Road Trip Diaries: Queenstown to Christchurch

We got an early start to our last day road trippin through New Zealand. With a 6-hour drive ahead of us and a 4:30 turn in time for the rental car, we didn’t want to take any chances. It was a beautiful, peaceful drive out of Queenstown, and although I was sad that my time with Carly was coming to an end, I was also so glad not to be leaving New Zealand just yet.

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There is not much in between Queenstown and Christchurch except a couple of BREATHTAKING LAKES, like Lake Pukaki. Obviously we had to pull over and snap a few.

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It wasn’t until we got to Christchurch (and with only half an hour left with the rental car) that we almost got in a car accident. But we did end up managing to make it 10 days driving on the other side of the road without a scratch! Ok, with nothing more than a scratch or two.

 

We had two nights in Christchurch – with just one full day to explore a city that is still very much defined by the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Walking around the city center was like nothing we have ever experienced before. You can go for blocks without seeing another soul, and buildings are still very much in shambles and have been essentially abandoned – the passing of the years only emphasizing their decay. We wandered the streets of downtown for 40 minutes without being able to find an ATM. Eventually we gave up and went back to the casino once it had opened for the day.  While there are efforts to restore the city, and you often hear talk of its revival, we couldn’t help but get the feeling that we had caught a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world.

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The cathedral as it stands 5 years after the earthquakes.
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The center of the city on a Tuesday morning.
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Boarded up buildings with graffiti and broken glass are a common sight.
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One thing that has remained of the city before the earthquakes is the beautiful botanic garden.

Carly and I enjoyed one last meal of Thai take out together (to really bring the trip full circle) and were off to bed. In the morning, she would be leaving before dawn for the airport and the long journey home, and I would be setting out on my own to set up a new life in New Zealand. After spending 5 weeks, and essentially every second together, it was so surreal to be parting ways. I was definitely in denial, and a little hesitant to take on my first real solo-traveling experience in a foreign country.

To round it out, here’s a collage of just some of the many airport selfies we took across 7 countries and 13 airports…

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