There are many sights to see in Christchurch and as many ways to see them.
The latest way is an initiative by bffs Julia Malley and Julia Strelou. Friends, work colleagues, and now tourism entrepreneurs, they have teamed up to provide guided tours of some of the spots of interest in the CBD. The twist: they and their guests are all riding Lime scooters.
It’s guaranteed to be an adrenaline-filled, exciting rush of full on entertainment, a thrill such as you have never before experienced. And that’s just the first 60 seconds of meeting the two Julias, long before you get anywhere near a scooter. Young, hip, articulate, passionate, bubbly, engaging and super funny, both the Julias are witty, cheeky and fun to be around. Their energy is infectious, and that’s the spirit they bring to their tours of the city.
Julia M is a Christchurch girl. She lived here through the quakes and knows the city, pre and post-earthquake, well. She works in media and is world-famous in Christchurch for being one of the city’s brides in the NZ version of Married at First Sight. She is an Airbnb Superhost, and that’s what led her to establish the ‘Rebuild Tour’.
Julia S hails from Australia, but is also now a Christchurch denizen. She is in the media business too and, if it’s possible to quantify, is the more reserved of the two. But not by much. “Julia and I are relationship builders,” she says. “If you are going to hang out with us you will have a laugh and a good time.”
As an Airbnb Superhost, Julia M added the Rebuild Tour as an Airbnb Experience – activities for Airbnb guests designed by hosts aimed at immersing guests in their unique world.
“Guests love the Lime scooters,” she says, “so why not use them to do guided tours? There’s nothing like that in New Zealand.”
The two take up to ten guests (non-Airbnb guests, too), each on their own scooter, to various spots around the CBD, and offer some behind the scenes information. While having fun, they are mindful of the respect needed at places such as the CTV site, 185 Chairs (a particular favourite site of guests), and other post-quake landmarks. Guests are reminded of the devastation, to both landscape and life, the city suffered.
“We focus on what happened after the quakes, but we also have a positive spin because it’s also about the regeneration of the city,” Julia S says.
They also visit Margaret Mahy playground to play, various street art projects and have an interactive experience painting their own street art at the Giant Spray Cans on the corner of Manchester and Lichfield streets.
Some of the city’s ‘darker’ spots get a mention too, and perhaps a visit. ‘Dark tourism’ ventures are popular worldwide and the Julias offer some insights to visitors into a little bit of Christchurch’s underbelly (when it’s appropriate), such as the city’s red light district and McLean’s Mansion on Manchester street. They may even venture some speculation about whether or not it is haunted.
Says one recent scooter tour participant: “It’s been nothing but fun!”
Safety conscious, informative, interactive, sometimes a little bit naughty and sure to be a fantastic time, download the Lime app and call 027 448 0162, or visit www.chchlimescootertours.co.nz.