We had a new neighbour beside us at the Weedons NZMCA Park, a huge bus pulled in beside us, with a large family. This young couple had six children, aged from two up to fourteen, no wonder they needed such a big bus for them all. The children went off to find blackberries the morning we left, and knocked on our door to present us with some of the spoils. How kind, we will be having fresh blackberries for dessert tonight.
Freshly picked blackberries from the neighbours
After filling up with fresh water at camp, and a visit to the dump station, we were on our way. Akaroa – here we come. Banks Peninsular, was named after Joseph Banks who was sailing with Captain Cook on the Endeavour in 1770. It’s history goes back to the dawn of time and it was formed following violent eruptions of two volcanoes. These formed the twin craters of the Akaroa and Lyttleton harbours, which have many smaller bays indenting the coastline.
SH75 into Akaroa is windy and rather steep, so it was a slow trip, puling over when we could to allow traffic to pas by. We stopped at the lookout on top of the hill to get our first glimpse of Akaroa harbour – it is such a delightfully pretty place.
First view of Akaroa
What’s this – a bright red double decker bus trundling up the hill. There must be a cruise ship in the harbour. I would have thought that the hill was a bit too steep for this bus.
Here come the tourists
Our POP (park over property) was up another steep hill, at Takamatua, just before Akaroa. So we are parked up safe and sound behind a tall fence, in front of a delightful property, and surrounded by native trees filled with beautiful birdsong.
Here for the next three nights
Once we were organised we drove down to the cute little French Village of Akaroa. There were street signs proclaiming Rue this and Rue that, an acknowledgment of the French immigrants who arrived, only to find that the English had already claimed sovereignty. The French were allowed to stay, and Akaroa embraces the French influence.
Court House from 1879, and a pretty little cottage
There were groceries to purchase, a launderette to track down and quite by accident we found the Fudge Shop that we remembered from our last visit six years ago. After being invited to have a taste, you can work out what happened then – of course we had to buy some fudge. Just a little, Russian fudge, and some Crème Brulee, both delicious.
It was the tasting that made us do it
Akaroa was so busy, with a cruise ship in the harbour to swell the visitor numbers there was hardly room to move. We could just make out the name, it was the “Sea Princess”.
The Sea Princess is in town
People were everywhere, walking up and down the streets, sitting outside at the cafes enjoying afternoon tea, taking photos of the sights. There were a lot on the beach too, frolicking around, or just sunbathing. Little boats were bobbing around and we saw the orange tender busily ferrying cruise passengers back to their ship.
Enjoying the sun in Akaroa