As stated in my previous post this place deserved a whole post to itself. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been and where I felt at one with the world! I hadn’t planned to go here but after meeting friends and family of the bride they recommend I go. So I booked a return transfer for $30 with Akaroa French Connection for the next day and off I went. On our journey to ‘little France’ as the locals call it, we stopped off at a few local points of interest. Our first stop about an hour into the drive was Little River, an historic railway line next to which are some fantastic and quirky silos that have been converted into accommodation for backpackers. I was told to grab their famous hot chocolate whilst here and boy was it worth it!
We were quickly back on the bus to start the climb into the Banks Peninsula. This part of the journey was incredibly beautiful. If you like the Peaks or the Lake district you will love this journey. I quickly realised I should have brought my hiking boots. On our descent into Akaroa the coach came to a stop. Which I thought was strange but as I got off the bus I realised why. The view down into Akaroa had to be seen. To this day this is the most beautiful view I have ever had, and I’m not sure much would top it.
Finally we arrived in Akaroa and the first thing on my list was to get down to Akaroa Harbour and book myself on the Nature Cruise for $79. I then decided to walk around the beautiful town and stopped off in many of the quaint shops before heading up the the light house to grab this shot of the town.
From there I decided to grab some food before the cruise and I stopped in L’Hotel for lunch. I order a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc of course and a vegetarian pizza. Now this pizza was incredible, it was topped with some interesting ingredients and I now make them at home regularly because yes they work and wow they are so good the Italians would kiss the fingers and smack their lips in appreciation. Its toppings are described as spinach, tomato, mushroom, red onion, capsicum, cream cheese, basil pesto and chilli oil. My mouth is salivating just reading it. Seriously try it if you are there and do attempt to make it at home!
On my way back to the boat I found out that they do a guided Kayak tour. I nearly kicked myself as that is right up my street. It was $128 but next time I’m will be doing it. Anyway waiting to get on the boat I decided to sit on the end of the harbour and have some brownie I had got from the local bakery. Here right beneath my feet I was sure a penguin came up for a breath and disappeared within a second. Either that or a fish. Which I was scared would decided to jump out of the water and try and grab my toes. I quickly moved away, I didn’t want to go home toeless.
I hosted the boat and had a walk around the ship to find the perfect seat. On our trip out of the harbour you get a great view of the town. I definitely recommend sitting on the top of the boat for this. From there I noticed not many people were at the bow of the boat and knowing there were dolphins in the water I ran down to claim my spot and lay my towel before anyone else noticed. That was the best decision I made. Within seconds the Hector Dolphins, the smallest dolphin on the planet, were jumping and swimming along the bow of the boat in the beautiful coloured water. It was magical and reminded me of good time I had when seeing the dolphins on my trips to Puerto Morgan in Gran Canaria. Then to our left popped the head of a yellow eyed penguin for a near second before returning back to feed. We hadn’t even got out of the natural harbour when all of this happened. The dolphins continued to put on a show as we carried on out into the Pacific Ocean.
Whilst out here I managed to glimpse at a lone albatross searching for food. We then carried on up the coast line into the next bay where we found the fur seals who were a little difficult to spot at first as they blended in with the cliffs. As we turned around in the bay we found a dolphin and it’s child venturing up for the first time. The baby was the size of my forearm and incredibly frighten so we quickly retreated back to the ocean where in the distance we caught the fin of a whale hitting the surface of ocean before disappearing out of sight.
We made our way back to the harbour catching the rays and again finding some more dolphins to show off. It was an incredible 2 hours cruise seeing all the amazing wildlife on and off shore. I would definitely recommend it.
By the time we got back it was time to get back on the Coach and say goodbye to Akaroa. Before we left the Banks Peninsula we stopped off at Barry Bay Cheese Factory where we got the last glimpse of the beautiful blue water and to shop for cheese.
The trip back was a lot faster then the way there and was a chance to reflect on what an amazing place Akaroa is. It has become one of my favourite places in the world and I think it would be very hard to top it. It has elements of the Peaks with an ocean and good food and wine. Yes I would purely return for the pizza. I’ve also since learnt that there are stargazing cabins here which I will definitely be going to on my next visit! I hope this has helped you and convinced you that you need to go here if you ever visit New Zealand.
Happy travels finding paradise