The week away begun very early on a chilly Christchurch morning. Sadly, due to the pursuit of cheap airfares, our flight from Melbourne dumped us in Christchurch at the ripe hour of 5AM local time. As we were planning on hiring a car, we had the lovely task of waiting around until 8:30AM when the car hire opened. Given that during the flight over I had little to no sleep, I can only liken those painful hours to an already dying flower wilting in the intense gaze of the Summer sun. Ok, that's perhaps a little bit dramatic but I was not in a great way for the rest of the day. In fact, once we got the car, I pretty much slept the rest of the day. I believe my parents somehow made it out to a market that morning but I can scarcely remember. It was only later that day I really woke up after a good few hours in the car and the motel. My cousins also arrived from Brisbane later that afternoon (considerably more awake) and finally I felt like my holiday had started.
The next day we finally got out to exploring central Christchurch (which in reality isn't that big and wasn't far from where we were staying). As many would recall, Christchurch was sadly rocked by a few significant earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 and whilst the city is slowly getting back onto its feet, 3 years on, progress has been slow to say the least. Many of the buildings remain abandoned due to safety concerns, and many areas of the city which would once have been incredibly vibrant, were desolate and deserted. It's a shame, because everywhere were reminders of how beautiful and lively the city once was. Here's to hoping that the city of Christchurch continues to push through what has obviously been a very tough time for the city. Below are some photos of what a lot of the city looks like presently.
Regardless of the damage and general decrepit state of the city, I very much enjoyed exploring central Christchurch on the first day, but I would have to admit there isn't a whole lot to do or see at the moment.
We also drove down to the small town of Akaroa, which is a historic French and British settlement. However, they seem to have taken this label a little too seriously, with us coming across aptly named attractions such as: "Le Mini Golf" and "La Thai". Still it was nice to see (as well as a good laugh). The town was sadly deserted when we got there (late afternoon), with very little open at the time, thus thwarting our plans to eat dinner there, which saw us return to Christchurch for our last evening.
This wrapped up our two full days in Christchurch and the surrounding areas, after which we moved onto Lake Tekapo and eventually Queenstown, which will be the topic of future parts!
(If you want a different perspective on the trip, check out my sister's blog here, which is admittedly more up to date than mine!)