After our memorable stay in Queenstown, it was time to move on to our next stop in Christchurch. It would be an 8hr bus journey with Intercity, but our driver was fantastic, keeping up a running commentary and making a stop so we could take in some breathtaking views towards Mt. Cook.
We arrived late afternoon and made our way to our extremely cool hostel, Jailhouse accommodation. It is a renovated former prison just outside of the city centre, with tons of original features and a fully preserved cell where you can check out the last inmate’s artwork and cell proportions.
Upon arrival we were informed of the rugby match taking place that evening between the Christchurch Crusaders and the Hurricanes, the top super rugby teams of the North and South Island. After a quick dinner we headed to the stadium and managed to get two of the last tickets available, not too expensive but also not together. Nevermind, the match was a great one to watch regardless!!!
For our first full day in Christchurch we started with a visit to the Botanic Gardens, a beautiful park in the city centre that includes the gondola-specked river and various themed-gardens. I’d been here 12yrs before with family, so it was vaguely familiar, though maybe a little more interesting this time around!
We walked round the area for a while until we found an appealing cafe, which we soon realised was packed because it was NZ Mother’s Day! We were lucky to get a table and grabbed some lunch and one of their speciality coffees – delicious!
Then we went back to the Canterbury Museum, honestly one of the best Musuems we have ever been to. It spanned the whole of NZ civilisation’s history and featured various displays, interactive sections, a replica settlement Christchurch st and costume gallery. We spent the best part of two hours here and could have spent longer if it hadn’t been closing time!
On our second day we walked through town to the more severely earthquake-hit area, which was so sad to see; the famous cathedral was in ruins and a lot of the surrounding buildings, hotels and shops were cordoned off or boarded up.
The re-start container mall nearby was really cool though, with retail shops housed in a temporary container village and offering shopping and food. Another quick walk around town and stop at our favourite local cafe was in order before heading back to cook a delicous and much-craved beef stew, warming our hearts and stomachs in equal measure!