Better late than never

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, April 21, 2011

A day late we finally made it to Christchurch. We pre-booked a shuttle, checked in online and set our alarm extra early just in case. 

The main reason us missing the flight the day before was an inconvenience was because we were meeting my good friend Laura in Christchurch, who had partly planned her holiday to coincide with Kevin and me.  As there is not much to do in Christchurch at the moment because the area of the city that houses most of the tourist 'sites' is no longer accessible due to the earthquake in February, Laura had used her extra time to take a trip to Akaroa so we had the afternoon to get settled, sort ourselves out and start to write blog entries for Australia (in classy MacDonald’s as they have free wifi!!), which we had neglected whilst we were there.  We also wandered around the ‘red zone’ perimeter, i.e. the central city area, which has some of the most badly affected buildings from the quake and is still considered unsafe to open to the public.  Some of the damage is far worse than we expected, and the 5.8 aftershock 2 days before we arrived had actually caused more damage to buildings that were already in a delicate state.  We had only been sitting on the bed in our hostel for about 10 minutes when we felt our own little aftershock. 

The one part of the city that is open are the Botanical Gardens so we went for a walk around them the next afternoon.  They are very beautiful and peaceful, although compared to what we were used to it was freezing and so we didn’t wander around maybe as long as we should have!  On the way out of the park we reached a road which had apparently been shut a couple of days earlier according to Laura.  From there we could see more easily into the city centre than from the other check points.  I don’t think we had expected that level of damage still to be visible, I think mainly because the New Zealand government are advertising that the city is open to tourists, but it is destroyed still, which is very sad. 

We were very excited to go and collect our campervan having enjoyed it so much in Australia and because we wanted to get going seeing more of New Zealand.  We were a little shocked when our campervan was little more than a car but we decided it would be an adventure to camp in the smallest van ever, and with the awning it’s not that small is it?!?

After an hour of deliberation as to whether we wanted to upgrade to a bigger van (we decided no) it was quite late when we were leaving Christchurch so we couldn’t make it too far.  We drove to the coast along the scenic route to a place called Akaroa.  It was stunning scenery and we’re very excited about what’s to come next.  Our great planning skills meant that we had arranged to pick up our van on Good Friday and no shops here are allowed to open on Good Friday so we had no food for our first night….not to worry….off budget and a nice meal in Akaroa! Great start to our NZ camping adventure!
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Laura on

Highlight of my whole NZ trip - I made it into the blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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