Refined and Manicured
We travelled further south of Kaikoura to the city of Christchurch. It's about a 3 hour bus ride along the eastern coast of New Zealand's south island. The road meanders along miles of amazing coastline. We will only be in Christchurch for one night so that we can catch the first flight out to Queenstown. Christchurch is New Zealand's 2nd largest city and it's said to be it's most British-looking.
Christchurch was devasted by a 6.3 earthquake just under a year ago. The city center was hit hard and the entire area is fenced off. Visitors were there to see the destruction, which was all-around. Entire homes and buildings demolished leaving behind empty lots. The closest we could get to the destruction were cracks in the ground.
With no access to the heart of the city center the streets were eerily empty and felt like it was the end of the world.
Amidst the destruction there was re-building. Cranes hovered high above the sky-line. Without any structures to conduct business the citizens of Christchurch turned to using shipping crates. These crates were converted to banks, eateries, bars, and yes even malls! We had happy hour at a shipping crate converted to a bar and the special was $5 bears for the 5.0 magnitude quake.
The city was still getting aftershocks in the high 5's including a couple of back to back ones just the day before we arrived. When we checked into our room the reception lady told us to pack a small bag next to our beds in case of an emergency and even refused to use the elevator when she was showing us to our room. Happy to say we left Christchurch without feeling any earthquakes!