Gardens probably aren’t what you’d associate with Christchurch given the terrible earthquakes which the city faced in 2010-2011, but that is its nickname!
I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Christchurch! The gossip on the Kiwi grapevine made it sound like some sort of wasteland, with hostels miles out of town and just a dismal lack of fun while the city is still basically a large scale building site — and there are still vast swathes of it that are being rebuilt. But I totally didn’t find it depressing, in fact I found it inspiring.
The earthquakes in Christchurch were tragic, of course, but the city is responding by redesigning a modern, green city. At least, that’s the plan, but the plan is kind of in the wobbly baby steps stages! What struck me about Christchurch was this kind of alternative, DIY vibe. It’s a city of makers and dreamers and although the Botanic gardens are beautiful, they aren’t characteristic of the city as a whole. This was my first view of the RE:Start mall. It looks more inspiring on the inside, but by then I was too busy staring to take pictures! Bookshops, cafés, food kiosks and shops selling locally made crafts sit alongside banks, hair salons and post offices in shipping containers. Yep, you read that right — shipping containers. It’s an airy and attractive place to wander through, and would be good for souvenir shopping if you are on a short holiday where baggage space is no object 😉