New Zealand is probably the number one country I have been dying to visit. I remember how I used to sit in front of the television enthralled by the ads that came on advertising all the wonderful things you could do here. It just seemed so far away.
Now, I have finally arrived. And it's every bit as wonderful as I imagined.
I flew into Christchurch on the east coast of the South Island and got off the plane, heading straight to the mountains. The beautiful Christchurch Gondola rises high above the city with far-reaching views of the seaside villages, harbours and coastline stretching out all around.
You can take the gondola ride for $30/adult return - book your tickets here. Alternatively, if you're keen for a workout and would like to save the money at the same time, you can hike all the way up to the top instead for free! The views are just the same and, in my opinion, are far more rewarding.
BRIDLE PATH TO CHRISTCHURCH GONDOLA HIKE DETAILS
Difficulty: difficult - it's very steep
Length: 25 minutes each way for 3km roundtrip to Pioneer Women Lookout; can be extended all the way to the cafe or further along Bridle Path towards Lyttelton
Directions: from the Gondola base, walk to the right to the gravel parking lot. The trail begins here and zig zags very clearly up the mountain to the Pioneer Women Lookout. I recommend continuing the walk to your left with signs to the Gondola Lookout and Red Rock Cafe since the views are slightly better from this angle.
Bathrooms: yes, at the base and at the cafe at the top
Public Transit: yes, take bus 28 from town for $4 each way; the journey takes about 40 minutes and will drop you off right outside the base