Mon March 23 – Final Destination in NZ: Christchurch

Fairly uneventful day, driving from Dunedin to Christchurch which took 5-6 hours.  We stopped to see the Maoraki Boulders which were a bit of disappointment for several reasons, none of which I’ll go into here.

I found a patch of blue in the sky while waiting for Peter to photograph the boulders and hoped that my mother’s positive thinking would turn the patch into an actual pair of sailor’s trousers …. but we weren’t that lucky.  It was grey and cloudy all the way, although at least it didn’t rain.

Christchurch is smaller than we anticipated.  Population about 340,000 compared to Auckland’s 1.5 million.  Downtown where our hotel is located, the devastation from the earthquake 5 years ago is surprisingly visible.  There were about 130 people killed, but 100 of them worked in one building which completely collapsed in on itself.  The site is only about 2 blocks from our hotel – it has been cleared and a memorial erected in their memory.  There are quite a number of other building sites around here which are clearly under repair from the quake damage.  It was an 8.something quake so larger than the one in Haiti, but I must admit I don’t remember a tremendous amount of news coverage in Canada.

Big excitement tomorrow – I go in the morning to get my hair coloured (aka root touch-up) at the True Grit Hair Salon.  Will be interested to see how they do things here – stay tuned for pictures!  Peter will meanwhile be photographing to his heart’s content at the Christchurch Botanical Gardens.  We walked through this afternoon and they are absolutely wonderful – David, we thought of you and wished you could see them with us!

At 4:00pm tomorrow, we leave New Zealand and depart for OZ.   It’s a wonderful country and we are sad to leave it.  Tomorrow I’ll post some final thoughts on our time here.

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