Not The Best Time To Visit Christchurch

Written on Saturday, 4 September 2010 by NZTravelInsider

Today Christchurch New Zealand was hit by a very large earthquake. Read about what you could do if you have a trip planned to Christchurch in the next few days or weeks.

It would not be a good time to visit Christchurch right now, because this morning at 4:36 a.m. an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 took place approximately 40 km west of Christchurch (near the town of Darfield) at a very shallow depth of 10 km.

I live in Wellington and did not feel anything, which surprises me a bit, because last time a large earthquake took place on the South Island, I did feel it.

GeoNet reports that the last time Christchurch experienced an earthquake of such a magnitude was back in 1929.

New Zealand Earthquake Aftermath

If you have never felt or experienced an earthquake before I can assure you that it can be a very frightening experience, especially if you’re shaken off your feet. Small earthquakes feel very much like waves under your feet, but a huge and shallow one like this one can be scary when walls and everything around you is moving and shaking.

Much of Christchurch city center has been blocked off for safety reasons. Many buildings, houses, and roads have been damaged. And that’s not all… With such a large earthquake, you should expect to get aftershocks in the days to come.

If you have a pending trip to Christchurch within the next few days, you can expect delays at the airport (so check your flights).

New Zealand Earthquake Aftermath

And if you’re staying in the city center somewhere, it might be best to contact the hotel or motel you’ll be staying at to ask whether they can still accommodate you. If they cannot, it might be best to cancel and rebook somewhere outside of Christchurch.

In addition, avoid driving within Christchurch itself, because there are large cracks in a few roads. I expect roads will have to be assessed on safety in the days to follow.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people who live in Christchurch / Canterbury and who are currently living through this natural disaster.

Update 5 September 2010:
Christchurch airport is open, and water and electricity has been restored to hotels. If you’re staying in the city center, you are still advised to contact the hotel or motel to ask whether they are able to accommodate you. Over 500 buildings have been damaged. This will most likely also include hotels and motels.

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