactive display section which  was showing a variety of unusual leaves. It gave an interesting and educational write-up beside each display.

Botanic gardens visitor centrejpgThe Visitors’ Centre

Botanic gardens visitor centre ceilingPretty ceiling of the shop in the Visitors’ Centre

As our first visit to the Gardens was limited by time constraints we agreed that we had to return the next day. The Gardens cover an area of 50 acres and so can never be seen and appreciated in just 3 hours.