With one day left on the South Island and yet another spectacular blue sky, Paul and I decided to hit the road and take a day trip to the nearby village of Akaroa, located about 54 miles/87 kilometers from Christchurch. Akaroa is the oldest town in Canterbury, founded by French settlers in 1840, and is a wonderfully quaint, beautiful village nestled in the heart of the Banks Peninsula. We had also heard that the area offered many opportunities for excellent “tramps” (or hikes as we call it) as well as ocean cruises to see New Zealand’s unique marine wildlife.
We headed out early in the morning choosing to take the “scenic route” in our rental car. Apparently there are two ways to Aakora: One easy and relatively straightforward, and the other more spectacular, yet rugged. We took the latter. It wound up being a harrowing hour and a half drive from Christchurch but well worth the incredible views.
Here is the description of the route we followed per the New Zealand Tourism Guide:
There are two routes to Akaroa. State Highway 75 takes you via Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth before it climbs over the hills to Akaroa Harbour. The other route is very scenic, but longer and more difficult to drive. It takes you through the Lyttelton tunnel and around Lyttelton Harbour before making the rugged, cross country journey to Akaroa.
Photo taken during our “tramp” in the Banks Peninsula with the sheep looking on.