Alice and Celia go walkies in the Red Zone (photo heavy)

Red Zone mapOver the weekend Alice and Celia were invited to go on a rabbit hunting expedition in the Red Zone.  Following the devastating earthquakes in 2011, many parts of Christchurch are no longer deemed habitable and are now known as the Red Zone.

This area is shown on the map to the right and the area we chose to explore was just through the back of Burwood Park on the north side of New Brighton Rd (indicated by the black dot on the map).

Burwood Park is your standard park, nice grassy areas, big trees and children’s play areas -surrounded by homes.  As soon as you leave the park into the red zone you enter a  world reminiscent of something you’d see in The Walking Dead with the odd remaining house is boarded up and signs of humans settlers who have long since moved on.  Roads and foot paths still in tact but in disrepair.  Street signs marking streets that have no homes left, the odd strangely left behind item such as a wheelbarrow, trolley or rubbish bin.

For the most part, our little group consisting of 5 sausage dogs + 1 honorary sausage dog and 4 humans, were the only ones in this area.  We saw a handful of cyclists and one police car patrolling the area.  It was eerily silent, the only sound was traffic in the distance and with it being warm, the sounds of cicadas, own footsteps and the rustle in the grass of excited doglets on the hunt for rabbits, mice and whatever they could find.

As we wandered along these now deserted streets and into some of what were previously people’s gardens, it’s really hard to imagine what it was like just a few short years ago.  Nothing much is left.  A few tell-tale plants that old property boundary edges including fruit trees.  Within what were a few gardens we found 3 types of apples, plums, pears, peaches, blackberries and grapes all ripe for the picking.

Being responsible dog owners we all had plastic bags which we quickly repurposed for gathering this fresh produce.  As we stuffed our faces like excited children.  Feasting on delicious apples and succulent berries.

I also found a pile of “rubbish” which looked like garage sale leftovers – what a waste, when much of this could have been donated to charity or easily given away.  We grabbed a large tote bag from this pile and filled it with our fruit.

Next time we will go back we will take a backpack for our fruit harvest – assuming there is any left.

I don’t know what the plan is for this land but I hope they don’t turn it into another manicured park.  I’d like to see it be allowed to run wild.   A place where fruit trees can be planted and left for people to help themselves.  Perhaps a few art installations and some park benches and let it be a place for children and doglets to explore.

I hope you enjoy the photos below and at the very bottom are a couple of videos.

Alice and Celia off on an adventure
Alice and Celia off on an adventure
Authorised Vehicles Sign
Authorised Vehicles Sign at the start of the Red Zone
This was someone's driveway
This was someone’s driveway, they are all along the road and an obvious sign of how many homes have gone
A rose bush struggling to survive
A rose-bush struggling to survive
The road falling into disrepair
The road falling into disrepair
Alice having fun
Alice having fun
Celia patiently waiting while the humans chat
Celia patiently waiting while the humans chat
Some of the pack
Some of the pack at the start of our adventure
A boarded up house - likely due for demolision at some stage
A boarded up house – likely due for demolition at some stage
Dogs taking a drink from a puddle
Dogs taking a drink from a puddle following the morning rain
Left abandoned in what was someone's garden
Left abandoned in what was someone’s garden
Alice bounding through the grass
Alice bounding through the grass
Street signs are still there but no houses to be seen
Street signs are still there but no houses to be seen
An empty house
An empty house
Hot dog Celia
Hot dog Celia
Beauty among the weeds
Beauty among the weeds
And the first of the apple trees
And the first of the apple trees
Such amazing delicious apples!
Such amazing delicious apples!
One place had clumps of these Autumn Crocuses
One place had clumps of these Autumn Crocuses
Pretty white roses
Pretty white roses
Juicy, juicy plums for the taking
Juicy, juicy plums for the taking
a bit of urban foraging
A bit of urban foraging
Celia enjoying some apple
Celia enjoying some apple
"Rubbish" which should have been donated...
“Rubbish” which should have been donated…
A left behind wheelbarrow
A left behind wheelbarrow
Another abandoned house
Another abandoned house
Ripe blackberries
Ripe blackberries
This garage had stuff left in it - old mattresses and cabinets
This garage had stuff left in it – old mattresses and cabinets
Standing in someone's front garden, home owner long gone.  Note that the tree and Mel are standing straight compared to the house.
Standing in someone’s front garden, home owner long gone. Note that the tree and Mel are standing straight -compared to the house.
A lone, abandoned recycle bin
A lone, abandoned recycle bin
This house had broken windows and a hole in the roof, the net curtains blowing in the wind
This house had broken windows and a hole in the roof, the net curtains blowing in the wind
A left behind washing line
A left behind washing line
Neighbourhood Watch... not much to see now
Neighbourhood Watch… not much to see now
Not sure if the house on the right is still got someone there but if there is, they are on their own in the neighbourhood
Not sure if the house on the right has still got someone there but if there is, they are on their own in the neighbourhood
A cul-de-sac, deadend street - with no houses... any more
A cul-de-sac, deadend street – with no houses… any more

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A driveway to the street
A driveway to the street

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7 comments

  1. Wow, so eerie to see all those abandoned houses and empty lots. but such beauty too, with the flowers and fruit you found. Looks like the doglets had a great time!

    • They had a complete blast, poor Celia was covered in what we call biddy-bids which are tiny hairy seeds and a pain to get off her. They slept I’m sure for 2 days straight following our exploration. We hope to go back sometime soon.

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