After over a decade of living in Australia, I finally got to cross the Tasman Sea and visited Christchurch in New Zealand. It was a work trip and I only had 26 hours to spend there. I surely made most out of it.
Christchurch was very badly damaged during the 2011 earthquake which killed 185 people and severely damaged 45% of all CBD buildings. As a result Christchurch lost 1/3 of its population over the past 6 years. It is currently considered the third most expensive natural disaster by insurance companies. There is still a lot of rebuilding work going on.
Here is a quick summary of my trip.
Uber for business. My trip started with taking a ride in Gureng’s car to the international airport. The consulting firm that I am working with uses Uber for business instead of taxis. It was my first experiene with the ride share company and for 40% less of the normal taxi fare I highly recommend it. I loved the visibility I had on the process from who was coming to pick me up to when my driver will pull into the drive way. Mostly I enjoyed that I didn’t have to do an expense claim as it was all taken care off by the Uber for business account.
Ramada hotel. This hotel is conveniently located 5min from the CBD on Tuam Street. I had a lovely quiet room with a small kitchenette and views to the city. Staff is friendly and there is free wifi.
Walk around the city. It is very easy to walk around the city and safe to do so in the dark. It is a bit eery as most buildings are either to be demolished, still under contstruction or empty blocks. There are few dining areas which have quaint coffee shops and bars. Below is a photo of the famous Cathedral Square.
For kids. Margaret Mahy Family Playground is one of the most popular hang outs for kids. It was reopened in 2015 after consultation with playground experts from around the world. The 2.5-acre playground is divided into four areas which reflect’s local varied landscape: forest, coast, plains and wetlands.
Breakfast. Hello Sunday Cafe is the place to go for yummy breakfast and delicious coffee. It’s a quaint coffee shop on Elgin Street in the suburb of Sydenham about 25min walk from the city. The atmosphere is cosy and staff are very friendly. Look at this amazingly presented toast!
Lunch or dinner. I am usually not a burger or fast food fan but Burgerfuel on Hereford Street really got me. Perhaps it was the cold weather. Their burgers are tasty and very affordable. I highly recommend their kumara fries (or sweet potatoe chips for Australians) with housemade alioli which were absolutely delicious.
Earthquakes. New Zealand is situated in the convergent boundary of the Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic plates and therefore earthquakes are a frequent occurrence. I even managed to experience a mini-earthquake during my 26 hour stay. It was only of weak intensity with a magnitude 2. If my friend hadn’t told me I would have had mistaken it for cracking walls.
Overall, I had a lovely and relaxing stay in Christchurch. People were very friendly and it was nice to escape the big city hustle of Brisbane. I hope to be back soon and perhaps I can squeeze in some skiing with the family in Mt Hut.