Journal of a visit to New Zealand, via Singapore

The Land of the Long White Cloud
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This page last updated: 29th November 2005.
Day 18: Akaroa Map

Day 18 Breakfast is served in the dining-room. Christine has a view across the lake, but mine is of the hills. At first there is little to be seen of the hills as they are shrouded in mist. I can see a sliver of green and brown with mist below and cloud above. By the end of breakfast, though, the view has changed and I can see the hillside coming down towards the road, a sliver of misty-cloud across the middle, then the tops of the trees and a brightening sky above.

John makes breakfast. He asks how I'd like my bacon. I tell him I like it just nicely crisp but short of being burnt. He does it perfectly.

Before leaving Lake Tekapo, we visit the Church of the Good Shepherd. This stands on a short promontory opposite the launch area. The view is straight up the lake where the sun is just rising.

Christine is suffering terribly from sand-fly bites, despite the use of insect repellent. At Fairlie we stop to visit a pharmacy. After discussing various options, the pharmacist recommends an anti-histamine cream to be applied morning and night to the affected areas.

We continue via Geraldine to State Highway 1 and the large town of Ashburton. Here we stop for coffee and cake.

Having crossed the longest bridge in New Zealand at Rakaia we turn off the main road and travel though Leeston, Irwell, Coes Ford and Springston to join the SH75 to the Banks Peninsula at Motukarara. The road travels through the village of Little River and winds steeply for what seems like forever until it reaches the top. Halfway down the other side a track leads to our overnight stay at Ridgecroft, the home of Jacqui Nevell and Martin Journeaux.

Jacqui shows us our room and then invites us to share a cup of tea. As we are anxious to go sailing in the harbour, Jacqui rings up the wharf to enquire about an afternoon sail. We are told there is a sailing in half an hour and so ask them to hold a place for us. It is a twenty minute drive so we leave our bags unpacked and head on down, after arranging to be back for dinner.

The Akaroa Harbour Cruise is normally operated by the Canterbury Cat but as there are only a dozen people booked for it, a smaller boat, which has been out taking people swimming with the dolphins, is used. We are a mixed crew of a New Zealand couple with their teenage son, a youthful Chinese couple, a pair of Japanese sweethearts, two Indian ladies, a young German woman and us two Brits.

The boat sails past Onuku Marae, the location of the historical Maori village in which one of the oldest churches in New Zealand is located. In 1840 the chief Tekau signed the Treaty of Waitangi here. We are met soon by some Hector Dolphins, a species only found in this area, and the rarest of all dolphins. They swim in and around and under the boat. I finally manage to get some pictures of them just below the surface of the water.

Further on are the caves. These show the layers of different volcanic eruptions. Above the caves are the nests of the spotted shags that breed here. The boat goes up very close for a clear view. We then travel towards the sea before following the western shoreline back to the wharf. I am quite amazed to see sheep grazing on the very steep slopes, they must be extremely sure-footed. Later we pass by a salmon farm before landing back in town.

We return to Ridgecroft for dinner. Jacqui has prepared a lamb roast. There are five for dinner, our hosts Jacqui and Martin, their visiting relative, Peter and ourselves. The meal is delicious and we have an extremely pleasant evening before retiring to bed full.

Journal - Day 19 Photographs - Day 18