Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hagley Park - Sunny Afternoon Walk

Last Sunday, the weather was really nice and sunny here in Christchurch - perfect for a walk around Hagley Park. As usual, parking was a bit of a hassle, but we got there in the end, parking in the Rolleston Ave carpark. Here are some highlights of that walkabout...

Avon River
To get from the carpark to the park, you have to cross a footbridge over the Avon River. On this day, we noticed that the water was a lot cleaner and clearer than we'd ever seen it...

As can be seen, looking down from the bridge, you could actually see below the surface, and see all the grasses growing on the riverbed, and the pretty caustics. Looking closer, you could even see some fish! Yes, fish! Live fish in the Avon! (Personally, I thought they looked more like eels)

Black slithery fish/eel


The water was really amazingly clear

The patterns formed by the caustics were very interesting!

Fish!  (When leaving, we saw a bunch of teens with fishing rods... hmm...)

They've redone a lot of the flowerbeds since our last visit, with the cabbage-like "Kale" plants particularly in vogue this year it seems...

Here is a mix of the purple and white-purple varieties (which we've got in our garden), in front of the old cafe pavillion (which is closed, pending quake-strengthening work):

Over on the Rolleston Ave/Canterbury Museum/Peacock fountain side, there were many more of these displays too...

White Kale and Polyanthus 

The ones around the peacock fountain (with Canterbury Museum in the background) were especially big, white, and beautiful!

These big white fluffy balls just look soo adorable!

Peacock Fountain and Surrounding Areas
As a kid, I never really liked/understood this fountain (Note: It was only really erected when I was 6, having previously been lying abandoned in an old warehouse somewhere in a state of disrepair)

 It's especially impressive when the fountain is going at full blast, and backlit!

Everytime I see that spire (from the Arts Centre) just sitting there, juxtaposed against the Gothic-Revival style windows, I always want tot take a shot of it, since it's just such a captivating view. IMO it's quite amazing how something that looks so tiny when perched up on its tower, is often just about as tall as the rest of the building!

New Visitor's Centre
Earlier this year, the new Visitor's Centre building was opened by the visiting royalty. Besides housing greenhouses (to replace the quake-damaged old glasshouse buildings, which, as I kid I detested visiting as they were hot, damp/humid, and very very smelly), this now also houses a cafe - which was doing a roaring trade in shoestring chips no less.

The design of this building is quite flat/squat, and designed to look like glasshouses (since the building is really just one big glasshouse).

There's outdoor seating for the cafe, and other seating too, which were both very popular that afternoon.

Apparently, the plants in the glasshouse can't take the full force of the sun. /methinks that the architects made a bit of a mistake aligning the building like that...

 Interesting patterns on the ceiling - I guess to look like a treetop canopy?

Entry to the cafe - Indoor seating area

Riverside Plantings

As we were inching down the carpark trying to find an empty spot, the plantings on the opposite bank caught our eye. Rather, I should say, we scoffed about how they just liked to put these little pathetic little plants, layed out on a sandy hill...

It turns out that the "sand" was in fact a felt-like "blanket", and that in fact, the plants were just protruding through specially made holes in that. Like so...

I don't know about you, but the tufts of grass in the second shot look awfully familiar ;)

Pretty Flowers
Overall, it looked like they had cut down a lot of plants for winter, leaving many plants pale imitations of their former selves. That said, there were a few which caught my attention...

The spikey orange flowers (name unknown) were really nice looking, especially with that white flowering bush/tree in the background making some nice bokeh:

Another interesting specimen was this South African flower (though it does look a bit, uhm, "rude"):

Equally interesting were these dried flower balls (which I've previous taken some crappy shots of):

Other Sights
There are many big, impressive trees in Hagley Park. This one is no exception, looking like something straight out of The Lion King...

Maybe this little guy would want to watch that, once he's done chasing (and being chased by) the ducks ;)

Or maybe he'd like to meet these guys and girls:

I'm assuming these were cosplayers who'd just attended the Disney on Ice shows on that weekend at the Horncastle Arena (previously CBS Arena, Westpac Arena, or the Westpac Trust Arena)

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