A little slice of France on the Banks Peninsula
Trip Start Nov 30, 2009
142Trip End Jun 01, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We visited the Banks Peninsula for the day with Robert and Kathy at the start of our time in the South Island, but as the weather had been pretty horrible felt there was more to see. Proved to be a good choice, with wall to wall sunshine on our first 2 days, the views over Akaroa harbour and the surrounding hills were amazing. We’d timed our return to Christchurch with a regional public holiday, something to do with the big annual agricultural show apparently. This meant the world and his wife was off for the weekend and as the Banks Peninsula is only just over an hour from the city (if you drive like a mad Kiwi) it seemed to be the destination of choice. Campsite kindly managed to 'squeeze’ us in but it was wall to wall caravans, campers and small speed boats. Not quite the peaceful oasis we’ve experienced elsewhere, but nice friendly bunch of people and the views from the van were something special so no complaints.
Spent the following day exploring the various walking tracks around town, visiting a couple of historical cemeteries which really brought to life the heritage of the town with lots of French names among the tomb stones. Sadly the recent earth quake had taken its toll out here to, with lots of toppled and cracked headstones and the obligatory emergency services tape strewn everywhere. Plenty of old historical buildings in town also affected, with several showing huge cracks and keep out and condemned notices pinned on the doors. We apparently slept through a 4.7 aftershock on our second night, and only knew about it from overhearing other campers comparing stories the following day
Headed out to one of the quieter bays for our final night on the Peninsula. Sadly the weather decided to turn, leaving us sheltering in a cafe for the best part of the day. There was the added entertainment of watching dozens of rally cars speeding past as there was a race taking place on the tracks above us. Kev took great delight in naming the various versions of Ford Escort, Lancias and other 1970’s models. The campsite for our final night was basic, but right on the beach, which was totally deserted when we headed down for a walk when the rain finally stopped. Tons of seabirds all tucking into shellfish, with lots of empty shells strewn along the length of the beach where they’d be tucking in. Made for some nice photos.
Made our way back to Christchurch to hand back the camper, with a quick pit stop on route to get the puncture repaired we’d picked up a couple of days before. Had been worried it would be a total replacement tyre, but a very helpful and genuine mechanic took a look at it, replaced a faulty valve and $10 later we were on our way. The camper depot was close to the airport and next to a second hand house lot – yes you read that right, basically a big yard full of second hand houses up on bricks, just waiting for someone to come by, pick one out and tow it to its new home! What a brilliant way to buy a house!