Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Antarctic Comes to Christchurch, NZ

International Antarctic Centre Hoaglund Vehicles
Hagglund Vehicle and Trailer

The next best thing to a trip to the Antarctic is a visit to the International Antarctic Centre at Christchurch, New Zealand. The Centre is situated next door to buildings that house the staff that work for the New Zealand Government's Antarctic program and strategically positioned near the Christchurch Airport from where field staffs in Antarctica are resupplied.

Unfortunately, costs and time determine that you can never see everything you want when you visit another country or, for that matter, another city within your own country.

One of the places on our "preferred visits list" during our holiday in New Zealand was the Antarctic Centre which we had read about previously. So, we set off from our time share accommodation at Mt Hutt and arrived at the Antarctic Centre shortly after opening time.

Christina at a static display
It was a pleasant day and we decided as we'd probably never get to Christchurch again, we'd buy the ticket that included everything. We received a senior's discount too, which made it quite less expensive.

After touring the static displays and reading about New Zealand's Antarctic history, we visited a penguin nursery and a pool where we could see numerous penguins while they were being fed. Several were disabled in some way eg, one had a wing/fin that'd didn't articulate as it should and had difficulty not swimming in circles.

Probably the best event of our visit was the Hagglund vehicle ride which bumped along on its steel and rubber tracks, went up and over a few steep hills and through a deep pool of water. Grandson Tory would have loved it. We loved it!

Robin has an Antarctic freeze
Another event allows those silly enough to experience very low minus temperatures as in a windstorm in Antarctica. We were silly enough and it reminded us that some of our friends in Canada live in places where it gets just as cold. And they have to shovel snow from their driveway every day.

We were provided with thick overcoats and rubber booties and walked into what was really a deep freezer with several huge fans designed to rain down truck loads of snow at high speed.

Yes, it was cold ... very cold, but we weren't in the freezer long enough for the cold to really soak in. Both of us were wearing jeans and a shirt with a light pullover, so I've no doubt we would have become unbearably cold within 20 minutes or so.

As would be expected, the Centre has a nice little coffee shop where we finished up with a nice hot coffee and cake. We also bought a waterproof jacket each and then headed back to Mt Hutt having had another lovely day in New Zealand.


PS: This post has been posted well after the visit date, but to maintain blog order, I've changed to post date to ensure proper ordering

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