Christchurch used to be the second most populous city in New Zealand (after Auckland), but following the 2011 earthquake which killed 185 people and caused the destruction/demolition of over 1000 buildings, over 10,000 inhabitants left Christchurch. Wellington main urban area is now the second most populous place, with Christchurch taking third place. Although many buildings have been rebuilt, work is still ongoing and I felt there is still a sense of loss.
But there is also hope. We were there as Diwali was being celebrated in Cathedral Square and it had a great community feel. The people here seem to be really friendly too - someone even thanked me for waiting my turn in a queue at an ATM!
Canterbury Museum is probably the best free museum we’ve ever been to. From the history of New Zealand and its birdlife to the ’Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ and ‘Dogs in Antarctica’ exhibitions, we could have spent all day there (and probably would have if I had let Sam read everything he wanted to read!)
My favourite part of Christchurch has to be the botanical gardens. Here are just a few of the hundreds of flowers and trees they have there.
The water was really clear too so we could watch the ducks as they swam underwater.
I’m glad we made the time to visit Christchurch before starting vanlife again tomorrow when we pick up our camper!