The devastation of the Christchurch earthquake from 2011 is still impacting the city today. Although significant progress has been made, I was very surprised to see how much work still remained. Despite all of that, Christchurch has made great use of art and innovative ideas to move forward. Here are some of the interesting things to see and do around Christchurch.
While walking around Christchurch, it is impossible to ignore the damage caused by the earthquake; however the city has covered up much of the destruction with art. The art really enhances the city’s look, and it helps you look past the rubble to see the underlying beauty, as the people continue to put their lives back together.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Avon River
The Avon River runs through the center of Christchurch, adding a nice, natural feel to the city. A walk along the river takes you through the main parts of the city, or you can take to the water with a kayak or a punt boat hire (think a flat boat being pushed by a man with a pole). The Christchurch Botanic Gardens are one of the top attractions in the city. They are very large and cover a wide range of plant types. The garden is a nice blend of open park areas and targeted gardens, such as a rose garden and a garden with plants from New Zealand.
Shopping and Dining
The city’s retail and entertainment scene appear to have recovered nicely from the earthquake. There are plenty of vibrant and active streets that offer many options for dining, shopping, and, of course, coffee. One of the coolest parts of town is a food and retail section that has been built entirely out of shipping containers you might find on a barge. You can grab some homemade frozen yogurt (sorry, it’s not hun cal froyo) or have a nice meal in an outside cafe. We ate at the Hummingbird Cafe and enjoyed our meals very much. Street cars travel throughout the city, giving you easy access to all of the sights. With all that is going on in the city, Christchurch maintains a quiet and laid back atmosphere.
Mountains and the Sea
Christchurch is located close to mountains, and the sea is not far away. There are some really nice coastal areas to explore in the region, such as the Akaroa and Banks Peninsulas. You can follow a walking trail or take a gondola ride up to the top of one of the mountains to get some great views of the city and the surrounding areas.