We had two full days in Christchurch, NZ. Before being able to explore, we had to get our extreme cold weather gear from the US Antarctic Program office.
That afternoon, some of us explored downtown Christchurch. There were a lot of buildings destroyed by the earthquake in 2011, and there were barely any people in the city center area. It took McBride awhile to recognize the city, even though he’s been there five times before.
We also went to the Botanical Gardens, which was a lot of fun. The gardens were beautiful and relaxing, and we had a good time walking around, as well as sitting on a bench watching baby ducks.
The next day I went to the mountains near Christchurch with Harm and Stephanie (from ANITA) and Rob (a seismologist we met at our hotel), while the rest of the COSI team explored the Christchurch container mall. Harm, Stephanie, Rob and I made a few stops on the way to Arthur’s Pass, a national park in the mountains. The highlights were Castle Hill, where we got to scramble on some rocks, a hike to a waterfall in Arthur’s Pass, and delicious meat pies!