Quake City

Quake City is a exhibition on the Christchurch earthquakes.

Quake City

Quake City

The purpose built exhibition opened in February 2013 after the Canterbury Museum hosted a temporary exhibition in 2012.

The museum will be located on Cashel Street, opposite the Re:START Container Mall until May 2017. It is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 5 pm. Adults are $20, concession $16, accompanied children under 15 are free.

The February 2011 earthquake caused wide spread damage to Christchurch city. There are some objects on display including a sign from the Pyne Gould Corporation building; from the Cathedral Blessed Sacrament there are pieces from the dome, the Belfry door from the North Bell tower, and one of the four bells; from the Provincial Chambers there is the Speaker’s Chair, decorative ceiling pieces, and a clock and carved head from the Stone Chamber; and from the Christ Church Cathedral there is the fallen spire.

Elements from the Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament

Elements from the Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament

Christchurch Cathedral Spire

Christ Church Cathedral Spire

There are also displays from those who helped in the aftermath of the earthquake including Mayor Bob Parker’s orange jacket, items from Student Volunteer Army and Search and Rescue workers.

There are interactive activities for visitors including jumping on the spot to see seismograph in action, pedaling on a bike to play a cycle-powered short film, and a Lego table for the young and young at heart.

Also there is interview footage with locals telling their stories from that day.

Be sure to check out the restroom facilities!

Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum is a natural and human history museum located in Christchurch.

Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum is located on Rolleston Ave, next to the Botanic Gardens and Christ’s College. The museum is open every day, except Christmas Day. During the summer (October to March) the museum is open from 9 am to 5.30 pm. During the winter months (April to September) the museum closes at 5 pm. Entry to the museum is free but donations are appreciated. The Discovery Centre is $2 per person, no charge for children under three.

The museum was established in 1867 by German geologist Sir Julius von Haast and was originally housed in the Provincial Council Buildings.

Its current site is the impressive Gothic Revival stone building, which was designed by Benjamin Mountfort and opened in 1870. Over the years there have been several extensions to the building. Today the museum building is four levels. Exhibits are located on levels 1 and 3. There is a café with views of the botanic gardens located on level 4. Level 2 is the administration level and is closed to the general public.

The museum has over 2.1 million items in its collection.

Level 1 has excellent exhibits on early Canterbury settlement, Maori history and New Zealand natural history.

The Mountfort Gallery occupies the part of the original Canterbury Museum building and is named after Benjamin Mountfort. It currently houses the museum’s European Decorative Art and Costume collection.


Mountfort Gallery

Mountfort Gallery

There is a slice kiwiana with Fred and Myrtle’s Paua Shell House. For over 40 years Fred and Myrtle would show tourists around their paua shell decorated home in the Bluff. Following the couple’s passing their grandson donated the paua shell collection to Canterbury Museum. A replica of the lounge was created using photographs taken in late 2006.

There is also a replica of early Canterbury street on level 1 with early 19th century shops.

Fred and Myrtle's Paua Shell House

Fred and Myrtle’s Paua Shell House

The third level has much of the natural history section including the bird hall, dinosaur and geology exhibits. The third floor also has international exhibits including an Asian Arts collection, Egyptian exhibit with its own mummy Tash pen Khonsu and an Antarctic exhibit.

Antarctic exhibition

Antarctic exhibit

Egyptian exhibition

Egyptian exhibit


Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram is a heritage tram route catering to tourists that loops around some of the key attractions in Christchurch central city.

Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram

The heritage tramway route opened in February 1995 to cater to the tourist market. The 2011 Christchurch earthquake damaged the tram circuit and the tramway reopened in November 2013 on a limited route. A new extended route opened in February this year that includes Oxford Terrace, Cashel Street, and High Street to Cathedral Square.

The tram starts at Cathedral Junction and travels through Cathedral Square, High Street and past the Re:START Mall. The tram then rejoins the loop and passes Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, Hagley Park and Victoria Square. The tram travels through New Regent Street and back to Cathedral Junction. There are currently 17 stops.

Christchurch Tram Route Map

Christchurch Tram Route Map

Trams run approximately every 15 – 20 minutes. From September to March tram hours are 9am to 6pm and 10am to 5pm, April to August. Adults can purchase a pass for $20 that allows unlimited travel for that date. Children (under 15) travel for free.

The tram drivers provide informative onboard commentary. I had three drivers on the day I traveled and they each had their own style and perspective on the city.

Riding Christchurch Tram

Riding Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram is run by Welcome Aboard and they offer combo tickets and passes for that include other attractions, such as Christchurch Gondola, punting on the Avon River, tours of Christchurch Botanic Gardens. See their website for more details.

There is also the Tramway Restaurant, an evening four course dinner sightseeing tour of Christchurch. The tram departs Cathedral Junction at 7 pm. Reservations are essential. I haven’t experienced the Tramway Restaurant so if you have let me know what you thought in the comments below.

Christchurch Rebuild Tour

Christchurch Rebuild Tour, is a guided bus tour of Christchurch city’s progress to rebuild following the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Site of recently demolished police station

Site of recently demolished police station

At 4:35 am on Saturday 4th September 2010 a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Canterbury region. The epicentre of the quake was located 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Christchurch, near Darfield. The earthquake caused power cuts and widespread damage particularly to Christchurch. There were no deaths as a result of the earthquake, but  one person died of a heart attack.

Tragically on Tuesday 22 February 2011 at 12:51 pm a 6.3 earthquake struck. This quake was centred 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) west of Lyttelton and 10 kilometres (6 miles) south-east of Christchurch city centre. 185 people from more than 20 countries were killed, making it the second deadliest natural disaster in New Zealand history.



The tour, which departs from outside the Canterbury Museum (Rolleston Ave) daily at 11:00 am, lasts approximately 90 minutes. There is a driver and onboard guide from the Canterbury Museum that does an informative commentary accompanied by video and photographs. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (0800 500 929) or from the i-SITE Visitor Centre, next to the Museum.

No tour is exactly the same as where the bus travels depends on traffic conditions and works that do. The bus may make stops were passengers can disembark with the guide.

The Rebuild Tour bus

The Rebuild Tour bus

Our tour made two stops. The first stop was at the site of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. It was the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Christchurch. The buildings were designed by architect Francis Petre and completed in 1905. The Cathedral closed following the September earthquake. The parish moved St Mary’s Pro Cathedral (373 Manchester Street).

During the February earthquake the two bells towers at the front of the building collapsed along with much of the front façade. The dome, which had received major cracking was later removed, and the rear of the Cathedral was demolished. Also during the February quake the statue of Virgin Mary located in the north tower rotated 180 degrees to look out the window. The statue became a symbol of survival following quake.

In May this year it was announced the diocese has plans to attempt to preserve the nave as part of a rebuild.


Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The next stop was at the 185 Empty White Chairs installation on the site of the former St Paul’s Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church on the corner of Madras and Cashel streets.

The memorial designed by artist Pete Majendie was previously located on the site of the former Oxford Terrace Baptist Church. Each white painted chair represents one of the lives lost in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The installation sits on 185 square metres of ready made lawn.


185 White Chairs

185 White Empty Chairs