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Published: March 19th 2018
Our motel faces the ocean so I get up early and go for a sunrise run along the coast. It’s very pretty but there’s no footpath so much of my attention is focused on avoiding being run over.
After breakfast we set off for Christchurch. The earthquake damage to the highway out of town is extensive. We have several miles of one way temporary road to negotiate with the help of very smiley ‘stop/go’ ladies. We’re taken through in a convoy led by a pilot vehicle. In several places the road has obviously fallen off the cliff and some of the temporary tunnels are a bit too temporary looking for my liking.
We finally reach Christchurch and head for the gondola ride up Mt Cavendish for a view across the city. It’s a 1 km ride to the summit and it’s a great view. You can see Christchurch and the ocean on one side and mountains and lakes on the other. There is also a Time Tunnel ride through the history of Christchurch. It’s like an educational ghost train. We reach the 1850s when the ride breaks down and we have to be rescued and escorted to safety. After
a brief wait at the Big Bang, we are reseated and head off into the time tunnel again. We break down just before the present day, lose interest and go in search of lunch. Time travelling is hungry work.
We check into our motel and walk into town. I’m not sure what to expect. My guide book talks a lot about earthquake damage and ruined buildings but has already proven itself to be terribly out of date. For example, it is unclear on the future of the cathedral; there has been a huge debate on whether to replace or rebuild it. Our hotel receptionist explains that it will be rebuilt – taken down stone by stone and built again from scratch.
We start with a walk through the Botanic Gardens. Just the right pretty flora to weird sculpture ratio. There are still some lovely displays of roses and bedding plants despite the fact that autumn is officially only a day away.
Then on to Cathedral Square where the devastation caused by earthquakes of 2011 is very apparent. The cathedral itself, which was badly damaged, doesn’t look too bad as we approach from the side, but when we
reach the front there is very little left.
We return to our motel for a fun evening catching up with our laundry whilst drinking a rather nice bottle of Hawke’s Bay rose. Due to a number of factors (namely my focus on the rose combined with my lack of assertiveness in the claiming of tumble dryer rights) by the time the laundry closes, every piece of clothing we own is clean but wet and we eat our Chinese takeaway in a room which resembles a Chinese laundry.
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