Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldworth: Back to Christchurch

It's a remarkable time to be in Christchurch. Photo / Supplied
It's a remarkable time to be in Christchurch. Photo / Supplied

Is it ghoulish to visit the quake-levelled centre of Christchurch?


The rebuilding of our shaken southern city makes for intriguing viewing, and tourist money rings a till just the same as any other sector. On a recent visit, we sat sipping flat whites in Cashel Mall watching as a wrecking ball whacked the seventh storey off a building less than 100 metres away - you just don't see that sort of thing anywhere else.

The locals were easy to spot: familiar with the muntedness, they chewed the fat or walked along ignoring the building being smashed to pieces. Visitors gawped with slack-jawed fascination.

TripAdvisor says that the number of Australians using their website to research a visit to Christchurch has gone up more than 250 per cent in the past year. Those numbers came a week or so after Christchurch bagged sixth place on Lonely Planet's list of the top 10 cities to visit in 2013, something that would have been unlikely in the pre-quake days.

Smart locals are making the most of it; Cashel Mall is one of the more memorable shopping and cafe areas you'll wander through.

So get on a bus tour or a cycle tour, or just grab your camera and walk the fenceline. It's a remarkable time to be in Christchurch.

* In the next couple of weeks, we're visiting Christchurch and we'd love to share your top tips for the shaken city. Email us at

- NZ Herald

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Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

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