Gondola Ride

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Tue 22 Jul 2014 22:57
Gondola Ride, Christchurch
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After our exciting ‘road trip’, we decided to head back to the Gondola Ride, the skies looked clear enough to give it a go. Mable parked, feet on the starting blocks, loaded into Car 19 happily following 18 and the usual ‘naughty, mischievous’ face opposite me.
Up we went, Christchurch giving quite a view.
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Nearing the top we swayed nicely in the wind.
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We walked through the shop to an electric car ride, all of seven minutes to tell us the history of the area. So pleased it came within the price.........
Up we went to the top floor and our view over Lyttelton Harbour.
View over Christchurch.
South-east. Looking at the road over the hills.
We had a cappuccino and read the information boards. Banks Peninsula is a spectacular landscape, covering approximately four hundred and fifty square miles and comprised of extinct volcanoes whose craters form the harbours of Lyttelton and Akaroa. The first known inhabitants of this area were the Māori people. During the 17th century, the Ngai Tahu people established fortified pa or villages. On the 16th of February 1770 explorer Captain James Cook, sighted the Peninsula. He mistakenly concluded it was an island and named the feature in honour of Endeavour’s botanist, Joseph Banks.
During the 1830’s Banks Peninsula became a European whaling centre and was frequently visited by French, American and British deep-sea whalers. Trade was established between the Europeans and Māori. The local native people however, succumbed in large numbers to disease and inter-tribal warfare, particularly from raids of Te Rauparaha, chief of the North Island tribe, Ngati Toa. Many remember Te Rauparaha as the author of the haka, “Ka mate, ka mate”.
In 1838 Captain Langlois, a French whaler, decided Akaroa would make a good French settlement and “purchased” the Peninsula in a dubious land deal with local Māori. He returned to France and set sail for New Zealand with an advance guard of French settlers. They arrived in August 1840 to find that British sovereignty had already been proclaimed over the whole of New Zealand, including South Island. All hopes of a French colony taking shape were therefore dashed.
Meanwhile British settlers were increasing rapidly and numerous small settlements were founded. Akaroa was quickly established as the first planned township in South Island, with the South Island’s first post office, police force, magistrate and custom house.
Since the 1850’s, Lyttelton and then Christchurch outgrew Akaroa. Over the years Akaroa has maintained many French influences and is now a popular holiday resort.
In the last few years of the 19th century, the British Royal Geographic Society in London declared Antarctica to be the last frontier of exploration in the modern world. With this public announcement, a series of remarkable polar journeys unfolded, and so began the race to the South Pole began. Lyttelton Harbour played an important part in this history as it was the final gateway for these early Polar expeditions. Ships anchored here and obtained provisions and locals became adept at assisting them for the arduous challenges that lay ahead.
One of the most notable was the attempt made in 1912 by Robert Falcon Scott, whose efforts to be first to the Pole were in vain as he was beaten by just a few weeks by the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen. It is well known that Scott and his team were to later perish tragically in a fierce storm during the return journey, just a few short miles short of life-saving supplies. Another legendary explorer to pass through Lyttelton Harbour was Ernest Shackleton.
A final look around upstairs.
You-know-who went outside to gather me a snow ball...........No comment.
Back through the shop, this tea towel amused us.
Our fun picture for all our grandbabies, with all our love xx xx