- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
When I first arrived in Christchurch during my journey through New Zealand, my first impression was shock at discovering the complete destruction of the downtown area, giving a sensation of an abandoned ghost town, which was reinforced by the stores that were left as they were found with mannequins dressed in the clothes that were on sale when the earthquake struck. Gradually, as I explored the town, my first impressions faded and changed. Christchurch is a pleasant city and, here and there, new construction projects are coming to fruition, in particular the creation of a shopping mall made from brightly colored shipping containers.
When I was in Christchurch, there was a photographic expedition located in the national museum, dedicated to the effects of the literal seismic shock that ripped through the city. The images give visitors the ability to grasp the real progress that has been made since then. The neighborhood also includes a number of old buildings that are worth seeing, as well as a small craft market that offers lots of pretty items, particularly wooden carvings.
Having stayed in Christchurch during the winter, I had a chance to take a walk along Sumner Beach, which is very popular on weekends. If you visit the city in summer, stop off there for a spot of sunbathing! A little further north, New Brighton provided an opportunity to perfect my fishing technique from the pier.
My visit to Christchruch left a long lasting impression on me, in view of how severely the city was affected by the earthquake in February 2011. Today, the city is being completely rebuilt, while the ruins of numerous buildings bear witness to the force of the earthquake, which also killed 182 people.
Following the advice of friends from New Zealand, I followed the Christchurch Rebuild Tour, a bus tour with a commentary that takes you through the "Red Zone", the area most severely affected by the earthquake. I highly recommend this very informative tour, which doesn't feel at all voyeuristic, to get an insight into the impact of this tragic event, and to learn more about the many reconstruction projects that are happening in the city.
I enjoyed spending a few hours wandering in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, a beautiful, thirty-hectare park in the heart of downtown. For a romantic getaway,, make sure you don't miss the chance to take a boat trip on the River Avon.
The two times that I went to New Zealand, I arrived in Christchurch. The first time was right after the earthquake, and the city center was completely closed to the public. The city was in bad shape, but the following year, in 2014, it had regained some of its glory.
In Christchurch, there are still some Re:start containers that house some trendy designers and restaurants that I like to browse, like the area around the cathedral with the tram that resumed service while the cathedral itself awaits its fate. Finally, don't forget to visit the very interesting art museum of Maori culture. I also really like the waterfront, less affected by the earthquake, where you can take nice walks and finish up in a good restaurant.