So to Akaroa we went.
To get there from Lyttelton takes about 90 minutes and you pass along some winding, twisty mountainous roads, which are rather fun to drive along. Even more fun if you get behind someone going slightly more slowly than you so that you are no longer the one holding the rest of the traffic up :-) The scenery is very beautiful, very much reminiscent of the Cumbrian Lake District, only slightly grander and bigger!
Akaroa is also rather beautiful. It was also very crowded; there were two cruise ships in the harbour and the passengers were taking advantage of the rather lovely day to wander about the town.
We also wandered about the town. We had lunch in Bully Hayes, which doesn't look like much but which provides rather lovely food. We ambled up and down the harbour path and watched the Canada geese pottering about in the bay and people swimming and paddling. We pottered about a bit more, and then hopped aboard the Ecoseaker boat to take a tour of the harbour. We emphatically did not go swimming with the dolphins, but we did see some from our boat. We also saw seals and cormorants and many seabirds - and a single, solitary penguin sunning itself on a rock. Steve the Skipper said it was very unusual to see these penguins in that part of the harbour and he thought it might be a young bird starting to moult. We were very lucky to see it. The cliffs and rock formations around the harbour are stunning and it was an excellent couple of hours. It was also quite fun. We were at the front of a smallish boat, which used to act as an America's Cup chase boat. I think I got quite a lot of exercise just staying upright!!
It was a fantastic day. The people who told us to go were absolutely right. Akaroa is just our sort of place.
|Canada geese swimming in Akaroa Harbour|
|There are two cruise ships in town|
|Cormorants sunning themselves|
|Sea birds taking quite some interest in us|
|A basalt sea cave|
|with a beautiful ceiling|
|If you look hard you'll see a penguin snoozing on a rock|
|The Pacific Ocean reaches Akaroa Harbour!|
|More sea caves|
|Back on shore|