Saturday, 22 December 2012


We arrived in Christchurch on Thursday. We had definitely and naively underestimated the length to which the City would still be in ruins after the earthquakes in 2010-12. The whole of the CBD is cordoned off and appropriately named the 'Red Zone'. Standing buildings in the centre are few and far between, and those that are still standing are clearly very dangerous. Even our hostel has a few cracks reminding us of what everyone has been through. So far, this hasn't been the city experience we were expecting. Having said that, we both agree that It has been really interesting and worthwhile being on the peripheries of a rebuild process of this size, albeit for only a few days. The streets are very quiet at night, and peering into the 'Red Zone' through the metal fences is eery and surreal.

Locals that we have met do not seemed phased, and very optimistic about having a new city in a few years time. There are lot's of local initiatives that have sprouted as a result of the disaster. For Example: The Re-Start shopping area is made mostly out of metal shipping containers, but contain modern coffee shops, pizzerias, and much more! Also, empty areas where buildings used to stand are now home to either modern art, or shipping containers with Christmas art on.

Perhaps surprisingly, we have found lots to keep us busy and entertained!

Already, we have visited the Botanical Gardens (NZ's answer to Central Park), the Canterbury Museum featuring Scott's Last Expedition!, a very cool Ricarton Market, Christmas weekend festivities in Latimer Square Gardens, and look forward to a mini pub crawl this evening!

We will keep you posted on our last few days in NZ, and of course...CHRISTMAAAASS!