While most tourist choose to stay in the city centre when staying in Christchurch, I chose to head out, & realised it’s so much more exciting and livelier there. That was also when I realised public transport in New Zealand can be that expensive!
It cost me NZ$3.50 for a bus ride, & I didn’t know I could use the tickets for 1 other transfer within 2 hours, so I ended up paying NZ$10.5 for 4 rides. Meh… Learnt my lesson to read all my receipts and tickets in the future.
I had to do a transfer at Northland Mall, & when I arrived, the next bus was about 30mins away, so I went in there for the toilet before coming back out to catch the bus. The bus stop has a system which tells you how long the next bus is gna take, & the buses are pretty on time. After I came back from Willowbank, I dropped by Northland again to have my lunch before heading back to Christchurch. The mall is pretty big, with a supermart and also lots of eateries and shops.
After close to half an hour of ride from Northland, I got down along this street of almost nothing, quiet little place and walked about 2 mins into Willowbank Nature Reserve.
First things I walked in and saw were eels. Tame eels they said. & they had spoons that allow you to feed them. I was expecting something more though. Ha! The Willow bank Reserve features lots of animals which includes animals native to New Zealand, as well as those that were introduce to the country ages ago. The 5 main animals to see are: Kiwi, Kea, Tuatara, Takahe & Kaka.
Walked past the pond that was filled with tonnes of grass weed, and I could help but shot a contrast between the colours.
I came across this picnic area where kids can go on a donkey ride, while the adults picnic on the grass. The weather was cooling, so it was perfect for sitting under the sun and munching a sandwich. But I only had water.
Tuatara is another breed native to New Zealand, and hasn’t change since the start of time. Overheard a kiwi saying its her first time seeing all of them in the enclosure coming up, looks like I was lucky!
Kiwis are nocturnal animals and can only be seen scavenging in the night. The reserve has a night tour which brings visitors around. For those who visits in the day, they have a nocturnal house which houses 6 kiwis. It was dark, like really dark. Just so that the kiwis can roam around and tourist can see them even when visiting during the day. They said there are 6 kiwis but I could only spot 1, and that was with the help of the keeper. Good luck finding!
Next up was Kea. I had one of the Kea was flying almost fly right into my head when I walked into the enclosure for Kea. & I thought they were ferocious (Just kinda…), until I came across another Kea at Arthur’s pass that tried to grab my tour mate’s sandwich. Apparently, they feed on sheeps and rabbit too! Not super surprising when they have pointy beaks. They are actually pretty cute, and are the world’s only alpine parrot.
Spent a good 3 hours there just slowly looking around. This place is smaller than the zoo back home but was super interesting as they had so many species we didn’t have back home. It’s a good education trips for kids too!
To get there: Take bus from Central Terminal in Christchurch that heads towards Styx Hill, after that, transfer to bus 107 at Northland. (Below are the bus timings which they had on the bus stop).