A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the northeastern part of New Zealand’s South Island minutes after midnight Monday morning local time. I flew out of Auckland on Sunday morning about 15 hours before the earthquake. The earthquake was felt strongly in Christchurch about 60 miles to the south of the epicenter. The capital of New Zealand about 125 miles north of the earthquake epicenter suffered damage. According to the USGS, there have been 15 earthquakes around New Zealand since 1900 with a magnitude 7.5 or greater.
Last week I spent five days in Napier, New Zealand, site of a 7.8 earthquake in February 1931. The USGS shaking intensity map shows a few reports of moderate shaking from Napier, about 300 miles northeast of the earthquake epicenter.
One of the primary reasons I went to Napier was for a low cost hotel using Choice Privileges points. One of my objectives during my week of hotel stays in New Zealand was completing seven nights at Choice Hotels to earn seven nights I needed to qualify for 2016 Choice Privileges Platinum elite status. Napier won out as my New Zealand destination due to a combination of low cost airfare between Auckland and Napier and low cost reward nights. I stayed at Econolodge Napier 5 nights for 46,000 Choice Privileges points.
Kaikoura, New Zealand
The destination that was my preferred choice, but ultimately came in second for Choice Hotels in New Zealand was Quality Inn Kaikoura. The small town of Kaikoura has about 2,000 residents. Kaikoura is a popular tourist destination for whale watching. The beach town is set against an alpine mountain setting backdrop. The primary reason I did not go to Kaikoura was the destination required a round trip ticket from Auckland to Christchurch, followed by a 3-hour bus ride.
I was able to actually walk from the Napier Airport to the Econolodge Napier in Westshore in less than 20 minutes. That convenient location for a Choice Hotel put Napier ahead of Kaikoura as my primary destination for the week I stayed in New Zealand.
Kaikoura, New Zealand – Wikimedia
There are an estimated 1,100 to 1,200 tourists stranded in Kaikoura, New Zealand after landslides from the large earthquake blocked New Zealand’s Highway 1 and damaged rail lines to the city. There is no electricity and less than three days of water supplies are available. Plans are currently underway to evacuate tourists and local residents with the aid of New Zealand naval vessels.
New Zealand plans rescue of tourists stranded by quake Canada cbc news.
In addition to the predicament of stranded tourists and locals in the region are three cows stuck on an island of grass surrounded by a massive landslide.
Loyalty Traveler Travels – November 2016
New Zealand – North Island Auckland and Napier