It was a fascinating and rather moving experience. Walking through Hagley park and exploring the beautiful botanic gardens there was no evidence at all of the dramatic and deadly earthquake the tore the city apart.
We loved the stairs to nowhere. I was fascinated see if the ducks would actually climb it!
The botanic gardens themselves were full of the most beautiful plants housed in victorian greenhouses. Thankfully they did not appear to have been damaged by the earthquake at all.
The rose garden is absolutely stunning at this time of year.
Buildings are still being demolished and some look like they are hoping to be rebuilt.
The city centre feels fragmented. Which is unsurprising as according to our tram driver over 70% of the city centre was destroyed by the earthquake. There are some sections that have been given new life and rebuilt like the retail area in the converted shipping containers. And there are other areas where there are just abandoned buildings waiting to be demolished with the odd coffee shop clinging to survival amongst the surrounding devastation.
Yet somehow the city still has a feeling of rebirth and hopefulness for the future. Everyone is very friendly and there were certainly lots of tourists exploring the city even in the miserable weather we had during our visit. I desperately hope that the city recovers. It has many beautiful areas and even though it has lost some of its main landmarks, the river that runs through the centre and the bridges that cross it remain and somehow continue to keep the life blood flowing through this beautiful city.