My parents arrived in Auckland on Saturday, 2 March and after picking them up we had dinner in Wynyard Quarter at Urban Turban. We departed the next morning for Christchurch. We got there early enough to check into our hotel and visit the Re:Start Mall (aka container city) before meeting up with our tour group. Re:Start Mall is an area near the red zone in Christchruch that was developed soon after the 22 February 2011 earthquake as local businesses that had been destroyed in the quake reopened in train car containers. It is now a thriving little area with many businesses including banks, cafes, and boutiques operating out of containers.
This marked the start of our 9 day tour with AAT Kings of the South Island of New Zealand. J and my room was next door to M&D's (at the Copthorne) and we both had patios facing a dry creek bed. So of course Justin took the liberty of struggling over the creek bed and back totting his chair so we could all hang out on one patio.
|Lindsay posing after lunch in restart mall|
The next morning we took a bus tour around the outskirts of the red zone in Christchuch CBD. The damage from the earthquake on 22 February 2011 was so extensive that a huge portion of Christchurch CBD is still fenced off as the city makes plans to rebuild. The earthquake killed 185 people and the fenced off area looked like a war zone. We also spent some time exploring the botanical gardens (complete with numerous animal topiaries).
|The Cardboard Cathedral|
|Lindsay and a topiary penguin|
|View into the red zone|
From Christchurch, we drove west to a sheep farm where we had lunch and were able to feed and pet the sheep! Needless to say, this was a highlight for at least one member of our traveling party.
|Lindsay and a sheep|
|M&D and a sheep (with daughter and her backpack in the background)|
|This sheep dog was so cool....and now he is guarding a rabbit|
|and not to be left out....J and a sheep....and an ipad|
We also visited Lake Tekapo which was the most beautiful shade of bright blue and caught glimpses of Mt Cook before ending the day in Twizel.
|Lake Tekapo with Southern Alps in the background|
|Church of the Good Shepard overlooking Lake Tekapo|