Our day trip started with a visit to the NZMCA property at Weedons, a place we had heard of but never visited. This is situated in a huge grassed area, with plenty of room for those who tow extra large rigs. There is quite a large space set aside at the back for storage, just the place to leave your motor-home when you embark on that overseas trip, we were told. The large metal garage on site is used for get-togethers, and there is both potable water and rubbish skips available, together with several clotheslines. Arriving in our little car, we soon found a couple of friendly campers to chat to about staying in the camp.
Previously, members have been able to stay here for up to 90 days in any 180 day period. This length of stay has now been reduced to 21 nights in any 60 day period. The maximum continuous stay at Weedons Park will be 14 nights, and members must be at least 5 nights off site before returning. This is now a condition of obtaining resource consent.
Curiosity satisfied, the GPS then took us to New Brighton, just because we had never been there before. Driving in to this area, we were shocked at the amount of empty sections where houses had been severely damaged by the earthquakes and subsequently demolished. Others were standing damaged and empty to await the same fate. It seems that the coastal suburb of New Brighton was particularly affected by the earthquakes, but is still a viable place to live. The shopping area and the beach seemed full of people.
The New Brighton Pier (we didn’t know about this either before we arrived) seemed to be unharmed by seismic activity and was just begging us to walk it’s length and get some sea breezes in our hair. We were surprised to read that it was built in 1997, and had thought at first that it must be quite a new structure. At 300m in length, 6m wide and standing 7m high it is certainly a sight to see as it stretches out into the sea.
There were plenty of family groups trying their luck fishing off the end of the pier, with rods and lines. We were interested to watch as people lowered their crab nets over the side into the water, baited with fish heads, and pull them up again with several paddle crabs trapped inside. The crabs are good eating, a young Asian lady assured us. The local surfers were trying their luck too, we noticed, but the waves weren’t really high enough to give them a good run.
Our sightseeing over for the day, it was time to head back to our accommodation and get ready for the evening. After all, this is the the reason we have travelled down to Christchurch - to share in son Michael's 50th Birthday Bash.