Finally, a bit of a lazier day, I was not up at the crack of dawn to go touring, but was able to sleep in. I didn’t leave the hotel (Ibis) until well after 9, when I went to find some breakfast. I ended up at the excellent Hummingbird Cafe in the Re:Start Mall, which was just one block away from where I was staying. I had a delicious bacon, egg and tomato toasted sandwich, and, it being such a glorious morning, ate outside. The Re:Start Mall is made up of shipping crates converted into shops, so after I finished eating, I had a look around there, as well as at the Saturday Market in the street, and then to the other Saturday Market in Gloucester Boulevard. After that, I went to the Canterbury Museum, on the outskirts of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Then I went punting along the River Avon, something I’ve not done before, but it was wonderfully fun and relaxing, especially as there the River winds through the Botanic Gardens. Then it was time for lunch, which I ate at the cafe on the River, then went for a stroll through the beautiful Botanic Gardens. After that, I went for a walk through Christchurch itself, but one can really only do that for so long, as it is quite depressing. Almost everything is either boarded up, fenced up, covered in scaffolding or shipping crates or is simply gone. It looks a lot like Europe did after WWII. But it is obvious that the people of Christchurch are trying to move on, so it’s sort of positive, but it’s still a bit depressing. Despite that, definitely worth the visit.
A quick note on Christchurch and the destruction: Christchurch is more or less divided east and west by the River Avon. Everything on the east of the river is reclaimed swampland, whereas the west is solid ground. When the earthquake hit a couple of years ago, the east, reclaimed land pretty much just fell apart, whereas the west shook and rumbled a little, but it pretty much entirely safe and intact. So half of Christchurch looks completely normal. The other half is a demolition zone.