Blogs from Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch March 25th 2019

The women painting the hoarding were wearing headscarves. Practical, maybe, keeping off the sun. But so too were the volunteers working in the Transitional “cardboard” Cathedral. And women in business suits out for their morning coffee. And women pushing prams and out with their friends. Scarves that would usually simply ‘accessorise’ an outfit were now draped over heads, regardless of the wearers’ ethnicity. One week on from a mass shooting that horrified the world, Christchurch was coming together again, as it had done in the aftermath of the seemingly never-ending spate of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the prime minister’s words, “We are one. They are us,” very much alive. This wasn’t some kind of ghoulish rubber-necking on my part, though I was painfully conscious of the potential accusation. Since planning my visa-driven long weekend away ... read more
Friday prayers one week on
icons of Christchurch past and present

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch February 22nd 2019

We arrived at our hotel in Christchurch around 5 pm and walked to the city through it’s beautiful Botanical Gardens. Kiwis are welcoming and friendly people and we chatted with a few that told us about their corner of the world. Christchurch is still very much rebuilding from the destructive eathquacks that devastated the city between 2011-2013... New buildings can’t be built more than 7 stories high. On our way back to our hotel we walked through the Lantern festival.... Tomorrow we head to Queenstown via Mt Cook! ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch December 1st 2018

We arrived in Christchurch at about 3.30am. Security in New Zealand is very strict about bringing food, especially fruit, because of certain diseases they can carry. You are therefore not allowed to enter the country with fruits. We had eaten bananas on the plane but, when we walked past the dog, he sniffed something in my bag. The border police checked my bag and it turned out the dog was smelling the banana bread (which I was allowed to have!) so they let us go. We took an Uber to our hostel, Kiwi Basecamp. After a quick shower, we got into the cramped and smelly room that was to be our dormitory. By that time, it was about 5am and we got some sleep (although not much) before going for a walk through the park and ... read more
View from Mount Cavendish (Lyttelton side)
View from Mount Cavendish (Lyttelton side)
View from Mount Cavendish (Christchurch city side)

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch November 29th 2018

I'm really sorry about not regularly sending out blogs, but we have such full days, by the time we get back to our room I am exhausted. After researching, I have determined that I have bronchitis. Its much worse at night, so I am hacking and coughing thru the night. Hence not much sleep. I am still doing all of the activities, though. We didn't do a lot in Christchurch. We did a bus tour of the city and looked at all of the rebuilding from the 2011 earthquake. The next morning we boarded a train thru the southern Alps to Arthurs Pass. We then reboarded our bus for a trip along the coast and took a side trip up to the Franz Josef Glacier.... read more
from the train
Stacy on the train
On the way to Franz Josef

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch November 24th 2018

(Cj writes) We drove from Kaikoura (sleepy, nature-tourist-oriented, fish and chip restaurants) to Christchurch (‘ChCh’) today through the ridiculously green and vertiginous hills and narrow valleys of South Island. ChCh suffered a devastating earthquake in 2011, from which it is still recovering. (How severe? apparently South Island is now 5 metres closer to North Island!). We knew this, yet we were still taken aback by the sheer number of empty lots in the city centre. Now grassed over, or used as car parking, they remain a stark reminder of the human impact of the quake: about 80% of city centre buildings have been or are due for demolition. Many more buildings - some venerable, some much more recent - are propped up to a greater or lesser extent. The newer ones in particular may be destined ... read more
Very typical street scene
What remains of the old PwC building
The tram tracks run through our hotel building

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch August 15th 2018

South Island Sensation – New Zealand, July 2018 After my recent visit to Auckland and the North Island, I couldn’t wait to visit the southern one to experience the differences in these incredible South Pacific Islands. From wildlife to wineries, from glacial valleys to star-filled skies…. nature’s best flourishes against a palette of dramatic scenes. Here, towering alps meet peaceful sounds and rugged coastlines merge with sweeping plains. And let’s not forget the backbone of this island…. the most down-to-earth locals you will ever meet, anywhere For a new experience, I flew on a Delta partner airline – Virgin Australia. It’s a direct flight from Los Angeles to Brisbane and after a short stopover there, on to Christchurch. I couldn’t have picked a better departure date: starting today for the next 4 days, Las Vegas will ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch July 14th 2018

Another cold and clear morning. The amount of frost around suggests we might of had a zero overnight. A local suggests that frost means a sunny clear day ahead. We only notice the extent of the frost when we hit the playground after breakfast. A delightful brecky at Caffeine Laboratory - occupying the corner on a row of heritage listed shops still beingh supported by scaffolding - reminds Jules of the old Continental Cafe on Brunswick St. The kids struggle to finish the one of the sweetest breakfasts I've ever seen and we head to the nearby playground to burn off some of the excessive sugar they've just ingested. It's the kid's second visit to the Margaret Mahy Family playground and the biggest playground in the southern hemisphere tops the list of Christchurch attractions on TripAdvisor ... read more
Deaks under Lutea.
Milla Mural.
Street Deaks

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch April 1st 2018

Popped into a pub early in the morning to watch the Joshua v Parker heavy weight title fight. Then went up the Gondola that overlooks the area. Later we took the short city tram ride.... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch March 31st 2018

This was a very poignant part of the trip for me (Scott) as I'd visited Christchurch in 2003. However, the earthquakes in 2010 to 2012 have taken their toll on the city. 70% of all the buildings in the central business district had been impacted by the quake!! Incredible. So many old buildings are still awaiting renovation but there are very very many new building projects in progress or completed. The cost of this is quite staggering. 185 people killed in the quakes. Typical cost of a new building NZ$100,000,000 to NZ$200,000,000 Typical cost to renovate an old building NZ$300,000,000 The stories on video (in the Quake City Museum) of various people's experiences were very moving. They just reiterate to live your life in the now as it could all change very very quickly.... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch March 30th 2018

I have been looking forward to today. We are taking the TranzAlpine train - a 150 mile coast to coast journey through the Southern Alps to Christchurch. Time to pack. We don’t have much stuff; there are 15 occasions on this trip when we are restricted to one case and one piece of hand luggage. But in between, it seems to grow and fill every available space. Our train is at 2 pm, so we have 4 hours to kill in Greymouth. This would be a challenge on a normal day, but today is Good Friday. LP lists two things to do and they’re both shut. Greymouth made its wealth from coal mining but the mines are closed now so it’s rather a sorry place. We head for Coal Heritage Park. There are a selection of ... read more
Greymouth sunrise
Greymouth miners memorial
Greymouth drill bits




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