This was to be our final stop in our tour of New Zealand and a little different because we were staying with relatives rather than in an Airbnb.  This meant that, not only did we have all the comforts of home, we had very generous and knowledgeable tour guides.

I am not sure if it was the layout of the city (very spread out compared to Auckland or Wellington that are defined by mountains and water) or the fact that we were driven around rather than map reading ourselves, but it is a city that is very hard to grasp geographically.  Except in the CBD, similar looking streets make it easy to get lost until you happen to come across the river, normally where you don’t expect it.

Christchurch still bears the visible scars from the deadly earthquake of February 2011.  The rebuilding work continues with stylish new buildings going up all over the centre.  There are still some sad looking building sites and abandoned buildings scattered around.

Progress has arguably been slower than expected, but there is a real sense of optimism in the city.

Highlights included the botanic gardens, the very English willow-lined river, and the funky vibe with many buskers and craft stalls.

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