We chose to opt for the 12 hour bus ride from Queenstown to Christchurch (rather than the shorter 7 hour version.. this was a bad decision!). The reasoning behind it was to see Mount Cook and the beautiful scenery around it which we hadn’t seen in its entirety on the way to Queenstown. Unfortunately the weather was rubbish and we couldn’t see Mount Cook at all, the bus ride was so long and the driver had a keener interest in farming and irrigation than we would have liked….
Getting to Christchurch in the evening was a bit daunting- due to the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 a lot of city centre looks like a building site at first glance. We got to our apartment and it felt as if there was nothing around us. It was only when we started exploring the city over the next couple of days that we started to see its artistic side. According to our bus driver (when we weren’t talking about farming) artists have flocked to Christchurch since the earthquake to help revitalise the city. As a result throughout there’s art installations, pop up shops and restaurants all a bit reminiscent of Box Park in Shoreditch. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures but I did visit the old Cathedral, the Cardboard cathedral and the moving memorial for those who lost their lives in the earthquake -185 chairs for each of the people who died, it left me in tears.
We had friends visiting Christchurch (who currently live in Wellington) so we met up, had tasty brunches (New Zealanders do amazing brunch, it’s a fact!) had dinner on the Christchurch team (which does a loop of eight round the city while you enjoy a three course meal – not the most exciting of views but it was fun and I enjoyed the food). We hired a car to drive around the surrounding area, visiting Littleton (for brunch, naturally!) and Acaroa. Acaroa is about 75km from Christchurch, a beautiful twisty drive and is described as a historic British and French settlement. Indeed some of the street names and restaurants had French names! Sarcasm aside, although it didn’t feel so French to me it was a really pretty town with a beautiful bay so we had a drink by the water and grabbed some dinner. We also found a fudge shop – we got sucked into trying it and she was so generous with the amount of free samples we were given we just had to buy some! Oldest trick in the book but it worked as we left Acaroa full and happy, listening to Faithless on the drive back to Christchurch. I was already starting to feel sad that our time in New Zealand was almost over…

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