I'm jumping all around here, but I know you, my faithful readers, don't care a bit. So on our afternoon in Christchurch (after the REI trip), we took Alice's suggestion and traveled on the public bus to Sumner, a suburb right on the beach.
Here's Scarborough Beach, where we enjoyed the sunshine and followed two boys as they splashed and ran into Cave Rock.
Cave Rock was very cool. Here's a view from the inside.
As we walked back into town, we noticed the sedums that appeared to have self-seeded in every nook and cranny of the limestone cliffs that make up the hills. In fact, some of the gardens are so steep that switchback stairs are cut into the hillsides so people can make their way up and down from the street.
Then we looked more closely and realized that there was a mini-funicular car and rail installed on one of the hillsides.
Just as we were poking around - all right, we were being fairly nosy - a young man came along and punched in the code to open the gate. "Would you like a ride?" he asked cheerfully. Yes, of course, and next thing we knew we were all crammed inside as the mechanism began to lurch upwards. He told us it was known as the bucket to the residents of the hillside.
Ellen took a video, notable for my shudders and closed eyes and the great views as we rose higher. My picture is highly dramatic, as you can see, reflecting my feeling about heights...
When he got to his house, the man jumped out and showed us how to descend. We lurched back down again, fumbled with the gate and spilled out onto the street. All hail the friendly kiwis!