Christchurch and Home

February 2017

The trip from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch was quite short (2.5 hours), but we were interested in how extensive the snow-scraped mountain tops and associated valleys were with nothing (including no vegetation) but a few ski huts. Then the Canterbury Plains, which were very dry, with every inch farmed.
Our Airbnb accommodation in Lyttelton, just south of Christchurch and one of the main South Island commercial harbours, was just wonderful. We had originally paid for a studio flat below our host's home, but she had apparently rented this out to a permanent tenant, so she allowed us to stay in her own home as she was away. The views over Lyttelton harbour offered yet another chance to capture changing light and we enjoyed a healthy home cooked meal, with vegies and meat purchased from a local supermarket. On the Saturday we enjoyed wandering through the local market stalls with lots of food and other goodies. Unfortunately, we could not indulge ourselves as we were returning to Sydney in the afternoon.
One of the reasons for an overnight in Christchurch was to revisit the city centre after the earthquake 6 years ago. I had been on a major review of Christchurch University in 2010, a year before the earthquake and had the opportunity then to walk around its historic precincts, the Avon River and Cathedral Square.
I had assumed that six years after the earthquake, rebuilding would have been substantially complete, but the centre of Christchurch was a construction site, with road closures, extra one-way streets, a few new buildings, many buildings boarded up but not yet demolished, others being demolished, glass facades still intact and the iconic Cathedral, West end totally open - gulls on the cross beams - East end less damaged. The vibrant Cathedral Square was non-existent, although several hardy folk continued to host food and other store outlets where they could, mostly from mobile vans. The arts precinct between the University and the City was somewhat less devastated, but many of the old stone buildings were obviously not occupied - no doubt not yet safe. All in all, it left one feeling enormously humbled by what the Christchurch citizens and visitors must have experienced during the major and subsequent smaller scale earthquakes. Our woes back in Glebe, with a little water ingress, pale into insignificance, to be tackled on our return.

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On 19 Mar 2017, 21:21.