I am an Australian living in the USA, so when I go home I often drag my American husband along with me (big chore I know).? While Australia is amazing and my husband really does love coming with me, we often spend a lot of time catching up with family and friends over numerous lunches, dinners, and of course tea.? If you didn?t already know, many Australians love tea, especially those related to me!

So this time I decided I needed to take my husband somewhere different, and a New Zealand was the obvious choice.? We embarked on a short 6 day tour with Topdeck Travel to the South Island of New Zealand, and had an amazing time.

Our tour started in Christchurch, and we arrived a day early in order to spend some time exploring the city.? I have been to Christchurch pre-earthquake, and what we saw when we arrived was incredibly heart-breaking.? A once bustling and friendly city was now almost a ghost town with 90% of the buildings destroyed, condemned, or demolished.

Two years after the devastating and unexpected earthquake struck, businesses and people are still dis-placed and it is obvious that the work needed to restore Christchurch is going to take a very long time.? While we were walking around the city center with feelings of shock and sadnessss, we started to notice small quirks.? Some citizens of Christchurch have taken the initiative to transform vacant lots into quirky and uplifting public spaces.? We first stumbled across and urban garden that had been set up with tables, chairs, and an old glass-door fridge transformed into a book case filled with books.? It was a book exchange, and it was such a peaceful space.

We then stumbled across a dance floor with a washing machine beside it.? You could pay two dollars, and plug your i-pod into the washing machine to play music through the speakers for half an hour, and boogie away.? We caught a few people using it:

While I was saddened when I saw the devastation that the earthquake had brought to Christchurch, I was warmed by the locals and how they have picked themselves back up and moved forward with a positive outlook.? From the words of a local:?”Christchurch basically needs to be built again from scratch, but the good part about that is, we will be the most earthquake-proof city in the world when all of the construction is complete”.

Stay tuned for our next post about joining our Topdeck Tour and hiking onto the Fox Glacier!