It is not a good idea to travel on a bank holiday weekend if you can avoid it and certainly not one that is also the start of a half term holiday for a large part of England. We booked this trip many months ago and I cannot quite remember why we chose this weekend to fly out to New Zealand for a month. The weekend and holiday crowds were not really a problem. The thing that put the spanner in the works was the massive global IT failure experienced by British Airways. We had got to the airport fairly early on the day we were due to leave and problems only became apparent as the time progressed. Flights before ours had not left and a disaster was unfolding at Heathrow and across the world. Eventually we were told to reclaim our bags, go home and rebook the following day. It was fairly easy for us to take a train and taxi home and sleep in our own bed rather than on the floor of Terminal 5 at Heathrow in the chaos there. I had tried via the website, app and calling the airline to rebook as they had cancelled two of the four flights we were to take. That was all unsuccessful and it was apparent that it was going to take several days for things to return to any semblance of normality so we had to book alternative flights so that we could get there only a day later than planned.
We arrived mid-afternoon. Our last flight, from Brisbane to Christchurch was only three hours. As we got closer to New Zealand, the clouds thickened but as we descended, the mountains appeared and then the Canterbury plain surrounding Christchurch. After so many hours in transit, we dumped our luggage at the hotel and then walked around a little before it got dark. We are very close to Cathedral Square. The 1881 cathedral was badly damaged in the earthquakes, losing it’s spire and a large stained glass window.
The Transitional aka Cardboard Cathedral is currently in use while a battle rages between those who want the original restored and those who wish something new.
There are roadworks and building going on all around with art works helping to fill the gaps. We had planned to spend a day here as the parks, botanic garden, art gallery and museum and wandering by the river would all have been worth doing but the delays mean that will have to wait for another trip.