I love this little river, and little it is – as far as depth goes anyway. Meandering from it’s source in the Western suburb of Avonhead, and winding it’s way gently through the suburbs to the Central Business district of Christchurch, I doubt the water would reach above knee-deep at any one point.
Perhaps that’s why so many Christchurch children have spent some of their childhood paddling their own canoes down it’s tranquil waters. It’s safe.
As children we would make our way to the Antigua Boat sheds on a warm summer’s day. The cost of hiring a kayak (or single canoe as I’ve always called them) was very cheap. Goodness, it’s still only $12 an hour. Did we bus into Cathedral Square and walk out to the sheds, or did we cycle from home? I really don’t remember, but I suspect we probably cycled. That’s what kids did in the 1960s. We wouldn’t have locked our bikes up either, we didn’t need to. What a different world it is today for kids.
There’s double canoes, family row boats, or you can even hire a Punt with it’s own skilled Punter to propel you slowly along the water.
The river is lined with weeping willows, their long, gentle fronds reaching into the water and forming little curtains for canoeists to steer their vessel behind so as to hide from a fellow friend – such are the games that children play. If you’re like me, you could mistakenly believe that a tree as prolific as the weeping willow on the banks of the Avon belong, and have always belonged there. How surprised was I to read about their origin.
What a surprising piece of history that was. I’ve tried to find out if, not being a native tree, is the weeping willow is a menace. I haven’t been able to find anything to indicate they’re any cause for concern. Phew! Thank Goodness. Along with the Cathedral, the weeping willows lining the of the banks of Avon river just seem to belong there don’t you think?