Christchurch | New Zealand Adventure

Oct. 11 and 23, 2016 

Five years after a devastating earthquake destroyed many of its buildings, Christchurch is still rebuilding. Traffic cones and construction barriers punctuate the city center, and the Christchurch cathedral—once the focal point of the city’s main square—is partially caved in and inhabited by pigeons.

But there’s beauty in the mess, too—public art projects, an outdoor shopping center made from brightly colored shipping containers, sweeping botanic gardens. A graceful, if painful, reconstruction.

Christchurch was the starting point of our loop around the South Island. By the time we arrived at the rental car place, the adrenaline of finally being in New Zealand had drowned out the jetlag. So I took the first shift at the wheel—proceeding cautiously on the left side of the road and accidentally turning on the windshield wipers instead of the blinkers about a dozen times on the way to our hostel.