We’ve just got back from a trip to Greymouth and Christchurch (booked well before the earthquake). We took the Tranz-scenic over the southern alps with a small group of friends and had a great time.  On the way over, everything was frosted with snow

that strange halo effect is my camera lens reflected in the train window

and on the way back the next day, much of it had melted

 

Magic.  Greymouth has some great little cafes, like dp one (by the river) with its retro Formica tables and Frank’s (on the main drag), which often has live music (just not on the night we were there).

It was fun being snowed on on the way back, when they let us out for 5 minutes at Arthur’s Pass.

Arthur's Pass

Then it was back to Christchurch.  The centre of the city seemed in better shape than we had feared – the occasional pile of rubble, closed-off street or taped-off building, but overall, Christchurch is open for business and no doubt the retailers would be happy to see you.  But some of the outer suburbs are apparently in far worse shape, with thousands of homes expected to be demolished.  Clearly, the after-effects will ripple on for a long time to come.