Akaroa...On The Road Again
Trip Start Jan 15, 2011
38Trip End Mar 19, 2011
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Where I stayed
While walking around Christchurch we discovered that the Buskers Festival was starting in just one day
Those questions were left unanswered as I took my first turn at the wheel on the way out of the city. “Stay to the left, stay to the left...”
Katie navigated us out and into the surrounding hills where we stopped at The Sign of the Kiwi to take a short hike and see the whole of Christchurch from above. The day was clear, warm, and sunny. A beautiful view. Sheep ate nearby but we weren't close enough to touch one (sorry, Sarah. We'll keep trying for you). Continuing on, we wove our way through the hills and happened upon a shelter tucked into the hillside at The Sign of the Bellbird. We paused there and snapped a few shots. If I needed a shelter in a storm, this would definitely be my pick.
We continued to enjoy our lazy drive out to Akaroa, located on the Banks Peninsula. Katie played her iPod on the car radio and we gloried in the aquamarine bays filling the valley floors. We chose the Summit Road drive, which boasted the best views along the way. All was going swimmingly until we hit a gravel road. It wouldn’t have been a problem if the road was, say, the length of a driveway, but it was an actual road
After a brief stop at a cheese making factory (sorry, no cheese making today) we wended our way into Akaroa. Now, did I mention that the roads we’d traveled were curvy? No? Well, they were. Very curvaceous mistresses, those roads, and they left us both with pounding headaches and angry stomachs. So our arrival in Akaroa was a happy one. Not to mention the glorious day we were having, which cast the quaint bayside town in a spectacular light. People were bustling about, swimming and sailing. We strolled along the beach and ate chips (with vinegar!). Yum!
Eventually we drove a bit further to the Onuku Farm Hostel. The farm sat on a hillside overlooking the bay. We were rather tired by the time we arrived, but the girl who checked us in was friendly and our room was airy and clean
Around 6 A.M. we were awoken by an earthquake. Apparently it rated 5.1 on the Richter scale. It was short lived but felt like a train was passing by…right next to the bed. It wasn’t scary. Rather exciting, actually. A different way to start the day.
We got up early, ate breakfast, and headed out onto the Ridge Walkway Hike that started on the grounds of the farm hostel. The day was overcast with a touch of the drizzles. Not the stunning weather of the day before, but beautiful for hiking. We passed by sheep and cows and once in a while would hum a tune from The Lord of the Rings.
A quick detour took us to Look Out Rock. There was a warning sign posted regarding the instability of the area due to the big 2010 earthquake
We climbed up Look Out Rock and saw an amazing view of the bay stretching out to the sea. Simply breathtaking. I laid down on the outcrop and gazed over the edge to see the trees below me. It looked like Fangorn Forest. A section of trees right beneath were smashed and broken from what looked like rocks that had fallen from the cliff side…right underneath me. Was I worried? Nawww… Seriously, though, I wasn’t. I could have laid there forever, but we had a hike to finish.
The wind picked up once we started off again and the rain was coming down on and off. We marched up a steep incline all bundled up. Our rising body heat overcame us and we had to strip off a layer. Then we got to flatter ground and found ourselves chilled. Fine then. We put the layer back on. On and off, on and off went our layers, as though we were marching through menopause. I’m too young for this!
Clouds twirled in and wrapped around us, blocking our view of the sea. It was a shame, but we still enjoyed ourselves at the tip top of the hike where a rock was appropriately labeled “END.” Stopping there, staring out into the billowy white, we realized that the rock was not just a sign but a warning to go no further
On the way back we enjoyed experimenting with the video function on our camera. We attempted some rack focus shots on a eerie stretch of tree-covered pathway, à la “The Lord of the Rings” (“The Fellowship of the Ring,” to be precise). We had minor to moderate success. And yes, we are dorks.
We relaxed by the wood burning stove in the hostel after completing our trek. I wrote and listened to the various languages being thrown about. German and English were interwoven through conversations while women giggled at their language lessons. It was a nice atmosphere. Katie spent her time reading. What was she reading? Why, The Hobbit of course. An appropriate choice for many reasons, not the least of which being that Katie is very hobbit-like and is often mistaken for one of those gentle, noble creatures.
We dashed out later to visit to the Akaroa Cemetery and walk through the center of town. As opposed to the day before, no one was around now that the sky was gray and the air brisk and biting. After a bit of grub later we were ready for an early slumber, which seems to have become a habit on this trip. A good habit, if I do say so myself.