Former Christchurch resident Angela Senior and her three young daughters were in Marlborough for the school holidays when the Sunday evening quake hit.
At the time the young family, who had driven up from their North Canterbury farm on Friday, were staying with Mrs Senior's parents in Seddon.
"It wasn't as bad as the ... big quakes [in Christchurch but] it's still very frightening all the same. It just brought back memories."
Mrs Senior's husband, Regan, who had stayed home to work, had been relieved to hear his wife and daughters were safe.
"You just want to keep everyone close," Mrs Senior said.
The Sunday quake was relatively similar in length to the large, fatal Christchurch shake in February 2011, she said.
"Not knowing when they're going to finish [or] how big it's going to get," was one of the worst things about the quakes, Mrs Senior said.
Her two older daughters - Ella and Zoe - both knew to get under a table or desk.
Her youngest daughter Amber cried for a bit but settled down eventually, Mrs Senior said.
The family have been living in North Canterbury for the past six months. Their previous Pigeon Bay home on Banks Peninsula was badly damaged in the 2011 quake.
"After experiencing them, you still find yourself jumping at noises and things," she said.
Mrs Senior said while the family were fine now, their holiday experience had brought back some unwelcome memories.
"We thought we'd escaped it moving to North Canterbury."
Texts and calls from their old Christchurch neighbours, friends and family after the quake had also been comforting, she said.