Antarctica, airplanes and earthquakes
So for the past two days we’ve been chilling in Christchurch. We’d heard from a Couchsurfer in Auckland who had been studying in Christchurch that the town centre was like a third world country due to the recent earthquakes that struck tragedy right through the heart of the city. Aside from a small section of the city centre and some outer suburbs we, thankfully, did not find this to be the case. The city was vibrant and full of life and the people are still some of the kindest we’ve met even with the constant threat of more quakes (we managed to sleep through a 3.5 graded ground shaker). A good example of its vibrancy was the Icefest that we came across whilst on our way to make use of the free parking at the Botanic gardens (we parked here yesterday and today saving ourselves the $3 an hour fee everywhere else in the city).
The Icefest was a festival dedicated to celebrating Christchurch’s role in Antarctic exploration and the history of its discovery. We learnt a lot from the free boards about people like Shakleton and Scott and some of the artefacts they had on display were incredible. Sadly though most of the exhibitions had a cost and so being strapped for cash we decided to skip over these.
We had good fun in the Gardens during the time we spent there over the two days. There was an astounding array of different areas for what was quite a small space and we spent a relaxing couple of hours exploring them. There are also various sculptures around each section giving an idea of what to expect such as the giant rose outside the rose gardens. Having done all our exploring on the first day, the second day after the short lived Icefest we headed straight for one of the grassy areas and promptly fell asleep surrounded by tranquillity and peace.
Alex had noticed on one of the maps the RNZAF museum and so after a bit of begging we went to see some old boys toys. We got there just in time to go on a one hour Behind the Scenes tour, which brought a light to Alex’s inner soul. Rach did however enjoy some of it as we were led around the ongoing restoration projects and other finished pieces that wouldn’t fit into the museum. After the tour we only had an hour left to run around the museum looking at all the planes, set off alarms (Rach), make pretend machine gun noises (Alex) and have a dance to wartime music (both guilty). It was a really well thought out place with just the right number of aircraft and brilliant info to accompany them. We were having such a good time that we had to be almost dragged out by one of the museum staff come closing!
And along with the closing of the museum our time in Christchurch has come to an end and so onward, ever onward, to Tekapo.
Rex’s Rules of the Road
- The only place we could find any free parking was in the Botanic gardens.
- Be careful of the one way system in the city centre, we found it challenging at times.
- Because of the earthquake damage, if you’re going anytime soon be aware that there may be road closures to navigate around.