To get to Christchurch we had to fly from Roturua to Wellington. This just gave us a day to see the amazing Te Papa museum and to walk up the incedibly steep hill to the botanic gardens.
Moving on we had and amazing journey taking the ferry to Picton and then the Coastal Explorer to Christchurch. We checked into our accommodation- a jailhouse. Our cell was tiny but very clean and comfortable.
The restored tram is a good way to see the centre as it loops round with a commentary.
The historic centre was badly hit by a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. 186 people died and 1500 buildings were destroyed. Many were demolished and there are still empty spaces but this city is rebuilding. While we were there the reSTART mall of shipping containers replaced some of the destroyed shops. This was always meant to be temporary but it lasted much longer than expected and has only just been dismantled to make way for a new farmers market. Somehow I don’t think that will be as much fun.
The tourist attraction we enjoyed most was Antartic Experience
Then another botanical garden – JP is brave about these, nowadays he even knows the name of some flowers. In Hagley Park the gardens are beautifully arranged and the museum cafe on the first floor overlooks them. The museum itself has a huge variety to keep you interested. The best bits were Christchurch Street, a view of the city in 1870 with a row of shops and the shell house. This house was the home of Fred and Myrtle who covered the walls in one thousand pava shells. So many people visited the house that in 2008 it was moved to the museum. you see a short video and then the actual house. This is a very New Zealand thing I’m not sure this would work anywhere else.
The cardboard cathedral is a symbol of renewal in the city. Designed by Shigeru Ban it was the first significant building opened after the earthquake. It is controversial among the religious community as it is made mostly of cardboard tubes but it is a beautiful and very cathedral like space.