Originally Published in Expat Living Singapore, March 2014
Published on www.expatliving.hk on 19/03/2014
I now consider myself to have entered the ranks of adventure travellers. Not because I went to New Zealand to bungee jump or sky dive, but because a 12-day self-drive holiday with 20-month-old twins is nothing short of an adventure. In fact, skydiving is probably easier than spending five hours in a car with two toddlers.
This was our second family vacation (the first, to Japan, was when the children were 14 months old, but that’s a story for another day), so we had no illusions about being able to see or do very much. Our goal was to take in the scenery and landscape of one of the most beautiful places in the world, leaving the adventure and activities for when the kids are older.
After researching on TripAdvisor forums, we planned our itinerary: we would fly from Singapore to Christchurch, then drive to Queenstown, stopping en-route at Lake Tekapo, Aoraki and Mount Cook, and Wanaka.
Friendly Kiwis and beautiful weather greeted us in Christchurch. The city is still reeling from the effects of the massive February 2011 earthquake. Cathedral Square was particularly hard hit; the 131-year-old, neo-Gothic Christchurch Cathedral had to be demolished. A transitional “Cardboard Cathedral” opened to the public in the second half of last year.
A trip to the Botanic Gardens (within Hagley Park) is a must for those with children. The twins loved running around on the open grounds, and were overjoyed to see ducks and birds everywhere.
We also took a trip to the Re:START mall, which marked a kick-start to the regeneration of the devastated city centre and has been built using shipping containers. Definitely worth a visit, and perhaps lunch inside one of the containers! continue reading