It took a month, but I finally made it to Christchurch; the final stop on my road trip.
The drive to get here was probably the most nerve-wracking I've had so far. Not so much for the roads themselves, but for the damn wind! 60km gusts kept me on my toes the entire time, with random bursts threatening to send me either off the road, or into oncoming traffic. Eventually though, I did make it into town - where I've set up at the Christchurch Top 10 Holiday Park for my last night with Gerty.
Getting here just after midday meant that I had a few hours to go and check out the city. I've heard mixed things about Christchurch. My family were convinced that what they saw of it was beautiful. On the other hand though, every Kiwi I've spoken to has said it's not worth visiting.
I'll meet them in the middle. Some parts of Christchurch are lovely - but in general, it's kind of awful. I feel incredibly guilty writing that too, because I know it's not their fault the city's in the state it's in. I'd have thought that in the six years since the earthquake, there would be significant signs of a city on the mend - but everywhere you turn is another construction site. The main cathedral is still in tatters, and the whole place seems completely deserted. It's surreal to walk around the CBD and be one of only ten people on the block.
It's a shame, because under the surface you can see what Christchurch used to be, and what it one day will be again. For now though, it's a complete mess.
I look forward to coming back to Christchurch in the future, and exploring the city properly once it's rebuilt. For now though, my last few days here will be spent wrapping up the trip and preparing to head home. Most of tomorrow will be spent cleaning out Gerty before returning her. From there, it's off to a hotel near the airport where I'll spend the next couple of nights resting myself up before my flight on Saturday morning. This isn't the end of the blog though, there's still a few more posts to wrap everything up, so be sure to check back!