Some people may think I’ve been a little tough on Auckland but our judgements of a place are so often based on our previous experiences. I lived in Christchurch for 6 years so Auckland really doesn’t stand a chance. Christchurch, before the earthquakes, was superior in every way. I miss the cool temperate climate most of all. I also miss the clean, chlorine-free drinking water that we drank and watered our gardens with for free. I miss the views to the snow-covered Southern Alps and the glorious 2-hour drive to their front door. I miss Banks Peninsula and Lyttelton and the views from the Gondola. I miss the Arts Centre with its weekend market and live music and the museum with the discovery centre for children. I miss the Art Gallery and its regular children’s exhibit. I miss the flat terrain of Christchurch and the ease of cycling and pushing a push chair. I miss the three wheelie bins provided by the council and included in our rates which offered world-class recycling and a bin for all compostable food waste. I miss the trams and the excitement of knowing they were being extended. I miss the Weeping Willows of Hagley Park. I miss being able to live my life with minimal car use. I miss the 15-minute drive to the airport. I miss being able to walk to the local shopping village with a supermarket and cafes and interesting Art Deco architecture. Sadly, the Art Deco buildings are gone. I miss being able to drive from one side of town to the other in 20 minutes or less. I miss knowing there’s a ski-field less than 2-hours away. I miss my husband’s short commute to and from his work. I miss the cold, frosty mornings where you can see your breath and the grass makes a crunchy sound when you walk on it. I miss how the dog poo used to freeze overnight on our back lawn, making it easy to pick up. I miss the council-run swimming pools. Sorry, Auckland, but yours are crap. I miss having my mother-in-law within driving distance. I miss the botanic gardens. I miss the city centre with its wide, open pedestrian spaces.
Will we ever go back? No. Definitely not. The Christchurch I loved has gone. Damn you, earthquakes.