Everything you have heard about Christchurch is exactly what it is. And by everything, I mean two things: the two earthquakes that devastated the city four years ago. In turn, they have made Christchurch one thing: an earthquake city. I am sad to say that as a visitor for half a day, that is precisely the impression Christchurch has given me.
Instead of navigating through people on the sidewalks, we navigated through fences. Much of the time we had to cross the roads when sidewalks were closed off, which was fairly easy when only the occasional group of cars drove by.
The way to identify our hostel was the fact that it had green netting around the scaffolding rather than just being surrounded by metal. The remains of the iconic Christchurch Cathedral, sums up what much of the city looks like.
Thankfully there are a few places in Christchurch pleasant enough to explore.
The Re:Start Mall is probably the most popular attraction in Christchurch for the unique idea of making a shopping mall out of shipping containers. It is a symbol of the city on the mend, and likely the only good thing that’s come out of the earthquakes. Once Christchurch is back on its feet, this will no doubt still be a quirky attraction.
Not far from the container mall are the Botanic Gardens. This is a busier part of the city and for good reason. Walking around the various themed gardens, such as the rose garden and the New Zealand garden, its easy to forget you are in an broken urban jungle.
A visit to Christchurch feeds the curiosity. That is over with quickly, especially as you move out of the city where the construction work becomes denser. The highlight of following the little river to Christchurch’s inner city was this: