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.
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.
This is my last post for Australia. Truth be told I’m more than a bit behind on this posting – I actually came back to the United States a couple of weeks ago and am now living in Chicago. I suppose I’ve been dragging out this final photo gallery because I’m in some denial that my year in Australia is not only over but was cut short by two months. But I have an amazing work opportunity here in Illinois and I’m excited to explore the midwest – a region I’ve never spent time in before.
Anyway, these photos were taken at the infamous Bondi Beach in Sydney, where there is a long seawall that is publicly sanctioned for murals. There are a handful of incredibly intricate works, and I love that most of them reflect the beach community.
I didn’t get a chance to go scuba diving in Tasmania, so I wanted to make sure I went in Sydney before leaving Australia to get one last day in. I was referred to Dive Centre Manly, who do regular shore dives from Shelly Beach. The dive site is well sheltered with good visibility, and rather shallow at a max depth of about 10 meters.
The site has several friendly blue gropers as well as cuttlefish, octopuses, wobbegong sharks, sweepers, cockatoo fish, and huge schools of barracuda and others. Unfortunately the rare weedy seadragon is no longer at the site, as the colony that had been there died off a few years ago and they never repopulated.
Here is the second batch of my photos from my self-guided street art walking tour around Newtown, Sydney. These photos focus partly on May Lane, Sydney’s smaller answer to Melbourne’s Hosier Lane. The pieces aren’t as impressive as the ones in Melbourne, but they are abundant and colorful.
Sydney, like Melbourne has areas that are filled with awesome murals. Newtown, a neighborhood in the west of the city, is particularly known for its street art. I took an afternoon to walk around and take some photos. There were dozens of amazing pieces, including some by well known artists Peque and Crisp. I was disappointed though in the disrespect shown to the art – lots of murals were covered in scrawls and notes. I haven’t seen that to such a high degree in any other city.
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.