Christchurch, gateway to Antarctica
Very few places on Earth are lucky enough to be nicknamed “Gateway to Antarctica”. They can be counted on the fingers of one hand: Hobart in Tasmania; Ushuaia in Argentina; Punta Arenas, overlooking the Straight of Magellan in Chile; Cape Town in South Africa and of course Christchurch, in New Zealand. It is from these locations that intrepid explorers and navigators have set sail to the Great Unknown, in search of the Terra australis incognita and beyond, to the magnetic South Pole and to the geographical South Pole. In those times there were no satellite images to tell you how the path would look like. In Antarctica, no native people could give clues to the explorers, nor help them with their own experience of survival, as with the Eskimos in the Arctic.
Among these few “Gateways to the Antarctic”, Christchurch and Hobart are my favorites. I have been in Hobart many times, but I never lived there. I did however spend three months in Christchurch in 2004 and 2005, when I attended the Graduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies (GCAS) organized by Gateway Antarctica, the University of Canterbury and Antarctica New Zealand. So Christchurch is almost home for me. And I am always happy to be back here.
I like to visit the historic places where Scott, Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary have been