Day 9 – Christchurch, New Zealand, Feb 24, 2018
We docked in Lyttelton, approximately 8 miles from downtown Christchurch. Christchurch is known as a “garden city” and has a population of about 382,000. The 2011 earthquakes caused significant damage and loss of life (183 people died). They are still rebuilding the city. Interesting that when they polled the citizens, they overwhelmingly wanted more open space in their downtown area, to help the people feel like there are open safe places to escape to in case of future earthquakes. They also voted that there should not be building taller than 7 stories as so many buildings had been so severely damaged and come down in the earthquake. There are several taller buildings that survived, but these restrictions are now in place.
“Edoras” from Lord of the Rings (LOTR) was our destination today (it was an important part of the Two Towers movie). It was filmed on Mount Sunday - a small (compared to the surrounding area, but huge when you get up close to it) rocky outcropping in the middle of an absolutely beautiful valley. Bob is a LOTR fan, and Julie loved the scenery in the movie. It was a long day as Edoras was quite far away from Christchurch (ultimately we drove about 400 km in the bus today). We had a wonderful tour guide who provided terrific commentary, and film clips from the making of the LOTR movies. Edoras, is part of the Southern Alps, and is absolutely stunning. They spent 8 months building the LOTR movie set in this remote location, for 3 weeks of filming. They then deconstructed the movie set because it would be too far away from anything to maintain it.
|There are a LOT of sheep in New Zealand - around 30 Million. Their population has been declining due the reduced demand for wool and increased used of synthetic materials in clothing.|
|Panorama of the valley. Mount Sunday is in the middle and very small from this vantage point.|
|Mount Sunday - Edoras!|
The tour included various props that we could use to "enhance" our experience of being in this great place.
|The axe weighed a TON!|
|The flag of the Rohirrim.|
Here are some shots that show the scenes from the movie.
|The set on top with the crew buildings and parking below.|
|The thatched roofs were made from native plants around the area.|
|The buildings on the hillside were all added in later using CGI.|
After leaving Edoras, we stopped by Clearwater lake.
Lunch was in a War Memorial Building in a village about 45 minutes from Edoras. They told us that about 1/3 of the New Zealanders that went to fight in WWI were killed. So, there are many of these memorials across the country. After lunch, we headed back to the ship.
It was a full day, leaving the ship about 8:30 am and returning about 4:30 pm. We missed the live “Cities of the North of New Zealand” lecture, but were able to watch it in our room on demand.
Dinner was in another specialty restaurant, Umi Uma. This is a Chef Nobu Matsuhisa restaurant serving fabulous Japanese cuisine. He also has many land-based restaurants. We started the meal with some sushi. Julie had an appetizer of Lobster Tacos, a Scallop Salad, and Nobu Style Lobster with Truffle-Yuzu Sauce.
|We both loved Julie's lobster tacos. We will be ordering them again.|
Bob had an appetizer of Vegetable Tempura, Warm Mushroom Salad and Wagyu Beef Rib Eye Steak with Anticucho, Teriyaki and Wasabi Pepper Sauce.
The show tonight was a crossover tenor, Jonathan Hawkins. We missed the early show and decided to go to the movie instead. We saw “Hell or High Water” – a bank heist movie with the robbers stealing in order to save their family’s ranch in West Texas.
We walked 3.41 miles, 8,201 steps and 24 flights of stairs (too much time sitting on the bus LOL)