South Pacific, Travel

A Friendly Ghost Town: Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch from above











Founded in 1850, Christchurh is famous for its Botanic Gardens with plants and flowers from all over the world where it’s information center is located. Built over a swap, the majority of the terrain is flat, unique for New Zealand cities.

It has become infamous for the 2011 earthquakes that still leaves the city looking like a ghost town. Buildings are abandoned, glass is still shattered, graffiti is everywhere, but the locals are not giving up. Roads on the waterfront used to be flat but the earthquake caused ripples. I had a waiter who expects that in 5 years, the city will be back to its old, beautiful and lively self.

Taking a day tour, I was able to take the new and approved gondola ride that showed the city and its surrounding beaches and mountains. While the gondola was fine after the earthquakes, the sprinklers broke so 22,000 liters of water was sprayed out. It took a year for it to be cleaned out. The trams are back working after 1000 days of being out of service.

There are 185 chairs spread on a block as a remembrance to those who died during the fatal earthquakes. The population used to be 400,000 but after the earthquakes, people left and it is now 300,000 but growing. My experience in Christchurch was an eery feeling but the people were very friendly and diverse. From the three cab drivers I ended up having, they were from Afghanistan, China and Ethiopia.

Would I recommend visiting Christchurch? Yes but wait until 2020 or later. Until then, they are working hard to make it the garden city it once was. Christchurch Church


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