Castle Hill

It was fairly dismal weather last weekend but we decided to jump in the car and drive out west to see the famous Castle Hill rock formations. It’s roughly an hour’s drive from Christchurch but it took us a little longer as we kept stopping to take in the beautiful scenery.

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Castle Hill is a large collection of huge limestone boulders scattered across the hillsides. It attracts climbers and hikers from all over the world and it’s not hard to see why.

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Even on a cloudy, winter’s day, it’s a stunning place to visit and as soon as our rock shoes arrive we’ll be grabbing a crash mat and heading back out there to enjoy it properly.

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If the scenery looks a little familiar it’s probably because this area was used to film parts of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie.

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This is a really lovely place to visit and I’m looking forward to bouldering there in the warmer months.

In other news, we finally managed to ditch the rental cars and buy a car of our own this week. We’re now the proud owners of this lovely lady who we’ve named ‘Mr Kaplan’ – and if this makes no sense to you then I can thoroughly recommend watching The Blacklist!

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I also noticed this week that there is a new cafe opening in Christchurch – a cat cafe!

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We had one of these in Den Haag and I loved it so I can’t wait to go try this one out soon.

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely week ahead!

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Trail Running & Sumner Bay

Last weekend started out with more glorious sunny weather so Adam managed to persuade me to try a trail run. As a road runner, I was a little nervous about the thought of running up and down hills but we headed up to the beautiful Godley Head area and ran around the head land. I have to admit that I absolutely loved it and now consider myself a convert!

 

A few nights after the trail run, I joined Port Hills Athletics Club for one of their training sessions  and really enjoyed that as well. In October there’s a local trail run called the Boulder Bay Dash so I think I’ll sign up for that and see how I fare.

We also spent some time exploring Sumner Bay and what a stunning place it is! So close to Christchurch city and yet you feel like you’ve travelled far away to a little holiday town.

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The beach is clean and vast with room for families and surfers alike. You can see the alps in the distance and there are various cafes, eateries and little gardens nearby.

There’s sand and rock pools aplenty and they also have the fabulous Cave Rock which is good fun to explore.

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We only did a passing visit today but will definitely spend a day or two here in the summer months.

Back at home the kitties continue to settle into their new country well. They love being able to go outside but are a little scared of the other local cats and tend to run away to watch them from the safety of indoors. They’re also getting a little too comfortable with sitting on our bar stools and have to be escorted away when it’s take away time!

 

New Zealand Air Force Museum

Last Sunday turned out rainy and cold so we decided to visit the Air Force Museum which is located on the outskirts of Christchurch.

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This museum is completely free of charge which is brilliant considering the high quality range of exhibitions on offer.

As expected, there were lots of aeroplanes to view, many of them having been fully restored and some still going through the process. In addition to this, there were a few cockpits to be sat in and even a flight simulator game to enjoy.

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Away from the larger show areas which housed the aeroplanes, there were a few other museum exhibitions which were fascinating to look at and read about. Many aspects were interactive or contained short video presentations, activities or games.

My favourite exhibition was the one called ‘Captured’ which followed the journey of prisoners of war held in Europe.

 

They also have visiting presentations and I’m looking forward to going back to explore the Anne Frank exhibition when it arrives from Amsterdam later this month.

 

After visiting the Air Force Museum, we went round the corner to Wigram Base, an historic building built in 1938 as an Air Force Base. It is now used as a venue for various events and has a rather nice bar which was perfect for a post-museum drink!

First Trip Outside for Kitties!

We awoke to a rather sunny and inviting looking garden this morning and decided that we would trial letting the kitties outside for the first time.

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Bella and Esme are three years old now and have never really been outside. In The Hague we lived on a busy junction so it was never possible for them to go out, well, unless you count our metre square balcony which they sometimes sat on.

We opened our patio doors this morning and watched them enjoy!

At first hesitant and then very silly and excited – they clearly loved being in their new garden!

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This first trip outside was about 5 minutes (mainly because I’m scared of them running across the road and getting lost!). We plan to take them outside regularly until they are used to it – and used to coming back home!

I was really nervous about putting the cats through the stress of importation but am so glad I did. They are loving their new big house and will definitely love the great outdoors too.

Taylors Mistake Hike

Despite being the middle of winter, today’s weather would rival any summer day, so we decided to make the most of the 20 degree heat and head out for a coastal hike.

We drove out to a place known as Taylors Mistake which is a small bay in the south-east of Christchurch. It was apparently named some 200 years ago after a ship’s captain (Mr Taylor) accidentally mistook it for Lyttelton Harbour.

The coastal walk leading up from the bay is beautifully scenic.

The hike leads out to the breathtaking Godley Head which was a coastal defence site during the second world war. The gun emplacements and military buildings are still in place and were very interesting to explore.

The circular route is an easy hike and took us about three hours to complete. A perfect hike on a gorgeous day!

More Exploring

We’ve now been living in Christchurch, New Zealand for approximately three weeks and are quickly falling in love with the place. The range of shops and food is excellent, we see the snow-capped alps in the distance on a daily basis and we can explore the lovely Port Hills really easily at the weekends as they’re so close.

Last weekend we hiked the Valley Track. This is a pretty track, running alongside a small stream, interspersed with little waterfalls along the way.

At the top we saw an attractive looking outcrop that looked perfect for a picnic so decided to hike up that as well. It was a place called Witch Hill Reserve and the views were stunning!

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On the way down we took a route known as the Farm Track which is a shared pathway for both walkers and bikers. It is another, lovely, grass-covered path which had wonderful views of Christchurch city in the distance.

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Tomorrow we plan to explore the far eastern section of the hills starting at a spot called Taylors Mistake.

In other news, my lovely kitty-cats are settling into their new home really well and are back to their old tricks already. Esme refuses to drink from her water bowl and will only drink from the tap whilst Bella has been enjoying sleeping with her teddy bear and watching TV.

As soon as they’re a little more settled we’ll be letting them out to explore the great outdoors!

Exploring the Port Hills

After an epic 35 hour journey, we arrived in Christchurch safe and well, and were delighted with an immediate view of the alps as we stepped off the plane.

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Since then we’ve had an endless list of jobs to get done and have spent the week sorting phone and internet contracts, opening bank accounts, buying necessary items (bed, fridge, plates etc) and generally getting the house set up and habitable. It’s been fun but we’ve been itching to get out and really explore the local area.

Today the weather improved (it’s been freezing cold and raining all week) so we headed out to explore the Port Hills area of Christchurch. We weren’t disappointed!

The views were stunning and once we got above the low-level clouds we could even see the alps in the distance.

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Today we hiked up the Bowenvale Valley Track which was sodden after all the recent rain but beautiful and well worth the muddy clothes. At the top we walked a little way along Summit Road and took in more glorious views. On a clear day you can see the ocean below but today it was just a sea of clouds!

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From here we followed a path known as Cedric’s Track and found an awesome cafe called Sign of The Kiwi nestled amongst the hills.

We enjoyed a couple of coffees and some cake there before heading down a different path through a stunning forest.

Today we explored a handful of the 50+ trails that are scattered across the Port Hills. Can’t wait to go back and see some more next week!