So, I have heard a couple of things about Christchurch. Firstly, it was badly hit by an Earthquake in 2010 (which I don't recall at all, so I must have been living under a rock at the time) and secondly that as a result of the Earthquake, the city is still essentially a ghost town.
I planned to stay here for one night, the bus arrived in the early afternoon and we left again the next morning headed for Kaikoura (this is the stop I have really been looking forwards to because it is here that I plan to swim with wild dolphins!!!!)
We checked into our hostel and couple of girls and I decided to go for a walk and explore. At first it didn't seem as drier as I had anticipated. The roads still looked like roads, buildings were still intact...this soon changed as we entered the Central CPD of Christchurch. This is where the reality of the situation became a lot more transparent, we were walking through the shell of a broken city. The further we ventured into the town centre, the more damage we came across - empty building, shut down shops, construction sights dotted everywhere.
It was a sad sight and a stark contrast to the pristine and untouched beauty that I had so far encountered all over New Zealand, however, my feelings of empathy and melancholy for this broken city were slowly replaced by those of hope and determination. The more I absorbed the environment around me, the more I realised that this city was fighting to find it's way back to it's former glory. This was particularly the case when I arrived at the Re:Start block, an area which is dedicated to bringing hope back into the city. Big colourful shipping crates are being used to provide businesses such as restaurants, bars and shops with working space. This area is both functional and funky and injects life into the heart of Christchurch.
My time here was limited and I have to admit, it is not a place I would choose to go back to, but it was interesting to see a different side to New Zealand and to be exposed to the effects of an earthquake which (fortunately) was a first experience for me.
Next stop - Kaikoura!