CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – a glimmer of good news on travel

Since I wrote about my plans to visit Christchurch, some people have contacted me asking about whether they should postpone or cancel travel to New Zealand. I’m writing from Sydney and have no special inside knowledge, but I have been watching the media and searching the internet for news of the transport and accommodation situation.

The loss of life is tragic, the search for victims is heartbreaking and rebuilding parts of Christchurch will take years. Naturally the media images focus on the worst affected areas, and give the impression that the entire city is a pile of rubble. But an estimated 85-90% of buildings suffered no major damage, and the stoical, resilient Cantabrians are keen to get back to normal as soon as they can.

Christchurch Airport is open and operating both domestic and international flights. Some changes of schedule are being advised.

The city centre is closed except to emergency services. Naturally sightseers would only get in the way and are strongly discouraged.

Hotels : Some, particularly those in the centre of town, are badly damaged. Others are structurally fine, but without water and gas and are therefore temporarily closed, they hope for just a week. However, according to my sample, most accommodation in the greater Christchurch area is open as usual, with many hotels and motels posting good news to that effect on their websites. Some advise those with bookings to ring, rather than email, to get a faster update.

The rest of New Zealand, including the region surrounding Christchurch, while no doubt emotionally touched by the disaster, was physically unaffected.

The bottom line is, unless locals advise me to postpone, I’ll be going ahead with my New Zealand trip this week and urge others to do the same. Make a generous donation to the relief effort, see a beautiful country, meet warm friendly people and spend some money. The Kiwis deserve it.

6 Comments

Filed under New Zealand

6 responses to “CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – a glimmer of good news on travel

  1. Good one Richard,
    The same happened here in Victoria after the bushfires. Communities need tourists to help them keep the cash rolling.
    Have a good trip.

    • Thanks Frank,

      The 2010 Great Vic Bike Ride ended in Marysville, scene of the worst of last year’s bushfires.

      The forest was still blackened and rebuilding of the town was a work in progress, but the welcome from the people was warm, and it gave us a good feeling to know that we were doing something to help.

  2. bagnidilucca

    I have been watching the awful events in Christchurch on BBC World. Going there can only help with getting things back on track and the city will need all the help it can get.

    • I’ve come round to feeling this way too, BdL.

      The shame is that a lot of potential travellers will now misguidedly think that all of NZ is a dangerous place to go.

      Judged by the gentle, humorous, friendly people (except on the rugby field) there is no safer place to visit on the planet.

      • michael

        Good thinking, Richard! People do have trouble conceptualising foreign spaces. I live hundreds of Km from the nearest affected area, but after the Indian Ocean Tsunami I was flooded with emails from people worried about my safety. Nice to know they care, of course.

        Have a great trip. Looking forward to reading about it. I must say I’m impressed with the way the Christchurch people are coping, as shown on BBC.

  3. Pingback: CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – a glimmer of good news on travel … | Today Headlines

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