Archive » December 24, 2008
VISIT THE 'GARDEN CITY' IN NEW ZEALAND
By Ray Navis, Contributing Writer
The historic town of Christchurch in New Zealand is the economic hub of the beautiful and sparsely populated South Island. Christchurch is located in the Canterbury region about a third of the way down the South Island on the east coast.
ďThe Garden City,Ē as it is known, is famed for its colonial heritage, grand architecture, historic homesteads and its immaculate parks, which weave together with a bustling business district.
The Clearwater Resort is an ideal spot to stay when visiting this area. Itís just a couple of minutes from the airport and about a 10-minute drive from downtown Christchurch.
Christchurch has the feeling of a medieval European city with historic churches, market squares and cobblestone streets surrounded by the peaceful Avon River.
Christchurch also is the largest city in the South Island and known for its educational opportunities. It has two universities, the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University. Both offer a wide range of disciplines and pre-eminence in their fields.
The city and most of its immediate surroundings are set on flat terrain a few miles from the ocean.
However, the southern edge of the town meets dramatic mountains where the Christchurch gondola is located.
After a steep journey to the top, visitors are rewarded with a 360-degree view of Christchurch to the north, Canterbury plains to the west and Lyttelton Harbor to the south.
The Summit Cafť is a great spot to take in this incredible view.
Lyttelton Harbor is just a short drive, and although itís not more than 15 minutes from the heart of Christchurch, it seems like it is located on another part of the island due to the incredible topographical change.
For more information on the city, visit www.christchurch.org.nz.
The Clearwater Resort is home to the New Zealand PGA Championship and has a great golf course.
This par 72 stretches out more than 7,000 yards.
The course was designed by John Darby with help from Sir Bob Charles, who actually lives on the course.
Charles has been a great ambassador for New Zealand in the golf world since he gained fame by winning the British Open in 1963.
The Clearwater layout is a combination of Scottish links golf and Florida parkland golf.
It meanders around sparkling lakes, creeks and a variety of wetlands. This part of the Christchurch area is very flat so the course is easy to walk.
The ninth hole is an eye-catching par 3, which can play over 200 yards with a lake along the right side all the way.
Many of the resortís rooms are on the other side of this lake and look out at this hole.
The 18th hole is another great closer. It can be stretched to 440 yards, and a lake guards the entire left side of the hole.
A par on either of these finishing holes will be well earned and deserving of a celebratory libation.
Clearwater has one of the best practice facilities in all of New Zealand.
Another great golf option would be to drive inland to the Terrace Downs Golf Club.
It is about an hourís drive through New Zealandís best farmland to the foot of the Southern Alps where the course is located.
The breathtaking mountain views are equal to the spectacular ocean views of Kauri Cliffs on the North Island.
If you want to stay closer to the Clearwater Resort for another round, try the Russley Golf Club, which is just a couple of miles from downtown Christchurch.
Itís a well-manicured club, which regularly hosts professional and amateur events.
Hotel guests stay at The Peppers Clearwater Resort.
The lakeside units are elegant and modern with all the comforts of home with a boathouse theme.
They are quite large and have the feel of a townhouse with a deck overlooking the lake and golf course.
The lake is very tranquil with an abundance of wildlife. I found the patio a great spot to reflect upon the dayís adventure.
Natural spring-fed streams flow through the 465-acre resort and are stocked with wild brown and rainbow trout.
Fly fishers will have a field day.
For more information visit www.clearwaternz.com or www.peppers.com
Clearwater Resort is just a few minutes from Christchurch International Airport, which is where I landed on my flight from LAX.
Air New Zealand offers non-stop service to Auckland and Christchurch from both LAX and San Francisco.
From Christchurch you can fly to almost any city in New Zealand via Air New Zealandís extensive routing.
The Christchurch Airport and Air New Zealand are very visitor friendly and are reminiscent of how air travel used to be in the U.S. many moons ago.
For more information, visit www.airnewzealand.com.