The original plan was fly Friday to Sydney, arrive SUnday, work Mon/Tues, fly to Christchurch Weds, work Thurs/Fri fly home Mon, arrive LHR Tues. Ten days, two of which would be spent in an aeroplane, in economy class. Call me spoilt, but for long haul, I really hate economy class!
However, Sydney's client screwed up and forgot about a public holiday on Monday, so I ended up with a day spare in Sydney but the hassle of working on Wednesday and then taking a three hour flight to Christchurch plus two hours time difference, arriving at the hotel after midnight.
June in Sydney and Christchurch is very definitely winter. In Sydney, it was raining on the Sunday when I arrived stopped briefly while I went for a run with a fellow minimalist runner, Adam and then did not stop again for two days, not the best weather for a spot of tourism. I'd had it all planned out to get a day pass on the public transport system and go down to the harbour area, pop over to Manly for lunch on the beach, back to Darling Harbour and then back around the city centre botanic gardens.
The reality was; look out of the hotel room window, see the rain and get a bit of work done; head down to the town centre and do a bit of sales shopping (in the dry) including replacing the waterproof coat I took with me, but turned out to be leaking; have some lunch; wander about and get wet; visit a couple of museums (indoor); get wetter; go back to the hotel and finish some more work.
Did manage to get a few photos though.
Christchurch by comparison was dry, but much colder, similar in fact to a UK winter, cold but not too cold with typical temperatures around freezing but not normally much below that. Both with the two days work and acting the tourist with my cousin the one thing that you just can't get over is how much damage those three big earthquakes caused. When you consider that the first big one was in Feb 2011, there is still a huge amount of devastation with buildings still being pulled down in the city centre, 6000 homes that need to be abandoned and rebuilt elsewhere and large parts of the city deemed unfit for building. My cousin was telling me some very interesting stuff about the work he does for an NGO in disaster resilience, all around building mental wellness in the population as part of the recovery process.
There are still almost daily earthquakes, mainly small at less than 3 on the richter scale, a few 4 plus. There's still a lot of uncertaitny in some areas such as out on the coast where they have roads closed and narrowed off with shipping containers against further rock falls.