Tag Archives: hotels

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.

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SYDNEY CITY GUIDE – alternative accommodation, restaurants and fun

I recently did an interesting job, writing a brief alternative travel guide to the city I’ve lived in for more than half my life. I welcome suggestions for great places and events I missed out (and if you want me to review your hotel/restaurant/adventure, offer me a freebee), but here’s what I included…

That Opera House looks like a nest of copulating turtles.


Australians who don’t live in Sydney are jealous. Melbourne people in particular enjoy niggling their northern neighbours. The Emerald City is a flashy, superficial town, they say. Lucky it’s got a sparkling harbour and brilliant surf beaches, because apart from that…okay, the weather’s sometimes good and yeah, yeah, there are those Blue Mountains…but apart from that Sydney just rests on its geographic laurels and pours itself a self-congratulatory beer. And BTW, that Opera House looks like a nest of copulating turtles.

Sydneysiders know better. Continue reading

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