Wow! Planet Earth put on an immense display over the past few months!
You would have seen it on the news - Christchurch experienced a violent 6.3 earthquake on 22 February 2011. Tragically, lives were lost and the destruction was huge.
This was the second major earthquake in Canterbury in the last 4 months. The first quake in November was bigger on the Richter Scale with 7.2 but by far not as destructive as the February quake.
The reason for this was the location. The first quake was centred in rural Canterbury near Darfield and caused widespread damage to buildings. The second quake was basically centred right in Christchurch, near Lyttelton, and only 5km deep. Christchurch's CBD (central business district) got hit hard and so did Lyttelton, Sumner and Eastern Suburbs.
The face of the city changed within seconds. It was dramatic and sad to watch the scenes on TV. A very distressing time for Christchurch and all of New Zealand.
We have visited Christchurch a few times since the earthquake. There is some major damage but saying that, some parts of the city are untouched and you wouldn't think an earthquake ever happened.
The airport and surrounding areas haven't suffered any damage at all. It is not a problem to fly in and out of Christchurch. All camper van & motor home companies are operating and you can pick-up or drop-off your camper without worries.
Workers from all over NZ are putting in a great effort to clean up the city and to repair all damaged infrastructure. Architects are already planning on rebuilding the centre of Christchurch and we are looking forward to a fresh start for this beautiful city.
Visiting the city centre is not possible and won't be for a while but there is still lots to see in Canterbury.
Banks Peninsula with Akaroa is a great place to visit and should not be missed on your Campervan Hire New Zealand. Beautiful bays with stunning views and excellent places to camp. We recommend checking out the more remote parts of the Peninsula - east and north-east of Akaroa.
The campervan drive from Darfield via the Rakaia Gorge to Methven is also a highlight. Coming from the big flat Canterbury Plains you head towards the Southern Alps, which rise up to the sky almost instantly. The Rakia Gorge is beautiful in its own way and we recommend taking the walkway along the east side of the river.
Methven is a sleepy little farming town which bursts into life during the winter months. It forms the base for skiing at Mt Hutt. If you get a chance to go for a ski during your Campervan Hire Holiday – rent some ski equipment in Methven and head up to the slopes. A great experience!
It may pay to hop on a bus or shuttle service as the ski field access road can be a challenge for the driver of campervans.
Some Campervan Hire Companies also prohibit their campervans and motorhomes to be driven on unsealed ski field roads.
Mt Somers is even smaller than Methven but heading to Lake Clearwater & Lake Camp or Lake Heron from there is definitely worth while! The Rangitata River headwaters provide a stunning scenery with Mt Sunday known as the location of "Edoras" in the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. You get there when driving on past Lake Clearwater & Lake Camp.
There are many more exciting places to visit in Canterbury during your Campervan Hire in New Zealand.
CONTACT US if you would like some more information on destinations and activities.