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Day 8- March 15th, 2008

Fairlie to Christchurch

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Once we got a good night’s rest in Fairlie we woke to the morning of March 15th, the last day of our adventure.  Like the weather the whole trip we rose to sunny skies and a moderate temperature of around 55 degrees.  Today’s drive would take us up to the Rakaia River and Rakaia Gorge and then on to Christchurch were we had a scheduled tour of the Antarctic Center. 

RAKAIA RIVER/RAKAIA GORGE

One of the largest braided rivers in New Zealand, with a mean flow of 203 cubic meters per second and a mean annual seven-day low flow of 87 cubic meters per second.  It rises in the Southern Alps, travelling 150 kilometers in a generally easterly or southeasterly direction before entering the Pacific Ocean 50 kilometers south of Christchurch.  For much of its journey, the river is a braided river, running through a wide shingle bed. Close to Mount Hutt, however, it is briefly confined to a narrow canyon known as the Rakaia Gorge.  The Rakaia Gorge (below) is located on the Rakaia River in inland Canterbury in New Zealand's South Island.  Like its neighbor, the Waimakariri River, the Rakaia runs through wide shingle beds for much of its length, but is forced through a narrow canyon as it approaches the Canterbury Plains.  We also took a 45 minute jet boat ride (second below) up the river, allowing us to see the river and the gorge.

Gorge

jet

Topical Research Paper on Rakaia River Written by Chris Below

 

ANTARCTIC CENTER

Christchurch has been the gateway to Antarctica. Back in 1901 Robert Falcon Scott's ship 'Discovery' docked at the city's port at Lyttelton.  Six years later Ernest Henry Shackleton followed in 'Nimrod', and in 1910 Scott returned with 'Terra Nova' embarking on his ill-fated second expedition.  In 1955 a new era began when Christchurch first welcomed the United States planes, ships and crews of "Operation Deep Freeze". This close relationship continues today.


The International Antarctic Centre opened on 28 September 1990. The Centre, developed by Christchurch International Airport Limited, was established to support Antarctic scientific programs. Its architecture was inspired by the icebergs, ice shelves and glaciers of Antarctica.


The Centre is home to the New Zealand, United States (below) and Italian Antarctic Programs and comprises administration offices, warehousing, a US & NZ clothing store, a post office and travel agency, the Antarctic Passenger Terminal and of course the Visitor Centre, now known as The Antarctic Attraction.

 

 

Ice

Written by: Chris Below

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