It’s a crisp blue sky winters day, and we decide to explore New Brighton, one of Christchurch’s beaches. by bike. We start near the South Shore Spit Reserve and as we walk out discover it is dead low tide, so perfect for riding on the beach.
The sand was a little softer nearer the estuary, but we got close enough to see the narrow gap of water separating us from Sumner beach. It is slack tide, and it looks like you could walk across, but I suspect that is very deceptive.
We look across at the towering Red Cliffs with houses still dribbling over the hill – too dangerous to remove.
Containers protect the road below from falling debris. Sumner rock has lost its top, but life goes on – that is Christchurch 2014 three years after the earthquakes that brought this city to its knees.
We head north – just a few dog walkers and us on a vast empty beach – apart of course for the oyster catchers, blackback gulls and cormorants feasting on what appears to be plentiful seafood by the looks of the large empty shells on the beach.
It is a clear day, but hazy, I have in mind riding to the New Brighton Pier, but we can not see it through the haze. However as we ride, it’s outline slowly emerges. It is a comfortable and easy 30 minute ride on hard sand. Just my sort of riding.
At the beginning of the Pier is the New Brighton library – a beautifully formed building, and of course there is coffee to be had at Salt on the Pier.
Very nice it was too – the menu looked good for a lunch, but we are just doing coffee today – we will need to come back.
We ride back along the road – only occasionally stopped by roadworks, but the bumps in the road, and the houses fenced off are a reminder that New Brighton did not fare well in the earthquakes.
South Brighton Sculpture Garden
One stop only on the way back to the car – the South Brighton Sculpture Garden in a reserve on the sand dunes. Founded by Boon Suter it is an open air gallery featuring works by a deaf/blind artist and other sculptors from around the world.
Rosemary Neave, founder of Women Travel New Zealand is based for a while in Christchurch and will be exploring some of it’s cycleways and the South Island – watch for updates
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