Christchurch Photo Gallery

Christchurch's airport is quite small, and it was a quick exit to the buses heading into the city.

The short walk to the bus stop is unsheltered, but today's weather would not pose an issue.

February 2011's earthquake devastated the city centre. The damage is still quite evident and redevelopment has been slow.

The city centre looked quite dead on a weekend morning. There wasn't much retail or restaurants along the streets and few pedestrians out and about.

Christchurch Cathedral's spire was destroyed in the quake and a huge section collapsed. It is still cordoned off and the church has temporarily re-located several blocks away.

The square in front of it has been partially revitalized with more foot traffic.

The tram line has been restored but only for sightseeing purposes.

I didn't think it was possible to hang a stroller like that.

Buildings, big or small, have been abandoned. What will happen to this skyscraper?

How many more years will the city be revitalized? 5 years on, it seems still a world away.

Many plots around the city centre remain empty or ugly parking lots.

However, every now and then, I spot a sightseeing vehicle around. Tourism seems to be alive and well here where residents have given up.

A few blocks away, behind a lovely park, the Transitional Cathedral is now used for services. Cardboard tubes are the major structural elements here.

Redevelopment looked a bit more promising across the river, with new glassy lowrise offices coming up nicely.

Canterbury College is undergoing renovations with most buildings closed off. The project is expected to finish by 2019. The university moved to the suburbs long before the earthquake, and this site became an arts centre.

You can't go in. You can't go in. You can't go in.

The sightseeing tram stopped here and lots of visitors came out to explore the surroundings.

I rounded the block and headed back into the city.

In this part of town, the pace of redevelopment looks a bit better. Hopefully these new buildings can fill up.

There were few retailers in the city centre so far during my walk. Re:START is a large outdoor mall made of containers to entice people to return to the city centre. Now, it is home to over 50 businesses.

My short tour of the city centre was over, but with some afternoon light left, I headed to the beautiful bus station for the short ride to the gondola, hoping to catch the sunset.

The interior looked like a Scandinavian design with sleek and simple designs.

I made it to the gondola shortly after 5pm. Not realizing it was still operating under winter hours, the lack of any other tourist around gave a hint. The ticket agent kindly advised they were closing at 5:30. I went for it anyway and had the view all to myself.

I didn't mind having this all to myself. The observation deck is on the top floor of the cable car station. The restaurant there was closing up but they had free water for a tired tourist like me.

There are some hiking trails, but I had to be content with just this view in order to make it for the last cable car back down.

As I headed back down - the last cable car of the day, I noticed hikers heading up along the service road. I was tired and lazy today. I need to save the energy for the days ahead.

Once back down, the same ticket agent made sure I got to the bus stop. I would get on the last bus of the day from here - at 6pm. All the staff here were so nice and made my day!

Christchurch is a good place to get your bearings once arriving in New Zealand. This rest day was quite productive and I was ready to tackle the more natural side of the country tomorrow.

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