On Thursday, we took the scenic route out to Akaroa on Banks Peninsula, as it’s very picturesque. It’s a short drive out of Christchurch. First stop is at Little River, a small town whose main purpose seems to be to direct people into the rest of the peninsula. We had a coffee and tea in the café there, and planned a route around the rest. We decided to head up to Pigeon Bay first, then continue on the summit road around to Akaroa.
The summit road is so named because the whole peninsula is an extinct volcano, as is apparent if you look at a map. At Pigeon Bay, we went for a walk and spotted two kereru almost immediately. It was quite hot in the sunshine with little cover from the sun so we didn’t take a walk all the way to the end of the trail, instead turning back after about 25 minutes when we’d reached a shady grove. On the way back, a number of fantails decided to try to tempt me into taking their photographs. Fantail photography is of the type “here’s a branch where a fantail was two milliseconds ago”, but I managed to get a couple.
We drove on to Akaroa and walked along the bay shore, seeking out a place for lunch. Akaroa was originally settled by the French, and the street names and many of the businesses there reflect the French heritage. We settled on The Wharf, and had fish & chips and tuna salad for lunch. Afterwards we walked up to the lighthouse, which was originally placed at Akaroa Heads, at the mouth of the harbour, and moved to its current location by the Akaroa Lighthouse Preservation Society in 1980.
We took the shorter route back to Christchurch, passing the turn-off to Le Bons Bay along the way. Unfortunately there was nowhere convenient to stop so I was unable to take a photo for Duran-spotting.
In the evening we explored Christchurch’s dining scene, and entertainment book, once again – this time ending up in a South American bar and restaurant called Casa Publica. This offers South American specialities such as ceviche, guacamole, and espetadas. We started off in the bar with a couple of pisco sours before heading upstairs, where we I ordered guacamole casa, which is made at the table for you, and you can chose which ingredients you want to include. I went all in with chillis, red onion, lime juice, coriander and cashews. Nicola had the chicken espetada main, which is basically chicken on a stick.
By the end we were pretty well stuffed, so we forewent dessert and headed back to our digs.