Did nothing yesterday as was too tired from all the travelling and anyway needed to rest before hiring my 4×4 today. Didn’t even bother going in to the city as there was nothing much left of it to see anyway. The devastation is on a much larger scale than appeared to be indicated by any of the reports that I had seen on TV. I stayed in a B&B in one of the suburbs out near the airport and even there, there was a lot of evidence of the earthquake with toppled headstones in a local cemetery and large cracks in pavements and some houses. I suspect that there would have been a lot more damage had not most of the houses around here been two-storey or not timber-framed, which most of them are. Getting out of the city was a breeze and my 282 km trip to Twizel took about four hours, with my route taking me through Ashburton and Geraldine and over Burkes’ Pass and right by the eastern shores of Lake Tekapo. My drive through the New Zealand countryside reminds me of Ireland in some parts and the US in others. The detached, single-storied timber-framed houses have an American ‘look’ to them (if you ignore the corrugated roofs — just like Australia) and they all appear to be situated on relatively large lots. No matter what way the road twisted and turned over those 282 kilometres, the Southern Alps were always on my right, guiding me towards my ultimate destination destination — Twizel.

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