We left Springfield onto our last stop in Christchurch only an hours drive away, the mountain ranges disappeared and the town life started to appear. We seam to pass Huge retail parks on both sides then houses all bungalow style no town houses or two story buildings. Rows and rows of houses all shapes and sizes none the same all different shapes and colours. Some wooden some brick some metal clad. It seemed weird coming into civilisation. We instantly missed the mountain ranges and perfect views. We parked up in Christchurch town and wondered into town a busy bustling place. With old fashion trams passing by. The deviation from the earthquake in 2011 was still very prominent, half fallen buildings and memorials and building work going on. A amazing range of graffiti art on the walls some of which was in such a massive scale and beautiful, I could just spend all day looking at that. We found the cathedral standing proud from the back and completely fallen at the front a very sad sight. It will take 10 years to rebuild and this will start in April this year. You could feel a heavy oppression in the air and the town felt sad, even with the new birth and redevelopment going on. We walked to the cardboard cathedral a specifically made building made from huge tubes of cardboard covering an iron frame with a plastic cover over the top, A huge triangle Perspex window made from the images from the original rose stained glass from the real cathedral hangs over the entrance it was beautiful. When I stepped through into the main building I was instantly overcome by the feeling of sadness it hung heavy in my heart and I shed a tear. I sat quietly and said a prayer. Such an amazing space build for such a sad destruction. We stayed for a while and talked to the staff we want to take the cardboard influence to Glastonbury festival. Even the choir stands were made from cardboard tubing. We wondered past the memorial for the 185 people who died, an area made from all different chairs painted white. All I could think of was the line in the song from les mis empty chairs and empty tables. It was very poignant.
We wondered on to a cafe next to the river Avon! Has some lunch joe and Sarah went off shopping and we boarded a tram sightseeing around the town. Thomas was asked to start the tram by jumping up and down on the bell twice , we did this 3 more times throughout the journey. We stopped off and had ice cream the kiwi love a brand named hokey pokey it was delicious vanilla ice cream with chunks of chocolate and honeycomb the best ice cream I’ve ever had with warm melted chocolate in the bottom of the cone. We wondered back to the car and headed to our next motel for the night, strathern motor lodge, lovely rooms very comfortable. We went out for supper and found a lovely Italian restaurant, afterwards rob and I drove to the beach whilst Thomas has some brotherly football time and hijacked Joe and Sarah’s giant spa bath! The sun was setting over new Brighton beach it was huge and it went on as far as the eye could see. The tide was in, and we dipped our toes in the Pacific ocean, it was lovely with the sent of the sea. We stayed for a while. I picked up a few shells. No sandflies here thank goodness and I haven’t been bitten today so that’s an achievement.
Rob and I both feel like we have passed through loads of different states in America , old Orleans , Wild West , Daytona, Florida etc it’s so Americanised that we wondered what is the native new Zealand style ! we have really enjoyed our road trip and we are not as tired as we thought we would be moving from place to place, however we are welcoming the last 3 nights in the bay of plenty to rest and stop moving. Tomorrow we fly back to the north island on the 3pm flight to Aukland.
We have loved Queenstown I think that was my favourite stop with Franz Joseph second. I don’t like the bustle Christchurch and not that keen on city living after being in the outback! Only 6 nights left In this wonderful land. So we are going to make the most of it .