I had next to nothing planned this past Saturday when one of my flatmates asked if I’d be keen to go on a short road trip with her. I obviously jumped at the chance. She and her dad were taking a motorcycle trip to Akaroa, a historic French town on the Banks Peninsula (a hilly and beautiful spot Southeast of Christchurch), and a friend of hers was trailing in the car (I’d have rather been on the back of the bike, but she only has her learner’s license so isn’t allowed a passenger).
When we were almost there, we took a break to go on a short hike to the top of the Onawe Pa Historic Reserve – the first little peninsula you come across on your way to Akaroa (within the greater peninsula).
It was a beautiful walk out to the farthest and highest spot of the sacred Maori site, and was actually quite a bit farther than it initially seemed.
Then, we finished the last leg to Akaroa, a sheltered harbor amongst picturesque volcanic hills. This was the first French settlement in New Zealand, intended as a whaling port, and still has a definite French flavor.
An amusing sign:
And blubber pots…
We got some amazing fish and chips at a famous little shop (and at $6.70 NZD for a freshly fried and decent sized piece of fish and a huge helping of delicious fries, this has been some of the most affordable take-out I’ve come across so far in New Zealand!).
We ate outside, then walked to the end of the pier.
Then, as we started on our way out of town, we stopped at another great restaurant/bar called the Hilltop, where we extended the trip a bit more (the Kiwi’s really DO like to take their time) and shared dessert.
This trip was another great example of the Kiwi hospitality. Not only was I thrilled to be invited to tag along, but they went above and beyond by making an intentional effort to create a fun local experience for the out-of-towner.