We all have a wish list, and a trip on the Christchurch gondola was on mine for this current trip. It had been many years since we last had a ride, and in the meantime the gondola was closed for two years after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes. But it has been up and running now for some time, and the summit complex has since been revamped since the 2011 earthquake.
We paid our money and bought our tickets – sadly no discounts for seniors. Climbing aboard into that swinging capsule, we were soon on our way, soaring high. Up, up, up we went, skimming the steep rocky cliffs of Mt Cavendish, and looking down on wonderful views over Christchurch.
All aboard the gondola
The Christchurch gondola was opened in 1992, and carries passengers over a horizontal length of 862m to the summit. The cableway was made in Austria, and the cabins were constructed in Switzerland. A sign on the inside of the window offers this reassurance to passengers as the gondola stops every now and then, and sways on the cable.
Safely at the summit
The viewing platform gives 360deg views of the city, Lyttlelton Harbour, the Canterbury Plains and across to the Southern Alps. The day was a little hazy, but even so, the views were still amazing.
Views from the platform.
After lunch in the Red Rock Café, (lamb pie for him, corn fritters for her, followed by coffee) we followed the other patrons down the steps to an open area where everyone seemed to be taking selfies at the cliff edge.
More views from the top
The Time Tunnel Experience is something new, and we boarded little electric carts and got whisked away back into history. The area had a fiery birth through volcanic activity, then we were taken through pristine forests inhabited only by native birds. The Maori people arrived, followed by the early settlers, both on perilous journeys across the sea. The time tunnel experience then told of the early days of Christchurch, and famous inhabitants, such as Richie McCaw, Richard Hadlee, Hayley Westerner. Although the journey was only 5 minutes or so long, it was very well done indeed.
Then it was time to board the cabin for our downwards journey. Here we go – going down!