Day 52 – Akaroa
Talking to a few locals at the Waihora park Domain campground just south of Christchurch, they suggested heading out to a little picturesque town of Akaroa for look around if I had the time, I had no plans for the day so far so I set off to the small town, 1hour 20mins drive south east from down town Christchurch out to Banks Peninsula. The drive out takes you through farm land and then winding your way up the mountains to get the stunning view out over Akaroa Harbour and the surrounding hills.
Carrying on down and around the end of the bay, the brakes smoking as they worked over time on the way down, stinking the van out. I stop off at Robinsons bay for a few photos with the ducks. The water was so calm, only a slight breeze putting a few ripples on the surface. Not much further around was the little town of Akaroa. I take a drive around town and end up out at the light house. I was wondering why they had a lighthouse so far up the harbour but found out that it was moved there from the end of the head land after it was replace by a more modern automated Light. Moved there by the Akaroa Prevention society that now look after it and open it to the public for viewing on Sunday afternoons.
Heading back into town and through the colonial buildings to find a bit of lunch. The town was formed after a shipload of French emigrants landed on Banks Peninsula back in the 1840’s. there is still a slight French influence in town and a few descendants of the original emigrants still live in the area. There’s plenty to see and do here, from having a look through all the arts and craft shops to taking a boat ride out to swim with the Hector dolphins, from getting your caffeine fix at one of the nice café’s or sail the harbour.
After filling my belly, I head off to have a look around town. Having a look around some of the arty shops then down to the water front, pebble beach down one end with a sandy beach in the middle, enjoyed by a few kids swimming and jumping off the floating platform in the bay on this cold Autumn day. Heading back to the van I have a look around the large stone War memorial, great site in the town with the big palms, the well-kept gardens and for remembering the locals lost in the line of duty.
Heading back out of town, stop off a few places, Little river is a popular stop on the way in and out from Akaroa. It used to have a railway pass through the small town but now closed, it’s now turned into great walking a cycling track, there is also a few arty shops and cafés. After leaving here I decide to take the back road to the Port town of Lyttelton and carry on through New Zealand’s longest road tunnel at just under 2km long under the port hills to the south side of the city of Christchurch. I head around the edges of the city and head north to find Waikuku beach holiday park. Situated right on the beach but unfortunately the weather had turned it was now poring with rain. A nice quite campsite for the night before another long drive north tomorrow.