January 09, 2008

South Island Trip (Christchurch Day 2)

Finally!  I know!

On day 3 of our trip, we were still in Christchurch. After the Aquarium the day before, we hadn't found anything else to do, so we went back to the hotel in the early evening and ordered room service. It was yummy albeit pricey.

Next day we slept in again (hey - don't judge - we're on vacation!!), and after breakfast headed back into town again. Our plan for the day was to go the Antarctic Centre near the airport. There are heaps of shuttles in Cathedral Square that go to all of the attractions around Christchurch, just to the Antarctic Centre or just to the airport. We weren't sure of the best one, so we picked the Antarctic Centre specific shuttle (it had penguins on the top of the bus!).

Sad to say, the Antarctic Centre wasn't quite worth the price of admission. The best part for me was seeing the little blue penguins (even though most of them are crippled) and for Darren, was a ride in the Hagglund.

The Centre's displays are primarily pictures of the Antarctic and lots of reading to go along with the pictures. There is also a "cold room", where they simulate a storm in the Antarctic by turning on a huge fan and cooling the room to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Those of you who lived near Darren in upstate NY or near me in Erie, PA, aren't impressed I'm sure! We weren't impressed, honestly. I'm sure it's an interesting part of the Centre for Kiwis and tourists who haven't experienced winter, though. The room was definitely cute enough:

A little slide made of real ice!

A little cave to shelter from the storm.

After the "storm", guests can warm their hands on a heated bar outside the main room. There's a cute penguin sign above the bar:

We then followed the penguin tracks to go see the Little Blue Penguins.

It was a bit too crowded to see the feeding, but we stuck around for a while and shot some video of the penguins hanging out. All the penguins at the Antarctic Centre have been rescued from one situation or another - a few were hit by boat propellers, others tangled with someone's pet. Each of them can be idenitifed by the colored bands on their flippers- there is a sign on the wall that lists all the colored bands and explains the story of each penguin.

The noose above the penguins is a little disturbing - what is it there for?!?

Aren't they cute?!? =)

After we read every poster, print and placard in the Antarctic Centre, we headed back to town (mainly because we couldn't figure out how to get to the Orana Wildlife Centre). It was only around 4pm or so, and we weren't hungry for dinner yet. We were kinda bored, so we jumped on the Science Alive!, but it was closed. Too bad! It looks like it would have been fun.

Finally, we decided to just park it at a pub/bar and get some beer/food. We first went to an "Irish" pub called The Bard, which is adorable. As soon as Darren saw the bartender (incorrectly) pour a (watered-down) Guinness, though, we were out of there! Just a couple blocks away was our second choice - The Bog. We really liked the atmosphere here, too, and decided to stay as soon as the bartender said "we have the REAL Guinness here". Apparently he knew how to pour one too.

The food was really good as well - to start, we had a tall garlic loaf drizzled with sweet chili sauce. Oh. My. God! Seriously one of the best things I've ever eaten! And perhaps the best (and only!) reason to return to Christchurch. Yum!

Once we were fat and happy, back to the hotel we went, as the train left early the next morning for....find out tomorrow! =)


Jude said...

The videos won't load... I WANNA SEE THE PENGUINS!!

Katybug said...

Cute little waddles!

Jude said...

Were any of the little penguins crushed by the hagglund? It was going pretty fast! I bet if you aimed it right, you could take out fifteen or twenty of them at a time -- just level them!

Sorry, not funny! Completely tasteless! Retracted!*

* note: the author of this comment actually thinks that the little penguins are incredibly adorable.