Our last driving day in the van was going to take us from Wanaka over the Lindis and Burkes Pass, over mountains, and past the turquoise lakes of Tekapo and Pukaki to Christchurch our final stop in New Zealand.
Packing up after our last night in the van was emotional, such a wonderful six weeks travelling round an amazing country. Trying to fit the contents of the van back into our two backpacks was no mean feat and an extra suitcase was needed to take the heated blanket and all the other camping paraphernalia we had now acquired. We had been well and truly bitten by the campervan bug and now planned to do the next leg of our trip in Australia in a van too.
Christchurch was still undergoing lots of demolition and rebuilding following the 2010 (7.1 on the richter scale) and 2011(6.4) earthquakes, with the Re:Start Mall made up of numerous shipping containers, shops, cafes, banks and the post office, all set up in a lego style construction of containers, giving the area a real feel of regeneration and lots of creative and beautiful street planting. On the other side of the city the haunting shell of the Cathedral remained in the red zone area, which had only just reopened.
A visit to the Quake Museum answered many of the questions we found our selves left with walking around the city centre, many of the spray painted tags on doors and windows of buildings remained indicating they had been checked or cleared after the quake. This was a stark reminder of the sheer destruction and tragedy caused.
Our last night in Christchurch was made really special by staying with family friends the Hastilows, before setting off to fly to Sydney the next morning.