The Big Trip: Christchurch

Following our night of star gazing in Lake Tekapo we made our way to Christchurch.  Our first stop was for a quick snack and coffee in a town called Ashburton.  Ashburton is a large town that serves the surrounding fishing districts as it sits between the Rakaia and Rangitata rivers.  The portion of the town we explored had some really nice cafes and lots of small independent stores selling local art and crafts.

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand.  On 4th September 2010, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck near Darfield at a depth of 6.2-miles (10km).  It caused widespread damage to the city and minor injuries and, fortunately, no direct fatalities.  Then on 22nd February 2011, a second earthquake measuring magnitude 6.3 struck the city.  This quake stuck closer to the city at a depth of 3-miles (5km).  Despite being lower in magnitude than the previous quake, the intensity and violence of the ground shaking measured Violent on the Mercalli intensity scale.  In total 185 people were killed, people from more than 20 countries were among the victims.  Significant liquefaction has affected a number of areas within the city and it’s suburbs making rebuilding difficult or impossible.

We stayed at the All Stars Inn on Bealey in a private double room.  The hostel only opened at the beginning of November 2015 and so everything was all still very new we when stayed.  The facilities were really good, the only downside was the kitchen was very small and became very stuffy and crowded during meal times.

We booked the Hassle-Free Tour of Christchurch via Bookme.  Our tour lasted around an hour and took us around key Christchurch sites including the Catholic Basilica, Bridge of Remembrance and Friendship Corner, Cashel St ReStart Shipping Container Mall and Christchurch Cathedral and new Cardboard Cathedral. Our tour guide gave us a lot of information about the city both pre- and post-earthquakes and there were plenty of opportunities to take photos and ask for additional information.  Below are a few of our photos from our tour and also whilst we were walking around afterwards.  Also, if you fancy walking about with us be sure to check out our video here.

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We also spent a morning walking around the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.  The gardens cover just under 52 acres (21 hectares) and has a massive collection of exotic and local plants.  Sadly we didn’t explore the whole gardens but we did get to see the Armstrong and Archery Lawns with their sculptures and enormous trees and finished with a stroll along the Avon River.

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We also visited the Spectrum Street Art Festival, a free exhibit at the YMCA.  The exhibit was really interesting with immersive art pieces as well as stand alone pieces.  If you fancy seeing more of this exhibit as well as Ant’s idea of Heaven (Alice in Videoland) then be sure to check out our video here.

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