I got a long weekend and went down to Christchurch. It is one of the most populous city on the south island and iconic as a tourist destination. I had the opportunity to try an Egyptian Souvlaki which is similar to a gyro in a pita wrap. I spent time at the International Antarctic Center where I went through an Antarctic storm simulator, saw the little blue penguin feeding, and even took a ride on the Hagglund; the ultimate ATV. After the informational experience there, I was privy to a "tiki-tour" around the city.
Christchurch was hit with a powerful earthquake in 2011 and is still in the wake of its destruction. There are literally hundreds of buildings that are scheduled to be demolished and even more homes. It was a very somber moment to drive through a fairly new neighborhood that had been condemned for the structural damage from the quake. The iconic cathedral is no more but there is an amazing feeling of the indomitable human spirit. For the time being there is an awesome makeshift place of worship dubbed "The Cardboard Cathedral". There is beautiful art all around the city and construction sites that bring a freshness to the city life. While I was there I even experienced a magnitude 3.1 earthquake that rumbled my chair. There was still much more to be seen, but alas I had to head back north to Marlborough.