Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hagley Park; A New Lovemark

Last week I was in Christchurch for the Telecom New Zealand Annual General Meeting. It was great to see how the city and the people had got on with life following the recent earthquake. Cantabrians are resilient, community-minded and take no nonsense. They reminded me very much of New York City post September 11 (without the attitude!).

I stayed at a beautiful small hotel, The George, which I last visited seven or eight years ago when I flew with Princess Anne to Antarctica. The George is staffed by Kiwis and Europeans enjoying a break in New Zealand. The service is intimate, anticipatory, relaxed and friendly.

The hotel itself is on Hagley Park, which is one of the wonders of the world. With 165 hectares of trees and broad green fields, Hagley Park is the largest urban open space in all of Christchurch. Thankfully, when the government created it in 1855, they ordered that it be “reserved forever as a public park.”

I took a bike from the hotel each morning at around 7am and put in a few miles for an hour or so around the park. It’s incredible. The daffodils are out, the cherry-blossoms are out, and the people were still indoors. The park is an amazing thing to find in the middle of a city. It has lakes, woodlands, rugby pitches (it is New Zealand after all), a golf course!, tennis courts including half a dozen beautiful grass courts, mountain-bike paths and terrific areas for walking and exploring. There’s no better way to start the day.


Richard Brooks said...

This time 3 years ago I was in Christchurch on my tour of NZ as part of my honeymoon... its a beautiful place and reading your post took me back there for five mins :)

Any signs of damage from the earthquake?

Susan P. said...

Trees and grass...NO person should work in a place where they can't see trees and grass. :) This time of year in Sydney I have female magpies asking me for food for their nests.

For the past three years only one has come, but, now I have two. One is so bold that she lands and calls to me and if I haven't organised food, or do so within 3 seconds, she hops down and comes to the door and inside now and demands!

Love them but a magpie flying around the living area isn't optimal. Still, it's a compliment I'm pleased to be offered.