166 Orchard Road, Harewood, Christchurch
A trip to New Zealand wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Christchurch – the South Island’s largest city. Walking the streets, you’ll quickly see a strong English influence evident in the city’s architecture. Past tragedies, however, have forced the locals to adopt a more creative approach with some of the city’s most recent developments.
Ace are a short 5-minute drive from Christchurch Airport and offer a free shuttle service for collection and drop off.
You see, Christchurch has withstood two major blows to its infrastructure as a result of the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. While many buildings were destroyed in the city centre during the last magnitude 6.3 quake, those who chose to remain behind have displayed a resilience and resourcefulness in building Christchurch back up into a vibrant community.
Check out this unique destination for yourself and start with the below list for some must-see attractions.
This small, yet alternative museum aims to explore the impact the earthquakes had on the inhabitants of New Zealand. Instead of being morbid or grim, the carefully curated exhibits focus on the heroism, tenacity, courage and resourcefulness of those who responded to the disaster.
Marvel at the shipping container shantytown constructed from the very same containers used as temporary housing during the worst of the earthquake recovery. Understand the geographical consequences and causes of the quakes and listen to personal accounts of those who lived through the disasters. You’ll also get a chance to look upon the ruined railway station clock and Christchurch Cathedral – reminders of the destructive power of the quake.
You’ll soon see why Christchurch is sometimes referred to as the ‘garden city.’ The sprawling Hagley Park takes up a large chunk of the city centre and offers many winding paths for those interested in a comfortable nature stroll. Nestled in the park’s heart is the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Encircled on three sides by New Zealand’s trademark crystal clear rivers, this garden offers a bounty of sights and smells.
Check out the garden’s impressive restored peacock fountain and stunning collection of native and exotic plants from around the world. Make sure you also show your respects by visiting the memorial wall along the riverbank with all 185 names of the earthquake victims etched into the marble.
Christchurch’s markets played a vital role after the last earthquake in providing locals with food and supplies after many supermarkets were forced to close. It also offered a safe place for families to come together and stay in touch with their communities. Today, the importance of these markets is no less evident in the sprawling 300 stalls that spring up every Sunday. Snag yourself some fresh produce, local hand-made goodies, second-hand wares and more.
Finish off your stay in lovely Christchurch with the 862-meter cable car ride up to the peak of Mt Cavendish. On a clear day, you’ll be greeted with panoramic views across Canterbury, the Alps, the city itself and the Pacific Ocean way in the distance.
Christchurch is a city strengthened from its past and it’s this sense of community and resilience that make it a destination well worth visiting.
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