Christchurch Botanic Gardens

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A flower in the Cunningham House

One of the touristy highlights of Christchurch is the sprawling, 50-acre Botanic Gardens next to Hagley Park, right in the center of town. My favorite part of the gardens was the Cunningham House, which has a tropical collection of plants from all over the world. There is also an “Erica Garden”! You can easily spend a couple hours wandering around and getting lost in your thoughts.

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Street Art in Christchurch CBD

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Some street art in the Christchurch CBD

A defining feature of Christchurch – and a central theme of pretty much every conversation – is the earthquakes in 2011 that devastated huge sections of the city. Nearly 200 people were killed and countless buildings were destroyed. Six years later the business center still has empty lots and ongoing roadworks that frustrate locals and confuse visitors. One silver lining is the abundance of street art that has emerged to fill the spaces. Here is just a small selection of photos taken on an afternoon wandering around.

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Purple Peak Tramp in Akaroa

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The view of Akaroa from just up the hill

I’ve finally started traveling again, this time to Christchurch, New Zealand for a brief working holiday. My first big trip out of Christchurch was a few weeks after I arrived. A Meetup group went to Akaroa — about an hour outside drive away — to do the Purple Peak trek, which was a bit steeper than anything I’d experienced since South America! My legs were killing me for days after. It was worth it, though, for the amazing views and nice company.

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Photo Essay of Sydney

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The iconic Sydney Opera House at night

I spent nearly a week in Sydney, my final week in Australia. Although I tend not to enjoy large cities when traveling, as I prefer the charm and peacefulness of smaller towns, Sydney had an undeniable energy and rich history that made my stay there more than worthwhile.

Highlights of the city included the gorgeous Botanic Gardens, walking from Coogee Beach to Bondi, and of course Sydney Harbour with the bridge and opera house as a backdrop.

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