The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - ESCAPE - BY AN­THONY DEN­NIS EX­PERT WEEKLY TRAVEL AD­VICE ON YOUR TRAVEL DILEM­MAS. EMAIL US AT [email protected]­chol­i­day.com.au

Q My wife and I are plan­ning a trip to the South Is­land of New Zealand at the end of the year and we wanted to in­clude two or three days in Christchur­ch. But will the city be fit to visit fol­low­ing the earth­quake ear­lier this year? Are all of the top ho­tels and restau­rants up and run­ning? A Christchur­ch, which the Doc reck­ons is one of the pret­ti­est cities in all of Aus­trala­sia, has, hap­pily, bounced back from the 7.1 mag­ni­tude quake which rocked the city on Septem­ber 4. The city, New Zealand’s sec­ond largest, still rep­re­sents great value with the strength of the Aus­tralian dol­lar. Nearly all of Christchur­ch’s tourism op­er­a­tors, vis­i­tor at­trac­tions and ac­com­mo­da­tion providers are back in busi­ness fol­low­ing the earth­quake and the city has largely re­turned to nor­mal, so there’s no rea­son to strike it from your itin­er­ary. The cen­tral city bars and restau­rants are open and busy, and all pub­lic trans­port, in­clud­ing the fa­mous her­itage tramway, is run­ning as usual. The city’s iconic her­itage build­ings such as the Cathe­dral, Mu­seum and Arts Cen­tre are open and any dam­age can be re­stored. Some older build­ings around the cen­tral city and east­ern res­i­den­tial ar­eas were se­ri­ously dam­aged by the quake but vis­i­tors can still move freely around, shop and en­joy the city’s many at­trac­tions. Check out the of­fi­cial Christchur­ch tourism web­site www. christchur­chnz.com for more in­for­ma­tion and up­dates. Louise Longman from Christchur­ch Tourism rec­om­mends a visit to a ma­jor tour­ing ex­hi­bi­tion by Aus­tralian sculp­tor Ron Mueck at the Christchur­ch Art Gallery (christchur­chart­gallery.org.nz). Q We are look­ing for some­where rel­a­tively cheap to stay as close to the cen­tre of Tokyo as pos­si­ble for a group of six. Can you rec­om­mend any web­sites that can cater for us? A Al­though Tokyo is one of the most ex­pen­sive cities in the world it is pos­si­ble to find af­ford­able ac­com­mo­da­tion in the Ja­panese cap­i­tal. It tends to be cen­tred around the well-lo­cated tourist district of Asakusa, which is full of im­pos­ing Bud­dhist tem­ples and shrines. Ex­cel­lent sites for af­ford­able and tra­di­tional ac­com­mo­da­tion in Tokyo (and the rest of Ja­pan) are japane­sein­ngroup.com and japane­seguest­houses.com Prices on these sites can start as low as $20 per bed for ba­sic back­packer-style ac­com­mo­da­tion. Al­ter­na­tively, you could ar­range your ac­com­mo­da­tion and other Ja­panese travel ar­range­ments with JTB (Ja­pan Travel Bureau), one of the lead­ing Ja­panese travel agents world­wide. It has of­fices in Syd­ney, Mel­bourne, the Gold Coast and Cairns (japantrave­l.com.au). There is no real cen­tre to Tokyo, aside from per­haps the Ginza-Marunouchi area, since the Ja­panese cap­i­tal is a mas­sive se­ries of dis­tricts but with the Tokyo Metro (the un­der­ground rail net­work) rank­ing as one of the best in the world, you won’t have any trou­ble get­ting around. Ques­tions and com­ments should not ex­ceed 100 words and con­tain no at­tach­ments. Only a limited se­lec­tion can be pub­lished and may be edited. Per­sonal replies are un­for­tu­nately not pos­si­ble due to the vol­ume of emails re­ceived.

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