We set our anchor quite aways from the shoreline in Arakoa since we arrived at low tide. We were transported to the port’s wharf via tender boats from the cruise ship.
Once there, we met our guide, Dermot who took great care of us during our visit to Christchurch! We took a leisurely journey through the Canterbury Plains, along Banks Peninsula, over scenic extinct volcanic rims as we headed towards Christchurch.
Our first stop was The International Antarctic Center! This place featured hands-on exhibits, that bring the frozen continent of Antarctica to life. It all started with a ride on a Hägglund, the amphibious vehicle that is used for travel in Antarctica. The ride took us up and down mounds, over a steep hill, across a crevasse, through a pool of water and onto open ground!
We experienced the temperature blasts of a real snow cave while wearing cold-weather gear. We watched the antics of local penguins in the live penguin rookery. Blue Penguins experiencing some kind of hardship are rescued from area beaches and coves and then placed here and taken care. There was a 4D Extreme Theatre with a virtual cruise to Antarctica that included moving seats, wind in our faces, water-spray, bubbles and snow which are all part of the fun.
We spent a little time in the Christchurch area after lunch. We stopped at the Christchurch Cathedral, which was damaged in the earthquake. Sadly, it provided evidence of the devastation that can result from less than one minute of intense shaking from beneath what was once a firm foundation.