Welcome to My Place ... Christchurch

‘Christchurch has had strong links with Antarctica for more than a century and is considered the gateway to the continent’

John Gregory has been living and working in Christchurch for five years

John Gregory has been living and working in Christchurch for five years

 

John Gregory, originally from Skerries, Co Dublin, is a mechanical engineer who has been living in Christchurch, New Zealand, for the past five years. He is currently working as a project manager for a large development company servicing the post-quake rebuilding efforts.

Where is the first place you always bring people to when they visit Christchurch?

Christchurch Cathedral, it’s an iconic structure in the heart of the city. It was severely damaged during the earthquakes and is yet to be repaired. It demonstrates the raw power of an earthquake and what it can do to a large structure.

Christchurch Cathedral was severely damaged during the earthquakes and has yet to be repaired. Photograph: John Gregory
Christchurch Cathedral was severely damaged during the earthquakes and has yet to be repaired. Photograph: John Gregory

The top three things to do in Christchurch, that don’t cost money are ...

The Botanic Gardens: During the summer the park is a fantastic area to chill out, read, wander and enjoy the sunshine. At weekends they regularly have Sunday sessions with local bands and music in its centre.

The Container Mall: Directly post quakes, the city needed to start getting back to its feet, so the container mall was created out of shipping containers. The mall was only supposed to be utilised for a year, but due to massive popularity it is still going strong after five years.

Port Hills: Time to get out and be active like the New Zealanders, and enjoy the views and rolling countryside. Whether you are hiking, mountain biking or going for an inspiring run, the views are well worth the effort.

Where would you recommend for a meal eaten our doors on a sunny day?

A visit to a local vineyard, which can be less than an hour’s drive away. They do fantastic sample tastings, as well as full food platters, in bespoke structures on the edge of the vineyards. There are multiple vineyards to choose from, all with their own signature wines.

Christchurch cityscape. Photograph: Getty Images
Christchurch cityscape. Photograph: Getty Images

Where is the best place to get a sense of Christchurch’s place in history?

International Antarctic Centre. Christchurch has had strong links with Antarctica for more than a century and is considered the gateway to Antarctica. To this day it remains the main port to service the continent. The centre itself is impressive. It has a 4D cinema and an off-road tour with tanks that were used in Antarctica to transport personnel and equipment. Christchurch was utilised by both Scott and Shackleton as a final destination before leaving for the continent.

What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Christchurch?

The wine and the cheese. Kiwi wines are legendary worldwide. New Zealand also has a booming dairy market and the reputation for its excellent cheeses is growing. New Zealand has also mastered craft beers, to top it off. You might want to check the alcohol limits prior to departing.

If you’d like to share your little black book of places to visit where you live, please email your answers to the five questions above to abroad@irishtimes.com, including a brief description of what you do there and a photograph of yourself. We’d love to hear from you.

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