So let’s just say Christchurch took me completely by surprise.
I had done no research prior to coming here & I literally never watch the news.
This combination had me oblivious to the fact that there was a huge earthquake here in 2011 that did some serious damage.
Basically, when we asked people what to do in Christchurch they kinda laughed.
I guess I was expecting an array of bars, restaurants and hostels, but the scene is somewhat very different to what you’d expect.
Most of the hostels in the Centre of Christchurch were sadly lost during the earthquake and so we stayed close by in Addington at ’The Jailhouse Accommodation’ which is just a 20 minute walk into the Centre.
As the name indicates, it is a refurbished jail where the cells have simply been converted into rooms / dorms.
Pretty cool setting huh.
So we set off to explore Christchurch by foot and I’ll show you exactly what we stumbled upon…
The Re:Start pop up shopping mall which is, believe it or not, one of the City’s main features now.
This was a quick set up shortly after the earthquake simply to provide a spot in which people could go to and grab something to eat.
You can find food vans, juice vans, coffee shops, freshly baked pizzas, clothes, souvenirs & many other things here.
Today we even found an orchestra…
Just behind Re:Start is ‘Quake City’ Museum, the closest you’re going to get to realising the extent of the earthquake.
Surrounding Re:Start is now the remains of what was the heart of the city.
In the two photos below you can see the before photo and after quake photo.
(I’m sure you noticed, the far right building has now completely gone.)
Quite devastating how many businesses, lives and livelihoods must have been lost.
My transfer driver from the airport told me that after the earthquake 70,000 fled New Zealand, determined to never have to experience anything like it again.
You can’t help but feel the devastation in the eery gaps between buildings.
Whilst the recent history of the city is heartbreaking, it was an encounter i was completely unprepared for, and its definitely an experience i won’t forget.
Despite all of this, there is still a lot of beauty in Christchurch, one of my favourites being the trams…
The markets and galleries…
and the Botanical Gardens in the Centre of Hagley Park alongside the river…
The dreamiest of dreamiest rose garden…
An eye opening first couple of days to say the least.
Tomorrow we head up to Kaikoura.
I think we are going to have a whale of a time…
Thank you for reading, lots of love all the way from New Zealand…
– We are travelling on the Kiwi Experience which is a hop on, hop off backpacker bus tour. See STA website here
for more information.
– Jailhouse Accommodation $45 NZ Dollars twin bunk room, $33 NZ Dollars for a bed in mixed dorm. book here