The Avon River In Christchurch

The Avon River in Christchurch

There are a great many things I’ve never wondered or thought about. Until recently, one of these was the meaning of the word ‘Avon’. I knew it was a popular name for a river, but it had never concerned me that it might actually mean something! My pondering about the word Avon took me down the intriguing rabbit hole of etymology. It seems that the name “Avon” is a Celtic word and survives from the Welsh word ‘afon’ meaning river. So, therefore we can say that Christchurch’s Avon River literally means ‘river river’.

Flour Power

Flour Power by Regan Gentry

Leaving Hagley Park, I crossed the Avon River and strolled along Rolleston Avenue before turning left onto Worcester Street. Passing the Christchurch Arts Centre while dodging trams, I continued until somehow met the Avon River again. From there, I found my way to Cathedral Square where I enjoyed a quiet moment or two taking in the various sculptures that are scattered around. One of which, located across from the Cathedral on the corner of Colombo and Hereford Street at the beginning of a pedestrian mall is a sculpture titled Flour Power by Regan Gentry. Gifted to the city in 2008, the steel structure stands an impressive 15 metres high and is kinda fun to stand under!

Bridge of Remembrance in Christchurch

Bridge of Remembrance In Christchurch

You would never know that the Bridge of Remembrance was once damaged in an earthquake. Located over the Avon River in Christchurch, it stands as a memorial to both World War I & II,  along with the conflicts in Korea, Malaya, Borneo, and Vietnam. Structurally damaged in the February earthquake of 2011, when it was repaired, an 8 tonne beam was used to reinforce the arch and 27 metre piles were built so in any future earthquakes it rocks rather than twists. 

The Little Fiddle In Christchurch

The Little Fiddle In Christchurch

I made my way through streets that looked vaguely familiar. Not having a great knowledge of Christchurch’s CBD, anything past the Avon River was really a mystery to me. Yet, occasionally I found a street or location that seemed recognisable. Colombo Street was one, Manchester Street was another and then of course there was Cathedral Square. The rest looked nothing like I remember it.  But, that’s to be expected when you’re rebuilding a city! 

I made my way along streets, down passage-ways and through alleys with a simply delightful gaze in my eye. It was like discovering a whole new city and I was very much enjoying myself. I walked past new buildings that seemed to feature a style of architecture called ‘jigsaw puzzle pieces that don’t fit’ and shops that either had a minimalist vibe or were still under construction. 

Eventually, I came across a junction point for three laneways. Clearly I was approaching the food and beverage sector of the CBD as nearby there was an Italian Restaurant, a Mexican Bar, A place called ‘The Craft Embassy’ and one known as ‘The Little Fiddle’. It was this last one that caught my eye, for no other reason that it was bright red. It was covered in signs that read “Stout & Porter”, “Pedlers of fine Irish Whiskey, Beer and Wine” and “Try our hot and tasty fare.” It did look very enticing, but unfortunately I still had to navigate my way back to my car and negotiate my way through Christchurch traffic and I wasn’t too sure that alcohol would help the matter.

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre Buy 

Finding myself with no place to be, and with a bit of time to spare, I went for an amble around Christchurch. It had been a good five years since I’d visited the city centre and it was with interest that I strolled the streets around Cathedral Square. One of the new buildings I found (although hard to miss) was Te Pae. Te Pae, literally meaning “gathering place” in te reo Māori, is the new Christchurch Convention Centre.

The Arts Centre in Christchurch

The Arts Centre in Christchurch – Buy

These days a section of Hereford Street, Worcester Boulevard and Rolleston Avenue in Christchurch is known as the The Arts Centre. However, back in 1877 when the first building was opened it was known as Canterbury University College. After that, more buildings were added for both Christchurch Boys and Christchurch Girls High Schools until the campus grew so large that the high schools moved and the University took over the entire site. By the 1950’s, the University had grown so large that the University started to make plans to move to a large site. The first shift happened in 1957 when the Fine Arts department relocated. The Engineering department followed in 1959 and by 1975 the entire University had relocated. 

In 1978 the Arts Centre of Christchurch took over the ownership of the site which includes 22 buildings constructed in the Gothic Revival style.

The Crossing In Christchurch

Coffee Culture at The Crossing – Buy 

Feeling both restless and hungry, I left the areas around Manchester and Cashel Street. As I edged back towards Cathedral Square, I became drawn to a walkway named Cashfields Lane. A narrow thoroughfare that’s closely surrounded by shops that opens to a retail and hospitality complex known as The Crossing. Ignoring the surrounding fashion outlets, my search for food took me past eatery’s such as Zeeks, Coffee Culture and Joyful Express before settling on the authentic Korean street food at The Chicken.

Riverside Market In Christchurch

Riverside Market – Buy 

I couldn’t remember the last time I was in Christchurch. I’d driven through it plenty of times however I had no idea when I was last in the city centre. So, it was with some interest that I left my car on Park Terrace near Hagley Park, walked the short distance up Worcester Street until I reached the Avon River. Exactly what I was doing or where I was going, I wasn’t too sure however a short time later I found myself entering the Riverside Market. Opening in 2019, the Riverside Market overlooks the river and is filled with boutique retailers, restaurants, cafes & bars. It has 30 independent food outlets and 40 fresh food stalls covering 3500 square metres and attracts over 10,000 a day. It really is a wonderful place!