I couldn’t sleep the first night in Christchurch. Maybe it was because of the jetlag, or the cup of tea I drank before I went to bed or because there was a lot to take in with the whirlwind tour I was given but it took me ages to drift off to sleep. While I was tossing and turning, I felt the bed shaking for about three seconds at 3am in the morning. But it stopped just as soon as it started. That was the first earthquake I felt. It was a mild one but for me, it was exciting to experience it. I was hoping I’d experience more while I was there, as long as they didn’t cause any damage.
I had a busy day ahead of me with a list of things to do, such as buying a simcard for my phone and an adaptor, buying my Intercity Flexipass, booking the ferry from Picton to Wellington and buying a Metrocard bus pass. After getting breakfast, I left the house at 12.45pm and headed towards Northlands mall. I bought my Vodafone simcard, which cost 30 NZD and 20 NZD for a top up. I tried to set up my voicemail but at that point my battery died and I had to give up on that idea. The battery was low yesterday but because I’d brought the wrong adaptor with me, I couldn’t charge it yesterday.
After going to Vodafone, I went to Dick Smith’s, an electrical shop, to buy an adaptor. That set me back 18 NZD. I headed into town on the bus and got off at the Arts Centre on Rolleston Avenue where the i-site (tourist office) is. The Arts Centre was all fenced off with lots of steel girding propping up the building. It sustained a lot of damage in the February quake and the Court Theatre, which was housed here, has moved to Addington, a suburb further south of the centre. I did a great ghost tour here in 2009. It was the best one I’ve ever done and it was a shame to see the building surrounded by scaffolding, obviously needing a lot of repairs.
At the i-site, which is in a temporary building next to the Canterbury Museum, I booked my Intercity Bus Flexipass, which cost 410 NZD for fifty five hours. I also booked the Interisland ferry from Picton to Wellington for the 31st January at 1.10pm. Normally it would cost 99 NZD but because I booked it early, it only cost 59 NZD. I was very happy with that. I also asked them if there was a discount card for the buses, as I would be using them at least twice a day, going in and out of town from Belfast. They told me I could buy a Metrocard, which would be cheaper than buying single tickets, as long as I did a minimum of ten trips. I knew I’d be doing a bit more than that, as I was going to be in Christchurch for six days and thought it would be value for money. I walked to the bus station on Lichfield Street and bought the card for 10 NZD and I put 10 NZD on it to top it up.