Archive | March, 2013

Hamner Springs to Christchurch

2 Mar

28th February 2013

Last night was not great in terms of sleep …. Graham counted 35 sandfly bites on one foot … itchy!!


If one person cannot sleep, the moving around certainly keeps the other awake … it is a very small camper!

Not a big camper!

We continued on from Murchison via Springs Junction to Hamner Springs. This is a town that has an extended tourist season due to the skiing in the winter and the thermal baths and spas throughout the year. It is a lovely little town with a nice feel. The main street has a wide grassy area in the centre maybe 50 m wide with rows of old oak trees. Lots of picnic tables and shady parking. The pools themselves are great, with lots of pools of different temperatures and some really smelling strongly of sulphur. There are also separate pools for the kids with water slides. A great family destination, with lovely mountain scenery all around.

Hanmer Springs

After spending the late afternoon early evening in the pool we headed south out of the town to find a place to camp. We found a bridge with river access about 25km south of Hamner on the Waiau River where we could camp right by the water, well off the main road. Graham spent the last 30 minutes of light fishing, but needless to say he caught nothing!

1st March 2013

In the morning another fisherman came by and offered to take Graham out and fish the rivers at the top of the Nelson lakes next time he comes ….. he also pointed out some things should be done differently to catch fish in NZ …. handy but maybe a bit late for this trip …..

River scene

The scenery is really pretty on the road towards Christchurch and the weather still sunny and warm. As we dropped down onto the the east coast the temperatures dropped and the wind increased. Still nice, but jumper weather.

As we approached the centre of Christchurch we started to realise the scale of the damage to the city caused by the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 . We could hardly recognise it from our last visit in 2009. It is really sad to see whole areas of the city closed off with Barriers. The Red zone.


Big areas stand empty where the big buildings have been demolished. Most casualties were in the TV building that totally collapsed at around lunchtime on 22nd February 2011. It is almost exactly 2 years since the big earthquake and since then there have been literally thousands of tremors.

Second anniversary

Some of the inner city shops have started to reopen housed in temporary buildings and containers.


Even the banks are in converted containers.

Bank in a container

In the afternoon we also walked around the botanical gardens, which are intact except for some of the council owned buildings which have not been repaired or tested for structural integrity yet …. there is a massive backlog.

Botanical gardens Christchurch

Building repair backlog

That night we stayed in an old motor camp, right next to the Christchurch raceway. It is handy as a stopping off point to visit Will, the vicar who married us many years ago, and his wife  Farrabee. They are living in a motel while waiting for their house to be repaired after the quake. It has been so tough for people living in Christchurch.

2nd March 2013

We met up with Will and Farrabee in their motel and headed off for lunch. It was lovely to see them both again as they are great fun and very kind. They took us to see some of the damage at a place called Sumner. Here there are lots of houses built on the hills overlooking the sea. Some of these cliffs collapsed during the quakes leaving houses hanging on the edge.






Again containers have been used to provide protection to the road and traffic. There are hundreds of them.

Containers to shield road from rocks

We then went down to watch the surfers and paddle boarders at Sumner beach. It looks to be a great surf beach, with long breaks.

Thanks for a nice day Will and Farrabee it was great to see you both again!


On the way back we stopped in at a couple of shops. What other nationality would advertise clothes with this poster?! Still the sheep looks happy ….. its even smiling!! Hope the road isn’t too bumpy ……


Today we are posting the old  laptop  to Tom in Kaitaia and so will struggle to update from now on. May have to wait until we are home …. Probably the last post for a while …